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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a dream it fills you up until you're full of joy
Diana Wynne Jones is renowned for being "hotter than Potter" and her books are sold all over the world. They are popular and loved by each generation they touch. Diana Wynne Jones is famous for the award winning THE CHRESTOMANCI SERIES, and other works such as DARK LORD OF DERKHOLM. Yet out of all of her novels there is one novel which is without a doubt the most popular,...
Published on 21 Jun 2007 by Anne

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I really, really wanted to love (or at least like) this book, but , regretfully, I just couldn't... Apologies to those who disagree, but I just cannot see the appeal of the book, though I adore fantasy, and am quite a bookworm. The magic, or any other atmosphere somehow failed to appear during the reading, and the characters didn't make me to be rooting for them, weren't...
Published 1 month ago by E. Kay


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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a dream it fills you up until you're full of joy, 21 Jun 2007
By 
Anne (England, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Paperback)
Diana Wynne Jones is renowned for being "hotter than Potter" and her books are sold all over the world. They are popular and loved by each generation they touch. Diana Wynne Jones is famous for the award winning THE CHRESTOMANCI SERIES, and other works such as DARK LORD OF DERKHOLM. Yet out of all of her novels there is one novel which is without a doubt the most popular, treasured and loved of them all - HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE. Most people who have read it will confirm that it is a charming tale of magic, love, humour and wonder. It touches the fibres of your heart so greatly that the sound of the character's names "Sophie", "Howl" and "Calcifer" bring a smile to your face. Although each character is faulted they are wonderfully painted so that you love them as if they were real people.

The story follows the tale of Sophie Hatter, the eldest of three sisters, who unfortunately lives in a world where fairytale traits are the laws of physics. For that reason, despite being attractive, intelligent and talented, the eldest child is destined to come to nothing. While her younger sisters go out doing their own thing, Sophie is forced to make hats in their late father's hat shop. However, it turns out that she has a remarkable talent with magic as well as a needle as she speaks life into the hats, giving them personalities so that good things will come to the wearer of the hat. This is how Sophie attracts unwanted attention from the jealous Witch of the Waste, thinking her a rival witch, and turns her into an old woman to punish her. Ashamed of her appearance, Sophie decides to seek help from the infamous Wizard Howl whose moving castle roams the hill above Sophie's home, and is known throughout Market Chipping as a wicked young man who sucks the souls out of young girls and feasts on their hearts.

Feeling unthreatened as an old woman, Sophie ventures inside and instead of finding Howl, she finds his fire demon Calcifer who convinces her to make a bargain with him - he'll lift the spell on her if she breaks the contract between Howl and himself. Sophie soon discovers that far from being evil and cruel, the Wizard Howl is a cowardly heartbreaker who takes pleasure in courting girls but dumping them before it turns serious. Also cursed by the Witch, Howl cannot allow himself to fall in love otherwise he must return to the Witch and give her his heart. In order to save Howl, Calcifer, and her own youth, Sophie has to hurry to find out how to free Calcifer and Howl from their contract before the Witch catches up with them.

A beautifully written tale of a cursed young girl and her cowardly sweetheart, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE is a light and hysterical novel with a heroine to love; an anti-hero to adore, and a villain to hate and fear, and yet pity. As the novel goes on and the love between Howl and Sophie grows, you heart dances with excitement and joy which rises up and up until the last chapter. The feeling of your heart beat is one of the most important factors of the novel; don't take it for granted. I highly recommend this book to anyone. It is a book you will keep by your bedside forever, re-read every year or so, and cherish forever. I also recommend the animated film by Hayao Miyazaki of the same name. Both are truly stunning works of art.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howl's definitely moved me!, 2 Feb 2005
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Paperback)
Thank goodness there are people out there like me!! I have read this book at least 20 times (probably more!) since my early teens and at 23 I'm still going strong, thumbing through dog-eared pages!
I have no hesitation in saying that this is my favourite book of all time. I fell in love with the magic and the mystery the book conjures up. I was sucked into the world of Ingary and every visit I made I never wanted to leave! I have been waiting eagerly for years for this book to be made into a film. Forget Harry Potter, this is the fantasy story that deserves a cinematic showing.
I know the characters so well they almost feel like family! Sophie with her defiant attitude and ambition (despite a spell that's turned her into a 90-year-old crone!) and Howl with his womanising and three-hour long bathroom stints, hmmm reminds me of a few men I know!
With a door that can open to four different towns Howls Moving Castle is a fantasy masterpiece that everyone must read. If you're a lover of all things weird and wonderful this book will knock your seven league boots off!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 1 Sep 2007
I have read a few Wynne Jones books and this is the best one so far, I agree with the reviewer below that you want to start all over again as soon as you finish it. This is a rare enough thing in the world of the book.

