Teen Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Teen Review: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Seriously. This is quite possibly the most surprising and wonderful book I’ve ever read. It’s funny, quirky and confusing, and it is basically beautiful in every single possible way.
Warning: it is NOTHING like the movie, it’s based in medieval times and Howl is much meaner and more vain, which I actually prefer since it shows he’s actually heartless rather than just strange. Also all the characters are jumbled up, so much so that when I watched the movie I got so confused I gave up comparing it to the book.
So the main character, Sophie Hatter, is the eldest of three, which essentially means she’s doomed to fail if she attempts to make her own fortune. Then she’s cursed by the Witch of the Waste to become an old woman. So yeah, life isn’t very good. She sets off on her own and ends up working for Wizard Howl, whom many suspect of eating young girls’ hearts. The book is full of funny characters, weird magic and twists and turns that will leave you staring at the pages and yelling “WHAT” very loudly. But guess what? IT MAKES SENSE SOMEHOW
Sophie is funny in a very go-with-the-flow-way. Meet a fire-demon? Talk to him like a random face in a fire isn’t completely shocking. She also has a tendency to talk to inanimate objects (hats, sticks, etc.) and is surprisingly good at being a sassy old woman. But the best part? She doesn’t melt around Howl, she doesn’t find him mind-numbingly attractive. She thinks he’s a vain, generally rude and mean person, because that’s who is he is. She never romanticizes him, never makes excuses for his behavior. She’s a surprisingly smart and extremely witty, and an all-around lovable and incredible heroine.
Matthew (called Markl in the movie and is actually around 14-15) is sweet and works as Howl’s apprentice.
Calcifer is witty, a bit rude but somehow completely lovable. You hope beyond hope that there’s some way to break his contract with Howl that doesn’t somehow leave him to die. He lives in the fireplace and essentially powers the entire castle.
And finally…Howl. He’s rude, vain and exceptionally handsome. Basically everything I dislike in a character (*cough* Jace *cough*). He’s literally heartless, and spends his days romancing women and dumping them once they love him. He overcharges the king of spells and refuses to help him with the Witch of the Waste because he’s a coward. So his random acts of kindness can be so surprising you constantly find your opinion of him bouncing from one to the other.
So basically everyone, even people who rarely read, should read this book. It’s everything I love in a book all wrapped up into one of the most incredible things I’ve ever read.
P.S.- if any of you have read it, message me! I’d love to find someone else who has!
-Katelyn, 16

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