Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Synopsis: Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.
I watched this movie about seven years ago and it became an instant favorite because Hayao Miyazaki can do no wrong, honestly. After watching it a few times I found out it was based on a book so I was excited to listen to this on Audible and I am so glad I did. Despite the vast differences between the movie and the book I will admit the I love them both the same. This book is magic candy personified in the best of ways. There’s a steampunk element to it but it’s more fantasy with magic, castles, princes, spells, witches, enchantments – all the great things that make us love fantasy as kids, Wynne Jones employs them here. Our heroine, Sophie, has the unfortunate fate of having been transformed into an old woman despite her very young age. This follows her adventure as an old woman and how she’s thrust into the world of Howl, a handsome magician obsessed with looks, youth and beauty. Their dynamic is perfect and it’s a slow moving but wonderfully paced love story but above all a story of courage and Sophie’s transition into something far greater than what she started. If you’ve seen the movie, expect changes but they are wonderful and if you’ve not seen the movie, make yourself a nice up of tea and enjoy this lovely read.
Also, great for kids and teens!