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Brittany's Pick: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Eldest of three sisters in a land where it is considered to be a misfortune, Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared wizard Howl.

Being the eldest, Sophie Hatter has resigned herself to be the least successful of three sisters. She accepts her days will be dull as she is set to inherit her father’s hat shop while her younger sisters set out to seek their fortune. However, a fateful encounter with the dreaded Witch of the Waste leaves her transformed into an old woman and prompts her to leave home. The story follows Sophie in her travels during which she makes a deal with the fire demon Calcifer and is promptly swept up in a whirlwind of cleaning, bickering, and curse breaking with none-other-than Wizard Howl himself (the novel’s titular character), who is not quite like the stories she’s heard…

After finishing Howl’s Moving Castle for the umpteenth time, I can say with full confidence that it is still my absolute favorite book. Many people are familiar with the Studio Ghibli film, but I implore you, give the book a try. It is hilarious and cozy and heartwarming. There are fire demons and magic and an ever-moving castle (which I loved exploring with Sophie). There is an anthropomorphic scarecrow, the appearance of a comically large suit, and banter coming out of the front (castle) door. Wherever that actually is. What more could you ask for?

Howl Pendragon/Jenkins/ whatever name he gives, is the drama. All of it, perhaps.

This book would be especially appealing to anyone interested in the cozy fantasy sub-genre. While this book certainly has its conflicts (think cloudy battle scenes and a murderous witch), overall the stakes are low and the book proceeds at a semi-leisurely pace. The novel is penned in a silly, quippy tone and the resulting story is just fun.

No matter how many times I read through Jones’ masterpiece, I still find myself laughing at the silly parts and smiling like a fool at the ending. While this book is generally categorized as a book for younger readers, I believe that the magic and whimsy contained within its pages will appeal to all age groups.

This book is conveniently offered as an eBook on our CloudLibrary resource. - Brittany, Branch Associate


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