**spoiler alert** I honestly don't understand the hype surrounding this book. I have yet to see the film (I know!), but I'm sure it's decidedly better...more**spoiler alert** I honestly don't understand the hype surrounding this book. I have yet to see the film (I know!), but I'm sure it's decidedly better than its source material. I bought the book because it came highly recommended, but I was already disappointed half-way through my reading.
The first page was so charming with its witty narrator and seemingly plucky heroine, but in no time at all the narrator stopped being cute and the heroine quickly lost her backbone (Was it ever clarified whether her stepmother was good or evil? There were so many vague and confusing subplots.). Most of the character’s were unlikeable and I didn’t care whether they succeeded or failed (Sophie and Howl specifically, Calcifer was alright), the story lacked pace and meandered here and there. There was so much double-crossing and characters not telling each other things and going behind each other’s backs with information and pointless lying, I felt Jones made it impossible for the reader to figure out the story themselves as they went along and she waited until the end to randomly reveal vital information (spoiler: Howl knew the WHOLE time who Sophie really was even though there was absolutely no indication of it, but his knowledge didn’t seem to really affect his actions until the end, conveniently.).
Sophie didn’t have any true character growth either. First she’s plucky, then a doormat, then a sassy old woman who is nosy and annoying and blurts out things she shouldn’t say. Then she’s in love with Howl at the end. Howl was unbelievable as well. He’s a vain playboy…and then he’s in love with Sophie who he luckily knew was a young girl the entire time but neglected to mention it.
I don’t know, I just wasn’t swept up in a magical, playful world like I thought I would be. I still plan on renting the film which I hear is fairly different than the book. Yay.
(random: This books had the same feel to me as The TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE(which had “seven-league boots” as well!) by Gail Garson Levine. ELLA ENCHANTED is one of my favorite books of all time, and I remember eagerly buying and reading Levine’s other book with the expectation it would be as charming and lovely as her ELLA. In the end it felt clunky and awkward and forced, with unlikeable characters and no satisfaction or joy at the end. I was so depressed by that experience.) (less)
Nothing too spectacular. Reads just like you would expect an IR to. No flowery prose, stock characters for the most part, prophecies and destinies abo...more Nothing too spectacular. Reads just like you would expect an IR to. No flowery prose, stock characters for the most part, prophecies and destinies abound. I expected more, to be honest, because Collins’ The Hunger Games is so engaging, but I mainly just felt silly reading something so obviously written for kids. (I do hear that Collins ups the ante and holds nothing back in the death department in the final book, much like Mockingjay, but I don’t know if I can make it all the way to book 5).
I will say that after 2/3 of the way through with no real connection to the world or main characters, the introduction of Ripred the Rat was a pleasant one. He really made the book and I took to him almost immediately. It’s always the cranky, sarcastic, cruel ones I grow to love the most.
Speaking of rats, I think another reason I took so long in caring about the book was all the talking animals. I don’t usually go for that (Narnia excluded, of course), so it took awhile before I got used to it.
I do hear such great things about this series so I will attempt to read them all…but if Ripred dies in book 3 or something I might just go ahead and give up.
If you had a half-decent time reading the Percy Jackson books, you’ll enjoy this as well. I just hope multiple books provide multiple opportunities for character growth, especially for the hero. (less)
A fun little series. Four stars because I gobbled it up in the 9th grade. The writing is kinda "meh", but overall it's got some heart. (And vampire ba...more A fun little series. Four stars because I gobbled it up in the 9th grade. The writing is kinda "meh", but overall it's got some heart. (And vampire battles! And freak shows! And creepiness galore!)
Yeah, you really don't need a longer review than that. Are you fourteen? No? Ok, maybe move on.
I give this series a very high "3". The writing is blah and the characters are nothing too special, but ohemgee do I love Greek mythology and turn a b...more I give this series a very high "3". The writing is blah and the characters are nothing too special, but ohemgee do I love Greek mythology and turn a blind eye to the weak stuff.
(The sad thing is that the movie managed to butcher the already-not-fantastic source material and digress to something genuinely awful and totally unimaginative.) (less)