Series: Howl's Moving Castle #1
Release Date: April 1986
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"How about making a bargain with me?" said the demon. "I'll break your spell if you agree to break this contact I'm under."
In the land of Ingary, where seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, Sophie Hatter attracts the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her. Determined to make the best of things, Sophie travels to the one place where she might get help - the moving castle which hovers on the nearby hills.
But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the hearts of young girls...
Trying to write a decent review of this book without fizzing over with all the happiness it fills me with is basically impossible, jsyk. This book is a delight; the kind of book that can be read again and again without losing any of its magic. It’s just so wonderful ;______; This is literally the perfect book for when you’re feeling down, or when you just want to chill out or even if you’re feeling good and want a book that’s light and fun. Howl’s Moving Castle is all of those things! Note the enthusiasm here, people, I used an exclamation mark. SERIOUS BUSINESS.
“In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.”
So the story begins in a small town called Market Chipping – we’re introduced to our protagonist, Sophie, who as the eldest of three sisters can never expect to live an exciting life. Sophie’s pretty resigned to this fate and watches as her sisters set out into the world, leaving her behind to make hats and be forever single. One day, mistaken for her sister by the Witch of the Waste, Sophie is put under a curse that turns her into an old woman. Realising that only magic can cure her, Sophie leaves her boring life behind and finds herself living as a cleaning woman in the notorious Wizard Howl’s Moving Castle. She meets a whole host of awesome characters, including Calcifer – a Fire Demon who lives in Howl’s fireplace – he’s the best, it is known.
|LOOK AT HOW CUTE HE IS, YOU GUYS.|
There is also ~romance~ and it is the greatest, you will ship it and you will cry. Howl and Sophie have the sweetest build-up that is impossible not to love. Their banter is wonderful to read because they’re totally different characters with any amount of opposing traits that clash all the time; as the novel progresses, the relationship is developed so naturally that every reveal feels perfect. Nothing is rushed because both characters have their own storylines and problems that need to be resolved.
Every character in the book is entertaining and well-written but this is especially true with Howl and Sophie, our two main characters. Sophie is sassy, stubborn and brave and the author balances her two voices beautifully. Sophie as a young woman and Sophie as an old crone are almost two completely different characters but both are the greatest. Young Sophie, for example, is shy whereas Old Sophie, fully embracing all the best parts of growing old, is a bossy old woman who quickly takes charge of the castle. Howl is entirely unique – he’s vain, fussy, and prone to throwing temper tantrums that result in green slime spewing everywhere. It’s awesome. Despite being powerful, he is contrasted a lot with Sophie in the sense that she grows more courageous as the story progresses whereas he himself is a self-confessed coward. The perfect blend of personalities tbh.
I also really enjoyed the prose – the writing is funny, the descriptions vivid and the dialogue endlessly entertaining. There is literally nothing I didn’t enjoy about this book tbh. Plus there is a marvellous movie based on the novel that you should also watch because perfection.