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Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle #1)

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  95,084 ratings  ·  5,459 reviews
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 Wi ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1986)
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Marlee I personally find the book much better than the movie. If the book never existed, I would say the movie was beautiful on its own, but the book leaves…moreI personally find the book much better than the movie. If the book never existed, I would say the movie was beautiful on its own, but the book leaves it in the dust. A lot more story and characters, much more humor, and very easy to get lost in.
Overall, if you're more of an art and animation fan, the movie is the way to go. If you want more story, the book.
Not to mention there are two books that follow it that are also high up on my favorites list.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Honestly what made me want to read this book was the movie. *gasp* I know, I know shouldn't do that. The movie was good (I am a fan of Hayo Miyazaki's films) and I wasn't disappointed in the book. As always much of the book wasn't put into the movie, but it was understandable because I imagine it would be hard to piece together a movie with all the components this story has.

To really grasp and understand the book I would suggest that it be read twice I think. Since I did watch the movie I wasn't
This book is completely magical and this is how I know:

On the fourth of July, we crammed ourselves into our car (my husband, mother in law, two girls, and I) and drove for over an hour to go see some fireworks. There was traffic almost the entire way, and I was jammed in the back in between two booster seats, which let me tell you – was not comfortable. I am a tall person and my knees basically alternated between being squished in between the two front seats, or slanted crazily off to one side.
Kat Kennedy
Jun 26, 2010 Kat Kennedy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone with a heart and half a brain
For some reason I've been reading a lot of really great books lately. I feel that itch to find something I can tear apart and relish in the destruction. However, Howl's Moving Castle didn't provide me with that opportunity.

It is an amazing and fantastic book. The characters are so very different, funny, quirky and lovable that I was sucked in right away. The storyline was intriguing and fun to read. The writing was quite good and the world was utterly fascinating.

If you've watched the movie then
Emma (Miss Print)
Before Hayao Miyazaki made "Howl's Moving Castle" into a feature length animated film in 2006 (2004 if you saw it in Japan), it was a book written by Diana Wynne Jones in 1986. Due to the inherent difficulties of creating an animated film, Miyazaki greatly abridged and adjusted the plot of the novel for his movie. I happened to enjoy both film and novel but after reading the book I realized that the plot is extremely different in the novel--enough that the book and movie become completely differ ...more
Seak (Bryce L.)
I watched the movie, Howl's Moving Castle, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, when I was going through my anime phase, not to mention I'm pretty much always going through a Christian Bale phase. I loved it, of course, it was so odd and just plain weird, exactly why I enjoy anime so much.

This was quite a while ago, and it wasn't until just recently that I started reading reviews of the book by Diana Wynne Jones, so I ordered it right away. And, because my "to read" pile is enormous, it sat on my shelf f
Feb 11, 2011 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: it still moves
Recommended to Mariel by: stillness is the move
I'd started writing this review yesterday. I had to quit because I was busy having one of my anxiety fits about using cliches, not saying what I really mean, unclear sentences, my bad grammar, blah blah. I worry about it so much that it is hard to write anything.

Howl's Moving Castle is one of those books that I wish I'd not read so I could read it again. That's a cliche, it's true, but it is true. A lot has been written about Howl's on goodreads so I'll try and say something beyond all of the t
Feb 28, 2009 Robin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who enjoy fairytales
This was a charming story. I've never read Diana Wynne Jones before and enjoyed it quite a bit. It reminded me a lot of Neil Gaiman's Stardust (although I did not like that one nearly as much). The character of Sophie Hatter was well done - I liked her wit and her "take no prisioners" attitude.

The supporting case was also good. I particularly liked Calcifier and his interactions with Sophie. As to Howl himself, there was no doubt in my mind his "true self" and I knew from the start where the tal
Erica (daydreamer)
March 26 2011. I just found out Diana Wynne Jones died today. The day I start reading my first book of hers. I don't know much about this author, I'm unfamiliar with her works, but I can feel people's loss, the fans of her writing. And I can still thank her for becoming the well known and loved writer she apparently was. She contribruted to the literary world that I love, and any author who can do this and write amazing fantasical novels earns my respect.

