Thursday, July 16, 2009

Howl's Moving Castle and House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne-Jones


In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.

After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.

The Hatter sisters—Sophie, Lettie, and Martha—and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.

In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl's castle?

Diana Wynne Jones's entrancing fantasy is filled with surprises at every turn, but when the final stormy duel between the Witch and the Wizard is finished, all the pieces fall magically into place.

Title and author of book: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne-Jones

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Young Adult Fiction. Fantasy.

What led you to pick up this book?
I really need to read more from Wynne-Jones, so this seemed to be the time to do so!

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending!
See above...

What did you like most about the book?
The world. Diana Wynne-Jones is a fantastic world-builder. She doesn't write anything that you cannot easily picture. When she tries to be a bit unusual, she can very successful explain how things are accomplished, so then it just makes sense. I love the characters. They all interact together in humourous and entertaining ways. The good and the bad, they all worked together to make a very readable story. There wasn't a character in the book that I didn't think was written really well. There is a lot of good things about this book.

What did you like least?
There is nothing that jumps right out at me. I really enjoy Wynne-Jones and her writing. She can really do no wrong in my book.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books?
Yes. I read Fire & Hemlock. I consider it one of my favourite young adult novels of all time, and yet, it took me a few years to read anything else by her! That makes no sense, right?

What did you think of the main character?
I really liked Sophie. She was a bit annoying in the beginning, but as she progressed as a character and developed more into who she was supposed to be she became a character that I will remember for a while to come. The oldest of three sisters, she had resigned herself to a rather dull life. Events conspire to end her up in The Moving Castle, though, and then she really starts to shine. You quickly learn that not everything in this book is how it seems and Sophie might just have some surprises of her own in store for you.

What about the ending? I liked the ending. Obviously there are sequels now, but there don't have to be. The ending ties things up nicely.

The sequel to Howl's Moving Castle

When Charmain Baker agreed to look after her great-uncle's house, she thought she was getting blissful, parent-free time to read. She didn't realize that the house bent space and time, and she did not expect to become responsible for an extremely magical stray dog and a muddled young apprentice wizard. Now, somehow, she's been targeted by a terrifying creature called a lubbock, too, and become central to the king's urgent search for the fabled Elfgift that will save the country. The king is so desperate to find the Elfgift, he's called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, the great Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer won't be far behind. How did respectable Charmain end up in such a mess, and how will she get herself out of it?

Title and author of book: House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne-Jones

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Young Adult Fiction. Fantasy.

What led you to pick up this book?
Sequel to Howl's Moving Castle.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending!
See above...

What did you like most about the book?
Twinkle. I'm sorry, but I thought the scenes with him in it were laugh out loud funny. He is just a great secondary character. The interaction between him and the main character and him and Sophie were immensely enjoyable! This book takes place in the same world as the previous book, so I enjoyed more world building. I also love the humour. The fact that the author can make you laugh really adds to the book.

What did you like least?
While I didn't enjoy this book as much as Howl's Moving Castle, it was still a really good book. I can't find any major flaws with it to mention.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books?
Fire & Hemlock and Howl's Moving Castle. I enjoyed both of them.

What did you think of the main character?
The first moment that we meet Charmain she is reading. Apparently, she always has her nose in a book. When I heard that, I thought I was going to love her! Sadly, she is not exactly what you expect in the beginning, but she will grow on you. She has lived a 'respectable' life, by her parents standards, and now has to figure out how to do many things on her own. It adds to her character in many ways which will leave readers a fan of her.

What about the ending?
I enjoyed the ending. It was one of the more humourous scenes in the book!

Cross-posted at Twisted Kingdom.

12 comments:

  1. I haven't read any book by this author, but I loved the Howl's Moving Castle animations! Awesome!

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  2. I'd love to have my nose in a book right now. :D

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  3. A few years ago, I read a bunch of Diana Wynne-Jones books, but I don't think I read House of Many Ways! Thank you for bringing this to my attention :-).

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  4. I didn't know there was a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, I'll have to check it out. It gives me an excuse to reread HMC! ;-)

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  5. I haven't read the book but the anime version of Howl's Moving Castle was very good. I must read more books by her, I've only read one so far.

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  6. There's another sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, written before House of Many Ways. It's Castle in the Air, which, like other two, is great fun.

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  7. Ohmigosh, I didn't know House of Many Ways existed! I have Castle in the Air but haven't read it yet. I'll be sure to get this one, though, as it looks like Sophie and Howl have more of a role. I LOVE this book- have you seen the movie? Also excellent.

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  8. My oldest son really loves this author and I'm ashamed that I haven't read her...yet!! I loved your review!

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  9. I really must read this series and watch the anime as it is supposed to be really good. Thanks for the reminder!

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  10. I haven't read House of Many Ways, but I did like Howl's Moving Castle. Have you seen the movie?

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  11. Melody: I love this author so far. I haven't seen the animations, but I will have to give them a watch.

    Alice: Me too!

    inbookingit: It's a new release.

    Ana: There are two sequels, actually.

    Cath: I need to see this animation.

    Shelia: I know! The library doesn't have it, though. I will have to buy it eventually...

    Aarti: Glad to be of some aid.

    Staci: I have really loved her so far. I hope you read her!

    Rhinoa: I must watch the anime.

    Fyrefly: Nope. I must, though!

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  12. I'm glad you enjoyed these! DWJ is one of my absolute favorites. I was so excited when House of Many Ways came out, and I just loved it. I can read her books over and over again.

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