Another reread review. Howl's Moving Castle isn't one of the books I go back to again and again, partially because I haven't owned it that long. I saw the movie first, which has rapidly become one of the movies I put on whenever I'm sad or bored or just need a pick-me-up. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it because I've seen it so many times. However, reading the book again reminds me of how limited the movie is. There's so many subplots that just get cut out of the movie, so many that you wouldn't think that they could've fit into the relatively short book either. Michael's girlfriend, the Martha/Lettie switch, Wizard Suliman/Prince Justin, Miss Angorian, Howl's origins in Wales... The book and the movie are really entirely different entities, with different conflicts and different resolutions, although at the heart of the story there's still Sophie's artificial aging and Howl's contract with a fire demon.
Anyway, in terms of the book alone, I always find Diana Wynne Jones' writing very... quick. In that I can breeze through one of her books very quickly, and yet there is a lot in there. In a way, one could wish for more world building, but for an easy-to-read fun book I think she's got it down quite well. I like the POV of the book, which is third person limited. Sophie's head is quite a fun place to be, really. The chapter titles are a particular favourite thing, too, for example, "In which Howl expresses his feelings with green slime".
One could complain that there's not that much development in the Howl-and-Sophie relationship. Reading the book, I didn't really get how they were going to get together in the end. But somehow the ending made me squeal, anyway, so that's alright.
I can't really explain how I feel about this book. It's fun to read and I enjoy it, but sometimes I feel it's lacking some development or world-building, or some final piece of plot, that would make me wave it around and declare it one of the best books ever.