She has a lovely, light-hearted style and great characters. Sophie and Howl are really wonderful characters, both flawed and funny, and I loved Calcifer who had a very definite personality all of his own. I don't know how she writes like this, she doesn't give explanations yet you feel that nothing is left out. A magician.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my copy is worn out - unlike the story, 10 Mar 2007
By 
L. Turner "oneillsgal" (west sussex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Paperback)
i only came on to this page to investigate the price of a new copy of this book. I bought my copy just 4 years ago and since then it has been read so many times that there is barely a book left! i have never been so engrossed in a story before, or the characters. I have to confess that at 19 (nearly 20) i own every book that DWJ has ever written and i've not been disappointed by one of them! she is a fabulous writer and a true gem. this book however is, i think, her best work. howl is such a loveable character and i am sad that she did not write more about him and calcifer.still everyone must read this book at least once!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. By far the best book I have ever read, 26 Dec 2007
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Paperback)
I watched the film first as i am a big fan of anime. After the film was finished in the credits I noticed it said that the film was based on a book so I bought it the very next day. I'm so glad I did. The magic is not to over the top and everything about the book is believable. It's written so well. Much better than Harry Potter although i dont know why people are comparing it to this. One thing that did strike me about the book is that it's so different from the film so dont not buy the book because you think its going to be an exact copy because believe me its not!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 10 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Paperback)
First of all, if you think this is a kids book think again! It's brilliant for both kids and adults. Howl is everybodys ideal hero (because he's not perfect)and many female readers will totally fall in love with him(although i myself prefer Tom from "Fire and Hemlock")and cheer for Sophie as she falls from mis-adventure to mis-adventure...read it! Believe me, it's worth it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hilarious and heart felt book, 6 April 2011
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Paperback)
Just a quick synopsis before the review (could be caonsidered to be a *SPOILER*):

Sophie, the eldest of three sisters, runs the family's respectable milliner business with her step mother after the tragic death of her father. As the family rely on her, because she is the eldest, the younger sisters and step mother set off to make their own lives and futures. Sophie, left to run the shop, finds herself feeling tired of her dead end life.
The Wicked Witch of the Waste however soon changes everything for Sophie when she sets a curse upon her making her look as old as she feels; a ninety five year old woman.
To break her curse and make a life for her own Sophie sets out to find Howl the wicked wizard who eats young women's hearts, who lives in his tremendous moving castle high on the hillside. Inside Sophie finds more than she bargains for and is quickly making deals with fire demons, fleeing from animated scarecrows and involved in long set battles between wizards and witches who are in league with the King himself.

I found this to be a wonderful children's tale following the adventures of Sophie and Howl, as well as being entertaining for adults alike, as the reader is easily enthralled with its eccentricity, adventure, hilarity and romance. The story is well written but does not drown the reader with too much worded detail. It builds the characters personalities slowly throughout the story, but still leaves them with the `human' unpredictability.
Set in another world where magic and demons really exist, the author manages to craft this world of impossibility so well it leaves our reality feeling almost impractical and unrealistic.
However, even though the plot is full of exciting twists and turns, at times it may seem slow, unnecessary and even a little too unrealistic due to the characters (sometimes odd) reactions to encounters. This could leave some more impatient readers a little confused or eager for the story to draw to a conclusion. Nevertheless, just as you feel the authors may have digressed from the tale, leaving you a little lost, the story is bought to a wonderful, dramatic and heart warming finale that will leave any child and adult with a smile and a want for more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The creation of something special., 18 May 2009
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Paperback)
I suspect that I'm not the only one who read this book after watching the Studio Ghibli film, the original book is very different as Miyazaki modified the story considerably to create his own unique adaptation.

