December 25, 2010

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

HowlSophie Hatter always thought she was destined to failure if she ever tried to do anything out of the ordinary, as she is the eldest of three sisters. So, instead, she tried to be a good daughter and to be content with her lot in life: to one day inherit the hat shop and live pleasant, but dull life.

When her father dies, her stepmother makes arrangements for Sophie's sisters. Lettie, the middle, beautiful sister, is sent to a bakery, where she's expected to meet a good man and marry well. Martha, the youngest, is sent to apprentice with a witch. And Sophie stays home, making hats.

Around their little town, there are rumors of two evils: one, the witch of the waste, who's not someone to be crossed. and two, Wizard Howl, said to eat young girl's hearts and steal their souls. When the witch of the waste casts a spell on Sophie - aging her to look and feel like a old, old woman - she unwittingly puts her in the path to Howl and his moving castle.

Once there, she makes a bargain with Calicifer (Howl's fire demon), annoys Howl with her need to clean, and befriends Mark (Howl's young apprentice), all while trying to break her own curse.

CastleI was so excited to read Howl's Moving Castle because I'm a huge fan of the movie. There were many differences between the two, but I still liked the book. I did, however, find it a bit convoluted. I think it was, in part, because of all the background information on Howl, and because of the added story lines of Sophie's sisters.

In this case, I think I liked the movie better - it was easier to understand, and the romance was more believable. The book was beautifully written, though, it was almost lyrical at times.


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