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Howl's Moving Castle

(Howl's Moving Castle #1)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  286,774 ratings  ·  22,700 reviews
Diana Wynne Jones's entrancing, classic fantasy novel is filled with surprises at every turn.

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 a
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Greenwillow Books (first published April 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)
Mai Ke I think the brown Colour fits better with the beginning of the Book and the Film. If he made her too beautiful and special from the start, he couldn't…moreI think the brown Colour fits better with the beginning of the Book and the Film. If he made her too beautiful and special from the start, he couldn't show the progress. In the Book you read what Sophie thinks of herself, and you tend to forget she is in Reality quite pretty. In the Film you see her the whole time, so he had to show this another way.(less)

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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.
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
Mark Lawrence
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this to my daughter, Celyn (10 at the time), who is too disabled to read books by herself.

I had seen some of the anime film version years ago but remembered basically nothing of it.

I found the whole thing original and refreshing. The point of view character (Sophie) is engaging and no-nonsense with a very capable can-do attitude. The story moves along at a good pace and the whole moving castle / multiple doors thing is a great idea and used well.

The Welsh connection is well-played, and th
Nov 09, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buddy reading this with Howl's Moving Castle fans helped me get more pumped up for the story. I enjoyed the whimsical atmosphere, the simple charm of the protagonist, and the quirkiness of Howl. As I got to the second half of the book though, it was hard to maintain interest due to not much happening. I think if it weren’t for me projecting the Miyazaki characters onto the text, I’m not sure if I would enjoy the book as much by itself. That being said, if there were more romance, I would have be ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came in expecting a novelization of the movie (one of my favorites), but what I got was even better.

Good news: The atmosphere and characterization is extremely similar to the Studio Ghibli film. I absolutely loved practical, stubborn Sophie and vain, dramatic Howl as well as the overall concept of the story. Those were the reasons I wanted to read the book in the first place, and luckily it delivered.

The book is simply more. We get more insight into Sophie and Howl's backstories and strong pe
Robin Hobb
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
There is, of course, a wonderful anime about this book, with the same title. But as is true of many, many books and movies, I found the experience of reading to be very different from that of viewing.

In my opinion, any movie based on a book is really a movie about one reader's reaction and interpretation of a book. In this case, it's an enjoyable one, but I felt that it missed many of the nuances of the story that made it such a great read.

I've yet to read a book by Diana Wynne Jones that did n
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I have to say I love Hayao Miyazaki's movie better because come on, it's an awesome movie. (Although, Spirited Away is my favorite movie)

There were some differences in the book but the movie was based off the book and it's not going to be the same. All that matters is they both were awesome and the author loved the movie too.

I absolutely love fantasy worlds that are way out there.

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐾🐺
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the most magical story I have ever read
Kat Kennedy
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle #1), Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle is a fantasy novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones, first published in 1986.

Howl's Moving Castle is the first novel in the series of books called the Howl Series. This series also includes Castle in the Air, published in 1990, and House of Many Ways, published in 2008.

A young woman named Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters living in the town of Market Chipping in the magical kingdom of Ingary, w
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Howl's Moving Castle, for whatever reason, totally failed to engage me the first time I read it several years ago, but it worked so much better the second time around. I really felt for Sophie, the main character, who feels so timid, trapped and hopeless that when she's (unfairly) hit with a curse that turns her from a young woman into an old crone, it actually frees her in more ways than one. She leaves her dead-end job in the village and, for lack of a better option, moves herself (without bot ...more
The first time I read this book was on a tiny phone screen in the scattered quiet minutes of a night shifts week. I loved it so much - I thought maybe partially because of sleep deprivation brain fuzziness that can give a good book the shimmer of that happy giddy feeling. But now I reread it with brain well-rested — and the magic still holds.

Sophie, the eldest of three sisters and therefore *clearly* doomed to failure, is an old soul. Enough of the old soul that, after unwittingly upsetting th
Hannah Azerang
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Quite different from the movie but no less fantastic.

Needless to say, I loved it.
Turns out that the movie was way different than the book. But that's okay, because I'm a Howl simp first, human second it was soo good! Very tempted to go watch it again.




Update: I put this and other Studio Ghibli movies on hold at my local library.
Now it's time to wait.


