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Howl's Moving Castle #3

House of Many Ways

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Charmain Baker is in over her head. Looking after Great-Uncle William's tiny cottage while he's ill should have been easy. But Great-Uncle William is better known as the Royal Wizard Norland, and his house bends space and time. Its single door leads to any number of places—the bedrooms, the kitchen, the caves under the mountains, the past, and the Royal Mansion, to name just a few.

By opening that door, Charmain has become responsible for not only the house, but for an extremely magical stray dog, a muddled young apprentice wizard, and a box of the king's most treasured documents. She has encountered a terrifying beast called a lubbock, irritated a clan of small blue creatures, and wound up smack in the middle of an urgent search. The king and his daughter are desperate to find the lost, fabled Elfgift—so desperate that they've even called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, can the Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer be far behind?

Of course, with that magical family involved, there's bound to be chaos—and unexpected revelations. No one will be more surprised than Charmain by what Howl and Sophie discover.

404 pages, Hardcover

First published June 1, 2008

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About the author

Diana Wynne Jones

154 books10k followers
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 educational conference centre. There, Jones and her two younger sisters Isobel (later Professor Isobel Armstrong, the literary critic) and Ursula (later an actress and a children's writer) spent a childhood left chiefly to their own devices. After attending the Friends School Saffron Walden, she studied English at St Anne's College in Oxford, where she attended lectures by both C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien before graduating in 1956. In the same year she married John Burrow, a scholar of medieval literature, with whom she had three sons, Richard, Michael and Colin. After a brief period in London, in 1957 the couple returned to Oxford, where they stayed until moving to Bristol in 1976.

According to her autobiography, Jones decided she was an atheist when she was a child.

Jones started writing during the mid-1960s "mostly to keep my sanity", when the youngest of her three children was about two years old and the family lived in a house owned by an Oxford college. Beside the children, she felt harried by the crises of adults in the household: a sick husband, a mother-in-law, a sister, and a friend with daughter. Her first book was a novel for adults published by Macmillan in 1970, entitled Changeover. It originated as the British Empire was divesting colonies; she recalled in 2004 that it had "seemed like every month, we would hear that yet another small island or tiny country had been granted independence."Changeover is set in a fictional African colony during transition, and begins as a memo about the problem of how to "mark changeover" ceremonially is misunderstood to be about the threat of a terrorist named Mark Changeover. It is a farce with a large cast of characters, featuring government, police, and army bureaucracies; sex, politics, and news. In 1965, when Rhodesia declared independence unilaterally (one of the last colonies and not tiny), "I felt as if the book were coming true as I wrote it."

Jones' books range from amusing slapstick situations to sharp social observation (Changeover is both), to witty parody of literary forms. Foremost amongst the latter are The Tough Guide To Fantasyland, and its fictional companion-pieces Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998) and Year of the Griffin (2000), which provide a merciless (though not unaffectionate) critique of formulaic sword-and-sorcery epics.

The Harry Potter books are frequently compared to the works of Diana Wynne Jones. Many of her earlier children's books were out of print in recent years, but have now been re-issued for the young audience whose interest in fantasy and reading was spurred by Harry Potter.

Jones' works are also compared to those of Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman. She was friends with both McKinley and Gaiman, and Jones and Gaiman are fans of each other's work; she dedicated her 1993 novel Hexwood to him after something he said in conversation inspired a key part of the plot. Gaiman had already dedicated his 1991 four-part comic book mini-series The Books of Magic to "four witches", of whom Jones was one.

For Charmed Life, the first Chrestomanci novel, Jones won the 1978 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime award by The Guardian newspaper that is judged by a panel of children's writers. Three times she was a commended runner-up[a] for the Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book: for Dogsbody (1975), Charmed Life (1977), and the fourth Chrestomanci book The Lives of Christopher Chant (1988). She won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, children's section, in 1996 for The Crown of Dalemark.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,985 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 74 books50.5k followers
November 6, 2022
I've now read the trilogy to Celyn and all three books are very good. Books 2 and 3 don't quite reach the highs of Howl's Moving Castle for me, but they're great stories to read to an 11 year old (I should note here that Celyn is severely disabled and can't read for herself).

