Synopsis: Howl’s Moving Castle is the first book in a children’s fantasy trilogy called The Howl Series. A young woman called Sophie Hatter lives in a little town called Market Chipping in the marvelous kingdom of Ingary and works in her family’s head-wear shop. Sophie is the eldest of three sisters and has resigned herself to living a dull life and never finding her fortune.
After all, everyone knows that it’s always the youngest child in the family who is destined to have grand adventures and achieve great things. But then a misunderstanding occurs which leads to Sophie being converted into an old woman by the malevolent Witch of the Waste. Finding her old age remarkably liberating, Sophie decides to go off and have an adventure of her own in order to break the spell. In the hills above the city she then ends up stumbling across a moving castle which belongs to a mysterious and reclusive wizard called Howl.
The wizard is a competitor of the Witch of the Waste and has a fearsome reputation in the town – he’s rumored to eat the hearts of beautiful young women and suck out their souls. However, Sophie then ends up learning to be a cleaning female for Howl and goes to live in his castle after stunning a bargain with Howl’s fire demon Calcifer. If Sophie can break the magical contract which forces Calcifer to work for Howl, Calcifer will bring back Sophie’s youngsters.
Unfortunately, there is a stipulation in the agreement meaning neither Howl nor Calcifer can discuss what the agreement actually is. Meanwhile, as Sophie goes about assisting Howl and his teenage apprentice Michael, she discovers that Howl’s wicked reputation has been grossly exaggerated. Howl doesn’t eat hearts or suck out souls – he’s just a horrible flirt who quickly ditches women as soon as they begin to fall for him.
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He’s also extremely vain and it is quite the dilemma queen. And Howl is ultimately kind-hearted yet, generous, compassionate, and wonderful and can be an extremely powerful and talented wizard. But Sophie discovers that Howl is under a horrifying curse himself – a curse that threatens his life. This review is a long time arriving because I re-read this reserve sometime this past year but didn’t get around to reviewing it at the time.
Howl’s Moving Castle is a different one of these children’s books that I didn’t actually get to read as a child and only uncovered as a grown-up. I’d seen the 2004 Studio Ghibli adaptation, got loved it and really, after learning that it had been loosely based on a book, thought it might be interesting to learn the source material. Because I’d quite definitely loved the film I thought I’d be pre-disposed to choose the changes that were made but in the end I used to be completely wrong and I ended up loving the publication far more!
The film’s actually been ruined for me personally a bit because the reserve is just so much funnier than the film and its own personas are more flawed and are therefore more interesting. Howl’s Moving Castle can be an absolutely delightful publication. The prose is lovely and is filled with literary humor and references. The plot is engaging, imaginative, and fun.