Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

My girlfriend and I read Howl’s Moving Castle out loud to each other, which I believe made it a lot more enjoyable than it would’ve been if I’d read it in my head. It was a fun, young adult fantasy story about a young girl, Sophie, who gets turned into an old woman. She makes her way to Wizard Howl’s castle, where she makes a deal with a fire demon named Calcifer, who promises to reverse her curse if she can figure out how to release him from his prison of Howl’s fireplace.

To be honest, I didn’t much like the plot of this book. I found it a bit uninteresting—in fact, I couldn’t even tell you the details of it, even though I only finished it a week or two ago. I thought that at times things happened too fast, so if I missed a quick mention of something, then too bad; I was behind. I kept going back a few pages to refresh my memory, which is really annoying. But maybe my inattentiveness can be attributed to my general disinterest in the plot.

howlI did like trying to guess what was going to happen throughout the book. This is one of my girlfriend’s greatest skills: guessing what’s about to happen. (I swear she ruins every movie by guessing the ending in—literally—the first five minutes.) But we both had some trouble predicting the ending, and I like being surprised by the direction a book takes. I also liked the small details: the way the castle could open its door on four different locations at once; the way Sophie talked magic into objects; the way Howl spent so much time perfecting his appearance it was comical.

After finishing the book, we watched the film adaptation, which was very different. There were many places where the plot and characters deviated from the book. It was entertaining, though.


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