Most helpful positive review
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Like a dream it fills you up until you're full of joy
on 21 June 2007
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.