For this book review, I will discuss Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Like my previous book review on 101 Dalmatians, I will discuss a book that has been overshadowed by a popular film adaptation.
Chances are, you know Studio Ghibli’s 2004 film Howl’s Moving Castle. If not, you should watch it!
Howl’s Moving Castle is a bewitching classic, with raw intelligence and a good heart.
Tackling vast themes such as loyalty, friendship, magic, intelligence, deception, this classic children’s novel delights. As we follow our protagonist (Sophie), we discover dusty spells, eccentric characters, and bizarre scenery. However, it is a journey pleasing to go on.
That’s because Howl’s Moving Castle is a fantastic read where every page is stained with brilliance.
What also makes Howl’s Moving Castle a sophisticated read is Jones’ commentary on morality. Whilst Jones has plenty to say about kindness and wisdom, she never gives into the impulse to talk down to the reader.
This is terrific and ensures that Howl’s Moving Castle will be enjoyed by a variety of readers.
Complimented by stunning visuals, Jones unlocks a key to our imaginations, and reveals that even as adults, we too, can escape into a whimsical world. That makes for wonderful literature.
The characters are engaging. From our brave and gutsy heroine Sophie, to the oddballs of Howl and Michael, Howl’s Moving Castle emerges as a story difficult to forget. You wouldn’t want to. As I read Howl’s Moving Castle, I was smiling, and at others, nervous about the events that would unfold. That’s effective literature.
A drawback to the imaginary literary style used by Jones is that the stakes don’t feel high in the first half of the novel. It’s difficult not to spend the first half of the novel delighted in the whimsical creations of Jones. However, that can be a detriment. I would like greater insight into Sophie’s emotional mindset, and what she was going through.
That being said, Howl’s Moving Castle becomes more intense and engaging as the novel unfolds. You come to love and enjoy the characters that are introduced.
It’s why this book is such a treasure. Although the world is fantastic, I can believe that there are young girls like Sophie, navigating planet Earth. What I also admire about Jones’ style is that she makes the most bizarre concepts (a young girl, trapped in the body of an elderly woman) seem natural and not distasteful.
Every word Jones constructs is sketched with empathy and wonder. Jones deserves more recognition for her brilliance. Alot of fantasy writers would enjoy studying Howl’s Moving Castle. It’s a novel that both educates and delights.
Overall, I recommend Howl’s Moving Castle. I kept this review short and sparse because it is better to read this book with minimal details.
Thoughts? Comment below!