The book was written 18 years after book 2, 22 years after book 1, and 3 years before the author's death. Despite that the feel of the thing is quite in keeping with the earlier instalments.

Once again we start with a new person and a new part of the world, with Sophie and Howl worked in tangentially about half way through the book.

Our protagonist is a young lady called Charmain who is roped into looking after her great aunt's great uncle's house while he's off being treated for some illness. The great uncle is a wizard, the house has ... many ways.

Much of the first half of the story concerns figuring out how to navigate and use the wizard's house. Charmain plunders the spell books and is joined by a boy sent to apprentice to the wizard. The plot, however, concerns the king of High Norland and his troubles, both financial and with his rather unpleasant heir. Sophie and Howl are brought in to help - their story entwines Charmain's and fun ensues.

It's a good and imaginative tale with moments of humour. I'm pleased to report that it doesn't repeat the formula of the first two books wherein a whole bunch of people/things turn out to be completely different people/things in the magical equivalent of pulling off the masks at the end of a Scooby Doo episode.

The only big surprise for me was that a baddie whose crimes seemed relatively mild is killed out of hand by our heroes toward the end. That didn't quite fit the mood music. Apart from that - a fun installment and a trilogy definitely worth buying for your 8 to 12 year olds.



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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.6k followers
October 15, 2020
House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3), Diana Wynne Jones

House of Many Ways is a young adult fantasy novel written by Diana Wynne Jones.

The story is set in the same world as Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air. Charmain Baker has led a respectable, and relaxing sheltered life.

She has spent her days with her nose in a book, never learning how to do even the smallest household chores. When she suddenly ends up looking after the tiny cottage of her ill Great-Uncle William she seems happy for the adventure, but the easy task of house-sitting is complicated by the fact that Great-Uncle William is also the Royal Wizard Norland and his magical house bends space and time.

Though she is supposed to clean up the mess William has left the house in, Charmain knows next to nothing about magic, and yet she seems to work it in the most unexpected way.

The house's single door can lead to almost any place – from other rooms like the kitchen, to faraway places like the Royal Palace, and even other time periods.

In her first days in the magical house she ends up looking after a magical stray dog named Waif, encounters a horrible lubbock, has to share a roof with a confused young apprentice wizard named Peter, tries to work some spells from William's library, and deals with a clan of small blue creatures called Kobolds.

When Charmain is caught up in an intense royal search to remedy the kingdom's financial troubles, she encounters Sophie Pendragon, her son Morgan, a beautiful child named Twinkle, and their fire demon Calcifer.

One of the messes Twinkle gets Charmain into results in Twinkle climbing onto the roof of the Royal Mansion. She is soon involved in curing the kingdom of its ills and rediscovering the long-lost Elfgift.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفدهم ماه نوامبر سال 2012میلادی

عنوان: خانه ی هزار تو: جلد سوم از قلعه متحرک هاول؛ نوشته: دایانا واین جونز؛ مترجم: شراره صدیق؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، کتابسرای تندیس، 1390، در 248ص، شابک 9786001820328؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 21م

شارمین بیکرد؛ در دردسر بزرگی افتاده است؛ نخست مراقبت از کلیه ی کوچک «عمو ویلیام»، کار ساده ای به نظر میرسید؛ «عمو ویلیام»، جادوگر سطلنتی «نورلند»، در خانه ای زندگی میکرد، که در آنجا، زمان، و مکان، معنی نداشت؛ درب آن خانه، به صدها مکان مختلف، باز میشود، اتاق خوابها، آشپرخانه، غارهای زیر کوهستان، ... ؛جتی به گذشته! «شارمین»، برای یافتنِ پاسخ معمای سلطنتی، با جادوگری به نام «سوفی»، دیدار میکند؛ و ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 23/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Nic.
1,572 reviews59 followers
December 8, 2010
First of all, I should note that Diana Wynne Jones is my favorite author. You're unlikely to find any of her books getting fewer than four stars from me.

That said, I loved this book less than a number of her others. (That, ladies and gentlemen, is the closest I come to criticizing DWJ.) To be fair, it was billed as "The sequel to Howl's Moving Castle," which is my favorite book in the world, so my hopes and, to an extent, my expectations, were high. And in all of the usual ways - neat and relatable characters and setting, humor, and putting into words things that make me go "oh yeah, I know just what you mean!" (see "relatable characters") - the book delivers, even before (squeal!) Howl shows up. However, I did have a few little issues, so I'll go ahead and talk about those.