This book was so charming and wonderful, therefore I don't think I will ever be able to properly review it.
(That sentence took me 5 m
I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, so decided it was about time I just jump straight in. My deepest heart's desire was that I'd find the female-equivalent to Terry Pratchett, but sadly that is not the case.

It was written so well and Diana has an amazing imagination that makes Neil Gaiman look normal. But sadly the characters were flat and I felt nothing for any of them, though I think Howl was the most wonderfully developed of the lot. They were all a little bit "I'm only her
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones opens in a picturesque little village, in a country and a world where magic—gifts and curses, fairies and witches—are not just real, but taken for granted. The people around them manage to have almost tediously normal lives.

Our protagonist, Sophie Hatter, is the eldest of three sisters, so she knows her youngest sister will have luck and adventure while she herself will have a dull and obscure existence, probably as an old maid tending her father’s hat s
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such an enchanting story!
Kelsey (munnyreads)
“I hope your bacon burns.” 🔥
rare case of the movie being better than the book T__T
May 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

2020: read this beautifully illustrated edition to all three kids, who loved it. (Of course.) One of the best books of all time? Indeed.
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
I am so pleased to say I loved this book!

This was exactly what I needed to read right now. My year thus far has been full of more serious books with heavy content, but this was a perfect balance of fantastical and lighthearted.

Sophie and her two sisters work in a hat shop with only their stepmother for company since the unfortunate death of their father. Being the eldest of three, she has accepted that she is destined for a life of utter mediocrity.

When the infamous Witch of the Waste curses So
Nov 25, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars!

This was a fun and magical young adult fantasy about family, courage, and learning who you are. Howl's Moving Castle follows Sophie, a hat maker who is transformed into an old lady by the Witch of the Waste. To break the spell she makes a deal with a fire demon, has to deal with Howl, a heartless wizard and fight the Witch of the Waste. During her journey she learns more about herself and discovers that Howl is a nice person.

This book was so good!! The world building was awesome, I l
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
After finishing Howl's Moving Castle I immediately Googled “Diana Wynne Jones” to see how many more books in this series I can look forward to. The first thing I noticed was
“Died: March 26, 2011”. My reaction was “WTF? And we are just getting acquainted!”

The book starts off charmingly with:
“In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.”

This misfortune falls on 18-year-old Sophie
Rereading this book was just as wonderful as experiencing it for the first time, if not even more so. While I’ve loved the Miyazaki movie for well over a decade, I only first read this book in 2017, though I dearly wish I had read it sooner. Wynne Jones is an absolute treasure, as I should have known from Neil Gaiman recommending her every chance he gets. Below is the review I wrote in 2017, and I stand by everything I wrote then.

I adore middle grade fantasy fiction. The Lion, the Witch, and the
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. ...more
Spencer Orey
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mg-fantasy
This was awesome. It's delightful, thoughtful, and funny. The language is fantastic, with tons of witty turns of phrase. I liked Sophie's down-to-business attitude and perspective a lot. There are fun crossovers with our world and endlessly refreshing magical mischief. And all the moving pieces come together in one sweeping ending, which, just wow.

I'm also not sure that this book could get published today. It's clearly middle grade but the character ages are all over the place. The main characte
Ahhhh, the wizard Howl... I mean THE WIZARD HOWL.. Drama Queen of drama queens.


This is such a delightful, entertaining, original and imaginative story. I have never read it as a kid, but I just loved it as an adult. I also happened to love Diana Wynne Jones's writing style: simple, powerful & competent, without fuss and there is definitely magic there, even though it not obvious at first sight (just like her heroine, Sophie).

“In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloa
monica kim
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i had such a lovely time reading this!
The book's vitality lies in it being a big jumble and a big Capernaum. It is full of life. Unbridled, savage, and wondrous urgency. I have not much flattering to say about Howl book 1, but what little I said, I meant every word. The book seems like its 330 pages were linked together by the words in a complex and fragile waltz.

Yet I give only 2 stars (see my rating system) to this book because of what it is, and because of what I am. I am a reader who does not take notes and who plows on most of
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Diana was born in London, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were teachers. When war was announced, shortly after her fifth birthday, she was evacuated to Wales, and thereafter moved several times, including periods in Coniston Water, in York, and back in London. In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked running an ed ...more

Other books in the series

Howl's Moving Castle (3 books)
  • Castle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2)
  • House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3)

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