I'm pretty sure that Goodreads recommended this book to me based on previous reads and I added it to my list thinking "Ah, yes! I liked the animated m...moreI'm pretty sure that Goodreads recommended this book to me based on previous reads and I added it to my list thinking "Ah, yes! I liked the animated movie when I was a kid - this will be a fun read!"
That said, I did keep in mind the entire time that this is a children's book, and I might have liked it better were I still a child (being a child at heart doesn't always count).
The premise of The Black Cauldron is good - a group of friends set out on an adventure to reclaim a magical cauldron that can create armies of the undead ("Cauldron-Born").
The pacing was strange, though. There was a lot of action, but it felt at the same time that nothing was happening, because so little time was dedicated to each event - whole battles were over before I could reach the end of a page!
I did not realize that The Black Cauldron was second in a series of books and, even though the author implied that each book in the series could be treated as stand-alone novels, I did feel like I was missing plot points by not having read The Book of Three.
Also, I was really frustrated with the characters in that they were always shouting or crying out their speech. Honestly, those are the speech descriptors that Alexander uses constantly. Couldn't they just speak normally once in a while?
I recommend this book to my seven-year old self.(less)
First off, I have to say it: This book is beautiful.
I picked this up at the library after seeing the film (Hugo), which I had found stunning in itsel...moreFirst off, I have to say it: This book is beautiful.
I picked this up at the library after seeing the film (Hugo), which I had found stunning in itself, and read the book in one sitting.
The differences between the film and the book are very clear: the natures of the relationships between characters are changed somewhat, as are some of the events that take place. I really liked the character of Etienne, but I understand why he wasn't included in the film.
My only disappointment (if it can even be called such) is that this book is such a quick and easy read. I almost wish there was an adult version of the story in which I could explore it more in-depth.
Having seen the Studio Ghibli film before reading this, I was curious to see how faithful the film was to the book. The basic essence is the same, but...moreHaving seen the Studio Ghibli film before reading this, I was curious to see how faithful the film was to the book. The basic essence is the same, but major plot points are different.
If you are similarly reading this book (the first in a series, actually) post-film, then you'll note a few huge differences right off the bat:
1. Markl (in the film) is called Michael in the book, and is slightly older; 2. Calcifer's appearance is very different, as is the castle's; 3. You gain a lot more insight into the Witch of the Waste's character; 4. The war that features so prominently in the film is merely an off-hand mention in the book; 5. Sophie's sisters and stepmother figure significantly in the book, as well as Howl's relationships with them; 6. You get a deeper understanding of how this book's world connects to our own.
These are of course only a few differences. There are more. There are also many things that are similar or at least comparable.
Strangely, even though I usually get annoyed when I discover a huge disconnect between a book and its film adaptation, I instead enjoyed making the comparison in the case of Howl's Moving Castle.