Most of my issues lie with the protagonist. First of all, Charmain is kind of grumpy and useless. That sounds harsh. By "useless" I mean that her parents spoiled her and kind of didn't give her the opportunity to learn anything, so she knows how to do very little. When I say "grumpy," though, I mean exactly that. She gets mad at almost everyone, sometimes for no good reason - especially Peter. Frankly, I found Peter to be a more engaging character - more capable, nicer, and much more active. I would have liked to see some parts from his point of view.

I think my problems with Charmain boil down to two. First, while she is obviously a "I'm going to grow and change and become a better person" character, I don't feel she really gets beyond the "admitting you have a problem" phase. She does that quite early - specifically, realize that she isn't a kind person - but when she seems to make no progress toward becoming kinder, her continued realizations of the fact seem more like a reminder that gee, yeah, our protagonist is not that nice. She's not mean per se, just cranky and sometimes a bit uncaring about others. There's a point later in the book when she seems to decide that she does want to be nice, even going so far as to assure herself that she will be kind to Peter when next she sees him. When she does see him, though, she fails to be nice to him (is extremely grumpy, actually), feels bad about it, and never seems to try again.

I feel like this really hinders her relationship with Peter. In Howl's Moving Castle (you had to know I'd compare them sooner or later), you get the sort of strange-bedfellows thing with the characters living in the castle, but they become sort of a weird, adorable family. Charmain never seems to really care much about Peter, despite the fact that he is nice and they actually have a fair amount in common. I was waiting for them to become friends - and I'm not talking about romance, just some mutual care for each other's wellbeing! - but they continue to just sort of be two people who live in one house. If anything, Charmain resents Peter for making her do her share of the household work. At the end, by which time I expected them to have gotten past their differences, Peter goes missing for over a day and Charmain doesn't seem to care. Likewise, when he turns up just in time for everyone to learn he is heir to the throne, Charmain has no reaction whatsoever. This could have been an exciting and satisfying moment, but I didn't get a chance to feel much because, while I kind of care about Peter, the story immediately passed by what happened to him because Charmain didn't seem to even notice.

I should temper this by saying that Charmain does, on the whole, tend to do the right thing. She is occasionally heroic and sometimes even a little nicer than she maybe gives herself credit for. I just expected more personal growth and improvement than she has.

The other thing is that - and I almost can't believe I would say this - Charmain is too much of a reader. I suspect DWJ is hearkening back to her own childhood habits in creating the character, but here's the thing: I was a massive reader as a kid, but I was more active than Charmain. Picture this: you, who have never been exposed to magic before, are put in charge of a kindly wizard's magical house while he is away and allowed to explore as you like. But you don't! Instead, you get exactly as far as the library, then spend lots of time lounging around reading and getting annoyed when Peter shows up with exciting discoveries gleaned from his explorations. (Wonder why I wanted to read more about him . . . ?) In addition to this, Charmain uses reading as an escape from really serious situations, such as thinking that Calcifer might be dead. "Should I tell his friends? Should I go see if I can find out whether he actually did die saving us all?" (Both of these questions are, in fact, asked.) "No! I should read a book." It's not even as if there's one really good book - she would rather read almost any book than deal with real life, even and especially when things around her start to get really interesting. I understand as well as anybody and more than many that some kids - some people - some characters, will be readers. This does not make reading a book an interesting activity to read about, nor does it make me sympathize with a character who would rather read than do awesome stuff that I, an avid reader, would love to do.