My review

Howl's Moving Castle is
Gail Carriger
Howl's lingers with me because of the humor, because of the perfectly executed twisting plot, because of the snapping dialog. Diana is possibly the best writer of her generation but because she wrote mainly YA in a time before HP she was disregarded. You want to know what I think a book should be like? Read this one.
After a good initial start, this story never took off the way I anticipated (and hoped) it might. The writing style was difficult for me to get caught up in, and I kept waiting for something enchanting and thrilling to happen. Unfortunately, after chapter 3, nothing did. At all.

While I appreciated some aspects of Wynne Jones fantasy building (the castle and it's doorway portals in particular), I don't see where she executed these ideas in any kind of sustained imaginative way. Apart from Howl (w
At least no one can accuse me of not having read this book now. Howl's Moving Castle is probably the single most popular piece of children's fantasy, right after Harry Potter of course. I've heard endless praise for this series ever since it was first released but, for some reason or the other, I was never drawn to it. It seemed charming, but not much else. Well, as I expected, Jones's story is a charming, cute, and fun adventure novel with just the right amount of depth to be considered prevale ...more
May 02, 2013 Elevetha rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who don't mind loose ends
Recommended to Elevetha by: Miss Clark
Well, I liked it. It could have used the opposite of editing which is something I rarely say. Things weren't there that should have been. Also the romance could\should have been handled better. It kinda went something like:

Howl: Hello, old lady.

Sophie: Hello, famous wizard.
*accusingly* You like young ladies, do you not?

Howl: Why yes, they are quite nice. You, however, are quite old. Clean my magical moving castle for me?

Sophie: Why not. You need to change me back into a young lady again anyway
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This is a great story, full of wit and charm and adventure. It's a fantasy tale about Sophie who is turned into an old woman by the Witch of the Waste. Leaving her family's hat shop behind, she heads into the hills where Wizard Howl's moving castle has been wandering for a few weeks. She finds a way into the "castle" despite the stories that Howl eats young girl's hearts - she's no longer young, and so no longer afraid.

Howl is young and incredibly vain - he spends two hours in the bathroom befo

Yup, this picture pretty much sums it up: a colourful quirky little fantasy tale that brings back memories of bedtime stories.

I too watched the movie first, got curious and picked up the book. And however the Japanese did a splendid job at bringing Howl with his dangling earring and dazzling androgynous looks - and the castle, which is masterly designed - to life, I'm glad that the book has a much richer plotline. I love all the cute and imaginative elements. Compared to the book, the movie is
May 22, 2009 Becky rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: Fiona
This was a very fun, charming story. It really seems so simply written, yet read more than one line and you are a part of the action, not just watching it.

I really enjoyed Sophie, and feel like she is very human -- prone to snap judgments and bad decisions and she tends to underestimate herself. Howl is a very fun character, a bit of a "player" until his heart is stolen (literally).

I would like to check out the other books in the series, but this one does stand alone quite nicely. :)
One of the best fantasies, and a clever mystery besides. Read it, for probably the 10th time, but this time I read it aloud to my 7yo. He loved it, though I did have to explain a few things. I would love a Calcifer of my own.
Update: Well that worked much better the second time around. I thought this YA fantasy was charming and original, though it was occasionally confusing, and I wished some things had been explained a little better. I really felt for Sophie, the main character, who feels so timid, trapped and hopeless that when she's hit with a curse that turns her into an old woman, it actually frees her in more ways than one. She leaves her dead-end job and, for lack of a better option, moves herself into the odd ...more
I watched the movie first. In fact, it was entirely accidentally that my cousin and I, in the midst of this loud, busy family reunion, came across the movie version and were completely sucked into the tale of Sophie, Howl and Calcifier. So when the movie was done and I sat back with a sigh and some sadness that another good thing had come to an end, I thought of reading the book to prolong the loveliness. Because everyone knows that books are always better, right?

In this case, the book was just
I don't get what's so great about this book. I found it boring, the characters are meh and tbh how Wynne Jones draws out a storyline over 200 pages when they could cover 100 is completely pointless, and did I mention, boring.

