Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Published: 1986

Genre: YA fantasy

Length: 329 pages

Setting: Ingary, Medieval times, with a touch of Wales set probably around the 1970s

Interest: As I said in my last What I Will Be Reading post, I had two blog posts come across my feed recently talking about the book and added it to my list.

Summary: Sophie, being the eldest of three sisters and living in a land of magic, knows she will fail terribly if she sets out to seek her fortune. Therefore, she’s pretty well satisfied to take over running the milliner’s shop for her step-mother. Sophie doesn’t realize she’s enchanting the hats as she talks to them until the Witch of the Waste comes into her shop and curses Sophie with old age. To try to get the curse removed, she heads out to find the moving castle of the magician Howl. Sophie ends up becoming the cleaning lady for Howl, although she continues to unconsciously charm many of the items she handles. She also promises to break the contract between the fire demon, Calcifer, and Howl. Howl is a bit of a ladies man, although as soon as the woman returns his affections, he leaves her. This leads to the Witch of the Waste cursing Howl as well. There is a big battle at the end that Sophie and Howl are able to win.

Final thoughts: A fun, quick read (it is a YA book, so I find they are faster to read). There was even a bit of a message to the story. Sophie had a hard time moving past her self-imposed, defeatist future. She backed herself into a corner and believed she deserved to be old, but managed to break free of the spell and her attitude in order to save her friends and family in the end battle. The movie does a pretty good job of conveying the major points of the book as well – I definitely recommend both. I do need to watch the movie again since the kids haven’t seen it and it’s been a while for me.

Title comes from: Howl turned his house in a continually moving castle in order to escape from the Witch of the Waste’s curse.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 85/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge

If you’re interested in the book, click on the cover image to follow an affiliate link to the Kindle version of the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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