“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 the eldest of three.” So starts Howl’s Moving Castle, an amusing, clever, and fast-paced favorite among Piranha T. and Super Kitty.
Sophie Hatter is one such burdened individual, staying hidden away in her stepmother’s hat shop. She knows that nothing exciting will ever happen to her, but her life takes a turn for the worse—and the more exciting—when the nefarious Witch of the Waste notices her and transforms her into an old lady. Knowing that she can’t stay where she is, Sophie goes from her home and out into the world.
Her life gets very complicated all at once when she makes a bargain with a fire demon, tangles with the greatly feared Wizard Howl and his apprentice, and at the same time tries to free herself from the Witch of the Waste’s curse. For she’s about to discover that not only Howl, but herself as well, are much more interesting than first meets the eye.
We have read several things by Diana Wynne Jones, and have enjoyed all of them, but none have come close to Howl’s Moving Castle. It is one of those books that we have been recommending to everyone we know, kids and adults alike. Weaving in elements of classic fairytales (and sometimes making fun of them), Diana Wynne Jones creates an all-time favorite with Howl’s Moving Castle. We’d recommend it to ages 9 and up, to kids, teenagers and adults as well! And if you're into audiobooks, we'd recommend the narration by Jenny Sterlin. It's great!
Note: Howl’s Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki. The book is very, very different—so whether you loved the movie or despised it, READ THE BOOK! This is one of those cases where the movie is not just different from the book, they are almost separate stories.