The only other thing the book does is something I don't really dislike, but am a little iffy on sometimes, and which DWJ does often: it ties a thousand plotlines and plot bits into a neat little magically-enhanced bow in the very last few pages. Many of her books that I love do this, but the ones I love most do it least. (Deep Secret, Charmed Life, Conrad's Fate, Archer's Goon , and - let me think - Howl's Moving Castle - all end a bit more gracefully, I think.) There's no wind-down from the magic-romping-everywhere climax. All of the plot conclusions are planned out and supported, but discoveries are mostly not strung through the book, or even the second half or last sixth or anything of the book - they all come in the last three or five or so of four hundred pages. It's not occurrences (ex. the defeat of the lubbockins, William Norland's arrival, Peter's return) that get me so much as realizations and decisions. Waif is the Elfgift! She's going to have Elfgift puppies! Charmain is the Elfgift Guardian! She'll have to come learn magic and work in the library just like she always wanted to! Peter's mother is the King's niece! Peter is next in line for the throne! It's not that I think this stuff is too convenient, especially as it's a YA book, and I loved convenient coincidences and neat little outcomes when I was younger and kind of still do. It's just that suddenly every other sentence is answering a question or solving a problem that had been hovering around for much of the book. Is all. As I say, this actually doesn't bother me all that much.

Hopefully this doesn't all sound too rough. Keep in mind my sky-high standards for DWJ books.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for human.
628 reviews933 followers
December 19, 2020


I'm incredibly surprised. I didn't like this book! I LOVED the first book, almost-loved the second one, and was mostly disappointed by this one. Everything that I enjoyed in the first two books was... gone. I have no clue where all the funny banter and character development went, but it certainly isn't here.

The main character, Charmain, was very annoying and unlikeable. I got the feeling that the author purposely set her up as the token privileged, rich, and spoilt kid, and was probably going for some sort of coming-of-age arc, but I wasn't feeling it. Instead, what I got was pages and pages filled with Charmain and Peter washing the dishes and doing laundry. Who even wants to read about that? This isn't to forget that while Peter seems like a fellow protagonist, he's less developed than a side-character.

The world-building was alright, I guess, but I'm chalking that up to the fact that it was already mostly established in the previous two books. There was no character development to speak of, and while the plot was good in some places, it just wasn't as good.

I'm really sad right now because this book was even more of a disappointment than me there's no more books with Howl. (Not that even he could save this trainwreck.)

Profile Image for Erin.
231 reviews103 followers
December 7, 2011
Well, I feel a lot of guilt for giving the final chapter of the Castle series a measley 2 stars, but it is what it is.

The magic was pretty boring, consisting of water pipes heating up/cooling down, food appearing when you say "Breakfast, please!", and doorways that lead to many places depending on which direction you turn. Whoop-dee-doo.

The plot was so, so slow-moving. And predictable. Maybe if it had just been one or the other I would have been more satisfied, but slow-moving and predictable? Yikes. There was only one surprise at the end-- which I'd been preparing myself for since DWJ likes to save all the twists for the last chapter-- but it was barely dealt with and never hinted at prior to its reveal, which made me wonder if it was just an afterthought.

One great thing that I can always count on Diana for, though, is to draw excellent characters. They're not always likable (and in this case... not even a little bit likable), but they're always consistent and interesting. Charmain was definitely consistent; I don't know about interesting. She was too much of a lazy tool for me to really find interesting. Also, minor quibble: I thought her age was really ambiguous. It was probably mentioned at the very beginning but it was never reinforced, so I forgot how old she was. Turns out she was 13, which sounds about right. What a brat.

This series is the only thing by DWJ that I've ever read, but it makes me wonder about what she thinks a good female character is. Charmain and Sophie were surprisingly similar, although Sophie was much more likable. Both are kind of jerks, but Sophie is at least a lovable jerk. Charmain just.... ugh.

So, here's a quick attempt at summing up the plot. Charmain goes to her Great-Uncle's house while he's being restored to health for a few weeks. Oh, and he's a wizard with a magical house, and the health restoration thing is being taken care of by elves. It took me awhile to place the setting, because it seems very modern/our world, but it's still set in the same universe as the other two books. While Charmain is settling in, she has a run-in with an evil creature called a lubbock (who is the villian for the whole book) and is annoyed by the presence of Peter, a magically-challenged apprentice waiting for her Great-Uncle to come back. I wanted Peter to be the tween version of a love interest so I'd have SOMETHING to distract me from the obvious plot . There's also some stuff going on about finding a mysterious object called the "Elfgift" that will save the kingdom, and of course it was blindingly obvious what exactly the Elfgift was. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

Sadly, this one felt like a children's book in a bad way. The first two were appealing to kids while still remaining clever and accessible to my age group.

