Sunday, December 9, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE, by Dianne Wynne Jones

When several people in a row  from different sources all talk about the same book and recommend reading it, and even refer to it as a favorite or a source of inspiration -- well, duh! -- it's time to get hold of that book and read it.

Of course, finding the time to read is a lot harder than remembering to buy the book in the first place! I finally sat down to read ... and ended up devouring. What a fun romp!!

I'm a fan of fantasy books where people have a good idea of the "rules" of magic that populate faerie tales, such as the youngest child has the adventures and ends up marrying the prince or princess, and the oldest child messes up the worst or has a totally boring life.

Sophie is well aware that as the oldest, she won't have a happy ending. She's convinced she isn't beautiful, she doesn't have any magical talents, and she won't fall in love. So she lets herself become overlooked and timid, until a witch walks into her hat shop, upset over something Sophie did. Sophie has no explanation, and no chance to defend herself. When the witch turns her into a shriveled old crone, she decides to get out of there. Before she knows it, she's on an adventure.

The moving castle of the title is just that. Howl the wizard has a reputation that makes him dangerous to young girls, so Sophie figures she's safe when she's caught out in the middle nowhere and the only shelter is -- you guessed it -- Howl's castle, trundling by. She finagles her way inside, and soon she's cleaning up the place, organizing it, and driving Howl and his apprentice crazy. As Sophie tries to fix things, somehow she makes a bigger mess. Or does she? Howl turns out to be entirely different from what she expected -- and when the witch is dealt with, Sophie ends up as a surprise for Howl, too.

There are more Howl's stories. Looking forward to finding them and devouring them, too!

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