I was interested in the introduction of Sophie and her sisters, but then the Witch of the Waste turns Sophie into a 90-year old lady and it just becomes boring. She joins Howl's Moving Castle and become a "cleaner" there after making a contract with the fire demon that powe


Do I need to say how much I love this book? Do I? Cause you all know how much I love the movie? I LOVE THE BOOK EVEN MORE! I just, gosh, IT'S SO AMAZING! Adorableness meter: 300% . Adorableness overload/Over capacity. > /////// <

Howl's Moving Castle lands in a place called Ingary. A magical place that have witches and wizards and apprenticeship and seven-league boots and talking animals. And catching st
I'll admit that I read this book after watching the movie and I love them both, though they are both very different. I own the book, now all I have to do it find the movie. The first time I read this book I was confused at a few parts but the second time around I got it which let me appreciate the book even more. It was fun to be able to look for the hints all along the way.

Sophie is turned into an old woman by the witch of the waste. This sets Sophie on her journey and finds herself being the

Adoré este libro desde la primer página. Hasta hace muy poco ni sabía que existía, solamente había visto la hermosa película del estudio Ghibli, pero obviamente al encontrarme con la novela no pude dejar de leerla.

Tenemos a Sophie, nuestra dulce (hasta que se enoja) protagonista, que tiene la mala suerte de que el día que está de mal humor y atiende mal a una cliente, esa persona resulta ser una bruja con muy poca paciencia. Gracias a eso ahora la -por muy pocas páginas- joven Sophie se encu

I'm not sure why I didn't get more "into" this book. Perhaps it was that we read it over the holidays so chapters were squeezed in between busy days and tired nights. This is my first Wynne Jones book and I thought her style was fine, if nothing especially striking--but I was just not that captivated by the plot. I kept waiting for things to "pick up"--where was the excitement? Interest? But, no... it tended to plod, IMO. Even so, Howl was a rich and interesting character. Still, I actu

Last week I finally watched the anime version of this book. This is a book that I had read long ago around the ages of twelve to fourteen and enjoyed very much at the time. Like the anime film (my first venture into Studio Ghibli films) it was a strange and wonderful adventure like all the best fantasy novels of my childhood.

The plot should be familiar to anyone who was seen the film or read any type of fairytale. It features a witch cursing a young woman, Sophie, transforming her into an elderl
Let me get this out the way first: THIS BOOK IS FRICKING AWESOME! Omg, I have no words to convey how much I loved it! This is the first book in a long time where I actually didn't check how long the length of each chapters were, and I was actually so engrossed in the story that I kept reading on and on and didn't want to stop. To tell you how bad it got my friend sent me a text asking me to hang out and my first thought was "NOOOO! I want to finish Howl's Moving Castle!!!" Yes, it's that good pe ...more
This is definitely one of those books that I enjoy more and more every time I read it. I always have a memory of how rushed the ending is, and I still think it’s pretty rushed, but I think I understood the book quite a bit more this time. The book builds to a climax, but the actual final battle barely seems to take up many pages and then we have a few pages to wrap up all the plots, via the narrator pointing out various things the audience didn’t know yet.

The complexity of Jones’s writing is on
This is probably one of Diana Wynne Jones' best books in my opinion and I love it up there with Dogsbody.

Floating castles, talking fires, bouncing scarecrows? They could only be the wonderful creations of DWJ.

I think what the author does best is create very real and very identifiable characters that somehow - you always feel you have always known. It's sort of magical how she does it, because many books may spend a few chapters establishing characters. With DWJ they just pop out at you straight
BJ Rose
This is lighthearted and just lots of fun - the author said she got the idea from a boy at a school she was visiting, who asked her to write about a moving castle. In addition to the constant moving and rotating, the castle boasts a color-coded doorknob. By turning the knob to a different color before you open the door, you step out in a different location - traveling made easy!

But of course all is not sweetness and light. There's the Wicked Witch of the Waste who puts a spell on Sophie, making
EDIT: March 26, 2011. Rest in peace, Ms. Jones. The world has lost a wonderful author today.

Can I give this book six stars?
How about ten?
Well, darn.

I finally read this book after watching the Miyazaki movie for the second time, and I love them both, no matter how different they are. (It bears mentioning that the fact that it's impossible to get the face of movie Howl out of my head is probably part of this.)
Seriously, though. Day after I watched the movie for the second time, I
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Diana Wynne Jones was the author of more than thirty critically acclaimed fantasy stories, including the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

For Diana Wynne Jones's official autobiography, please see
More about Diana Wynne Jones...
Castle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2) The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #2) Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1) House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3) The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1 (Chrestomanci, #1-2)

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