There isn't the same anti-war message, and there are no steam-punk aircraft - what you do get is a more in depth view of life in Howl's house and the tension between him and Sophie, the girl who was turned into an old woman by the wicked Witch of The Waste before ending up living in the house of much feared wizard Howl. Sophie is on a mission to undo the curse which has prematurely aged her and agrees to help free Howl's 'slave' Calcifer whilst Howl himself tries to wriggle out of working for the King.

Calcifer the Fire Demon is one of the best fantasy character creations in recent times, he's a real star - the powerful yet seemingly imprisoned being is gloriously cheeky as he powers Howl's moving castle and protects it with his own magic.

The visuals in my minds eye were very much influenced by the beautiful animated film and the two compliment each other well. I was already familiar with the overall plot, but the book is very different towards the end and it was nice experiencing something different yet familiar. Diana Wynne Jones has created a set of characters which gel incredibly well together and it's no surprise that Howl and co. have a set of dedicated fans.

We get a great insight into the life of Sophie and her family. There are characters which don't appear in the film but feature quite prominently here. They turn a magical adventure into a story with a lot of human interest, especially the relationship between Sophie and the great young wizard Howl. Sophie is able to see beyond Howl's vanity and his selfish façade, she's sees compassion and a vulnerability which are central to his character. She learns the cause of his heartlessness and ultimately helps to heal a damaged soul.

Wynne Jones has a scatty approach to writing. It's clear that there is no specific planned ending to the book and it feels almost like a stream of consciousness rather than a planned novel. This doesn't detract from the book though, it benefits from it as it adds an almost organic feel of a story naturally developing.

In a nutshell: Howl's Moving Castle contains some brilliant concepts; from a door which can open up and lead into several different locations to boots which enable the wearer to travel miles with just one step. These brilliant plot devices along with an ensemble of characters that have depth result in a book which can appeal to readers of all ages. After reading this I wanted to read more, and though a pseudo-sequel exists in Castle in the Air - a direct sequel was released last year (House of Many Ways) and I'm looking forward to delving once more into the world of Howl and Sophie - a partnership which is brilliantly established in Howl's Moving Castle.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What an imagination!!, 26 Feb 2003
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Hardcover)
This has long been a favourite of mine; the charm of a magic door that opens onto four different places and the seven-league boots that can be used to catch and trap a falling star captivated me as a child and ensure that this is a book to which I return over and over again. Despite the wit and pace of the twisting plot, it is the artuflly created characters that set this book apart from many others: it is easy to sympathise with Sophie and her infuriating lack of self- belief, whilst Howl's clumsy pomposity renders him laughable and loveable in the same instance.
I would recommend this book to people all of ages, especially to those who are fans (aren't we all?) of Harry Potter. You may not believe me, but Hogwart's is no match for the entire magical kingdom delineated in this piece, with its three distinct towns and the mysterious, fourth realm onto which Howl's magic door opens.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant childrens fantasy, 20 Feb 2005
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Paperback)
I have read both Howl's moving Castle and its sequel, Castle in the Air, and enjoyed them both emensly. I am a fan of Diana wynne Jones, and when I learned that she was the author behind the book on which Myazaki's(I am a fan of his work) new film was based, I had to read the book.
It is enchanting and surreal, but also very funny, everything I look for in a book.
I would reccomend this book and its sequel to anyone.
Please read, you will not be dissapointed.
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Howl's Moving Castle
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Paperback - 5 Mar 2009)
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