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Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle (1986)

by Diana Wynne Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Howl's Castle (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,689348618 (4.29)524
Eldest of three sisters in a land where it is considered to be a misfortune, Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared wizard Howl.
  1. 171
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman (DeltaQueen50)
  2. 140
    House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Another in the same series featuring Howl and Sophie Pendragon (nee Hatter)
  3. 110
    The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede (Anonymous user, rosylibrarian)
  4. 121
    Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Also features Howl and Sophie
  5. 90
    Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (infiniteletters)
  6. 70
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (LCoale1)
  7. 50
    The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Despite a castle being in the titles of both books, each novel is really about the human stories contained within and the characters' interaction with the magic they come in contact with.
  8. 83
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  9. 40
    A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Similar style of writing - whimsical and magical
  10. 30
    The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (bell7)
  11. 20
    Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog by Ysabeau S. Wilce (foggidawn)
  12. 10
    Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez (SunnySD)
  13. 10
    The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: sweet romance
  14. 11
    Jinx by Sage Blackwood (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Similar in style and tone, both books are filled with magic and wizards, spells and rumors about mysterious and dangerous beings to be avoided.
  15. 11
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (tralliott)
  16. 00
    The Chocolatier's Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Although Howl's Moving Castle is considered YA, this book reminded me of it in the whimsical and quirky way the story is written and the romance and magic involved. Both books are delightful!
  17. 00
    Tellos, Vol.1 by Todd Dezago (FFortuna)
  18. 00
    Ithanalin's Restoration by Lawrence Watt-Evans (DWWilkin)
    DWWilkin: When reading these books it seems that they have a great deal that would be make each compliment the other.
  19. 00
    Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier (kkisser)
  20. 16
    The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey (Anonymous user)

(see all 20 recommendations)


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» See also 524 mentions

English (344)  French (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (348)
Showing 1-5 of 344 (next | show all)
I feel like I've done myself a disservice by having watched the Miyazaki film dozens of times before reading the novel, but not too much of a disservice. There are so many beautiful scenes from the movie, full of magic, flight, and war... that didn't exist in the novel. Who knew? (Apparently, everyone.) And yet, I can't fault the novel for not being great, because it was.

Step by step, all of the characters were pretty damn spot on with what I know of the film, except I was given a great gift of depth and insight that opened up their lives to me. Suddenly, situations that once felt slapdash have reasons, like the flower shop, and sisters actually have lives and motivations and peril. Oh so great peril, indeed!

I think I liked the Witch of the Waste a lot more in the novel, including her plot, her deviousness, and her end. It all felt more immediate and satisfying. And yet, the movie was so damn cute and heartwarming. It turned the witch and the turnip head into (almost) immediately likeable heroes. (Well, maybe not the Witch, but she did have her heart for the film.)

How can I decide which is better? I am tempted to go for my go to canned speech about how novels are always better than their movie adaptations, but I'm having a bit of trouble here. The novel was a wonderfully complete set piece with a light voice throughout. The movie had much better magic and action. The fact that both diverged significantly in story doesn't help much, either, and if the movie had been in anyone else's hands, I'd have belched out my canned speech.

I know I can read this novel again with as much enjoyment as I read it this time, and that's saying an awful lot. I'm going to have to say that the novel is a classic. Why I had never heard of it before is an utter mystery. I'm going to name the novel as the winner, mainly because I loved her use of the mundane to put Howl in his place. It showed brilliantly in the novel, whereas it only touched lightly in the movie. I've got to go for my favorite parts to make a decision.

I'm definitely going to read this one to my daughter when she gets a few more years on her.

This is some pretty classic and classy fantasy. YA, but it's obviously in vogue to read YA as adults these days. At least there was no rape and mass death of children or mind-wiping involved. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I enjoyed the quirkiness of the magic but the characters weren't as enjoyable or comprehensible as I would have liked. The plot was sometimes as confusing as the characters. ( )
  peterbmacd | May 16, 2020 |
At my daughter's insistence, I've finally read this book. It's kind of like the movie by the esteemed and brilliant Miyazaki, and sometimes not. It's a great ya novel for young kids who like fantasy h.e.a. stories. It was just difficult for me to get the scenes from the movie version out of my head so I could enjoy the book better. And since this movie is one of my all-time favorites and I watch it at least a couple times a year, that effort was incredibly difficult for me. But otherwise, it was a cute book. ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Long enough ago that it is fuzzy in my mind, but not as early as childhood, I remember seeing and loving the film "Howl's Moving Castle." Growing up with "My Neighbor Totoro," I can't help but fall in love with Studio Ghibli productions. When my sibling said they were doing the book as a read aloud with their partner and recommended I give it a try, I found myself a copy.

There’s an ease to the way that Magic is present in this book. There are even suggestions that Magic is something the reader can access, in that we learn that Howl travels back and forth from modern day Wales to the world in which much of the book takes place (a fairy tale realm of Middle Ages European villages).

Much of the appeal of the story revolves around this castle that Jones has created. It is composed of a small house that has a door that opens onto four different realms. In other words, the interior is shared across multiple exteriors. This holographic concept is appealing to an Escher-esque aesthetic.

As opposed to Garth Nix’s “Clariel,” a book that also involves dark magic, Howl is ultimately redeemed (unlike Clariel).

In a very sneaky way, this book turns into a love story in that ultimately, after bickering for the entire book, Howl and Sophie fall in love. ( )
  willszal | Apr 30, 2020 |
This book is so charming and quirky and a great protagonist. The reason I gave it only 3 stars is that I was disappointed by the ending. ( )
  dreamweaversunited | Apr 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 344 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craig, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sessions, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Jos. A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This one is for Stephen
The idea for this book was suggested by a boy
in a school I was visiting, who asked me to
write a book called The Moving Castle.
I wrote down his name, and put it in such a safe
place, that I have been unable to find it ever since.
I would like to thank him very much.
First words
In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worse, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.
She was not even the child of a poor woodcutter, which might have given her some chance of success! Her parents were well to do and kept a ladies' hat shop in the prosperous town of Market Chipping. -- Chapter 1 (p.1)
It was odd. As a girl, Sophie would have shriveled with embarrassment at the way she was behaving. As an old woman, she did not mind what she did or said. She found that a great relief.  -- Chapter 5 (p.83)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This record is for the book, not the movie. Please do not combine this with the movie or the DVD.
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Average: (4.29)
0.5 1
1 11
1.5 2
2 52
2.5 19
3 280
3.5 99
4 826
4.5 134
5 1215

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