The second book in this series,Castle in the Air, remains my favorite. I highly recommend that one. Just thinking of Abdullah makes me feel weepy and nostalgic...

(The guilt for giving 2 stars has not gone away yet.)
July 22, 2019
“I can't wear thethe! I want my thtwipey oneth!”



This series had its issues from the beginning, but I was intrigued enough by the second book (by far my favourite of the three) to try and read the third volume. It didn't work for me. In my opinion, these books, and especially this last one, have two major issues: a certain lack of cohesiveness in the plot and, mostly annoyingly, extremely unlikable characters.

I remember even when I watched the anime Howl's moving castle that even though I am the biggest Miyazaki's fan, I found issues in the movie related to the weird behaviour of the characters. The female protagonists, in particular, are all emotionally unstable and appear to be always pouting for some reason; complaining about everything but at the same time weak and unable to stand for themselves. They are incapable of real affection, and are constantly humiliating their male counterparts. Really, sometimes their casual nastiness is just absurd! In this one, for example, the protagonist thinks she's saying something nice to her dog when she comments "losing it would make me even sadder than losing you". I mean, do you think it's nice to tell someone that they are less important than someone else, whoever that is??

I lost all interest in this book about one third into it, but I decided to go on in order to finish the series. I am quite disappointed that this didn't work for me, and I was hopeful until the end. If I had to give a rating to the series as a whole, it wouldn't be more than 2 stars. Very disappointing!


Profile Image for Katerina  Kondrenko.
498 reviews825 followers
November 2, 2016
9.8 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog
Living A Thousand Lives
(please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Short-Soundtrack:
Second Suspense – Wonders of Life

Genre: fairytale, fantasy
Stuff: magic house, royal mystery, young wizards
WOW: characters, plot, humor
POV: 3rd person, female
Love-Geometry: none

Quote-Core:
“You don't need to be nasty to make a mess.”

This series is the best ageless masterpiece I've read this year! Diana Wynne Jones is a word-artist: she builds her worlds, characters and atmospheres with letters and syllables making them multilayered, bright and palpable. When I open her books I'm lost for the world outside and I'm full of inexplicable joy. I had the same emotions on the eve of New Year of my birthday when I was a child and thought I'd never experience them again.

House of Many Ways is a story about a girl named Charmain whose granddad (and a wizard) is ill and she has to take care of his house while he's away. She's delighted! No more notations of her mom and a lot of freedom for reading and maybe for attending the Royal Library (Charmain is eager to help His Majesty with cataloging). But after arriving to her grandpa's house she gets that this place is magical, there are so many passageways, rooms and halls in this seemingly small building, that if you'd take a wrong turn you may end up in a very surprising location. And that's not only problem of Charmain. The house is very dirty (the wizard has been ill for a while and couldn't take care of it), plus soon her granddad's apprentice Peter arrives having no idea that his master is not at home. And there is a dog: tiny, cute and unusual.


(c) anivarc

All in all, Charmain life becomes anything but normal. She and readers are up for adventures and a search for important answers. Who steals royal money? What does Elfgift mean and how it looks like? Does Charmain have magic or not? Will Peter learn where's left and where's right? xD And so on.

In House of Many Ways we'll also meet with Howl, Sophie and Co.


(c) taka0801

Plus a few characters from the book #2. I love when everything is entwined and fit together. I love when authors remember every detail or hero of their stories and know what to use, where and how. I was laughing SO hard at the twists in this part of the series. Diana Wynne Jones has a great sense of humor and she's a queen of hilarious situations.

Once again Russian translation didn't let me down. Once again I can't say anything not to spoil you even a bit. But be ready for some gruesome details in addition to the funny ones. The author know no mercy for insects haters xDD

I wish Diana Wynne Jones wrote a few more book in this world. I refuse to let go of Howl. I even started to read fanfics! Who knew that I'd fall for a children series when I'll be 27 year-old? Now you have to read all the three installments as well and join my crazy we're-old-but-who-cares club too. Come here, we have cookies and Calcifer.

