I think the animated movie by Studio Ghibli based on this book is rather famous and popular. I too have watched the film countless times and was enchanted by the whimsicalness and the story, by the characters and all the magic. But everytime I asked a bookworm about the movie, the answer would be quite the same: “Yes, but the book is so much better. Just a little different.” Needless to say, that my curiosity was piqued.
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.
First things first, the book might actually be better than the movie. I know, bookworms always say that but this time I was seriously surprised. I quite like the studio Ghibli film and I was a little wary about the book. I was worried that it might just be kinda old and dusty and boring. But it isn’t.
“Howl’s moving castle” is a story of magic and hardship. It takes its own course and is full of life and adventure. And it’s also incredibly fun. Guys, this book is so fun. It’s full of twists and turns and so many times I was surprised by the events and the ingenuity.
There is a whole flood of characters that you have to either love or hate or be immensly irritated about. Sophie is a great protagonist, unique in a way and extremely likable. Even though she keeps mumbling and groaning and complaining.
Howl on the other hand is not great. Or is he? Other than his movie version this wizard is vain, whiny, often drunk and totally unreliable. Most of the time. Also Welsh. I don’t know if that says anything about him.
The little rows those two have are hilarious and full of mischief and I loved them. And laught about them.
Of course there are other charaters too: Calcifer the fire demon, Michael the wizard’s apprentice, Sophie’s sisters and stepmother, a dog, a scarecrow with a turnip head…I can’t even list them all, because there is so much going on and they are all improtant in this book.
While the book looks kind of convaluted at first glance with heaps of characters and stuff happening, it’s still a wonderful round story, a little bit like the castle itself with nooks and crannies. It’s laugh-out-loud fun and a feel-good book and I really recommend it.