October 20, 2006

Howl's Moving Castle

By Diana Wynne Jones
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Sophie is stuck. She's the eldest of 3 sisters and works in her father's hat shop in the town of Market Chipping, and every day she feels more and more like a mousy, boring young woman with no future. Then one day, into the shop sweeps the Witch of the Waste, who tells her she doesn't like the competition and turns Sophie into an old woman. Sophie can't even get up the energy to be properly horrified. So she stumps off by herself and manages to wind up in Howl's floating, moving castle. The Wizard Howl has an evil reputation of being a powerful magician and a bit of rake who eats young girls' hearts. Sophie soon discovers Calcifer, the fire demon that works for Howl, who makes a bargain with Sophie: he'll try to break her spell if she can help break his contract with Howl. So Sophie sets herself up as the cleaning woman of the rather small castle, while poking her nose into the business of the apprentice Michael, Howl and the doors that open onto different places in both Sophie's world as well as other ones. This is an excellent fantasy involving magic, quests, an enchanted scarecrow, more than one witch, curses and more! Readers will enjoy the multiple plotlines and might even figure out what is really going on before Sophie does! Thoroughly good from beginning to end. Readers can take another adventure with Sophie and Howl in Castle in the Air. Howl's Moving Castle was also recently made into an animated movie. Check it out (but the book is better)!

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