Howl's Moving Castle (Ходячий замок):
Howl's Moving Castle (Ходячий замок) #1/3
Castle in the Air (Воздушный замок) #2/3
House of Many Ways (Дом с характером) #3/3
Profile Image for Toni.
515 reviews
February 3, 2018
I loved this series! The first one was so different from anything I had expected. I loved the characters: Sophie with her no-nonsense attitude to cleaning and motherly patience in putting together Howl's suit, Calcifer, Howl, the castle itself. Who can forget Sophie's enchanting hats and chasing a star for a spell. I loved the second book with its 1000 nights Arabian atmosphere. The third one had its own delights- aren't we all a bit like Charmain who NEEDS to read a book whenever she is happy or upset, puzzled, challenged or plain tired. And wouldn't we all want a house like this with a Morning coffee and Afternoon tea. On second thoughts, I'd bring my washing machine-delightful as it sounded the laundry process seemed a tiny bit on the tiring side.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,801 reviews352 followers
March 2, 2018
“House of Many Ways” is Jones’ third novel featuring Howl and Sophie, following “Howl’s Moving Castle” from 1986 (also a movie adaptation made by Hayao Miyazaki in 2004) and “Castle in the Air” from 1990. Although all of these novels stand alone very nicely, certain nuances of the story will make more sense if you read the novels in sequence. Certain characters’ cameo appearances will also be more satisfying with the background afforded by reading all three novels.

This particular story starts in High Norland with Charmain Baker. Born to lovely parents determined to make their daughter respectable, Charmain is ill equipped for almost everything besides eating and reading—a fact that has escaped the notice of her parents and doesn’t much bother Charmain.

The only problem with her tame existence is that Charmain is unable to do the one thing she has always, desperately, wanted to do: work in the royal library with the elderly Princess Hilda and her even more elderly father, the king of High Norland.

As part of her plan to gain entry to the library, Charmain agrees to watch the royal wizard’s house while he undergoes treatment from elves for a mysterious illness. Upon her arrival at the house, it becomes clear that this house-sitting venture will be more than Charmain had expected what with the angry kobolds and the sudden arrival of the wizard’s new apprentice, Peter. It may, however, also be exactly what she needs.

There are a lot of reasons that I like this book and its predecessors in the series. Diana Wynne Jones has a particularly charming writing style that is both cozy and engaging. There is something decidedly old fashioned about the prose, ranging from the chapter titles reminiscent of those found in E. M. Forster’s “A Room With a View” to the swift and casual narration so similar to the voice Jane Austen favored in her novels. At the same time, amazingly, Jones integrates elements of the fantastic like magic and wizards and elves without ever seeming outlandish or contrived.

“House of Many Ways” is a particularly appealing title, by an already well-liked artist. First and foremost, for obvious reasons, I like that Charmain is a bookish character who wants to work in a library. The other characters that populate this novel, including some from both “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Castle in the Air,” are original and appealing though not by any means perfect.

Even Charmain, the novel’s heroine, has moments where she is quite mistaken about a variety of things. Happily, never long enough to become problematic for readers. At the same time, it is refreshing that Charmain is utterly useless despite her being so well read. When she arrives at the wizard’s house she cannot cook, wash clothes, or do many other things that most people take for granted.

This story is about magic and a fair bit of adventure. But it is also about what every college senior has to think about sooner or later: being an adult. As the novel progresses, Charmain learns about more than books and magic, she learns how to grow up and take care of herself, even when that means admitting she might need some help.

You can find this review and more on my blog Miss Print
Profile Image for Rebecca Schneider.
673 reviews28 followers
July 13, 2008
I really enjoyed reading this book. The writing was excellent, and it was certainly almost a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, although calling it the sequel is perhaps unfair to Castle in the Sky.

Vague spoilers follow:

It did rather fail as a traditional novel for two reasons. First, there was nothing much holding it together thematically. Charmain's character development was interesting and coherent, but it had no real bearing on the endgame of the plot, beyond the fact that it allowed her to be in the right places at the right time. And all the other plot things that were going on were interesting in their own right, but their relationships to one another were questionable. Really, the story had all the randomness of real life, but this made it less of a story.

Secondly and relatedly, the plot was undermined by the fact that one of the characters was, of course, Howl, and the bad guys could not possibly be any match for him. Once certain facts were established and certain events unfolded, he simply saved the day. This is totally realistic, but again, makes the story feel less important. Califer's part in saving everyone did add some tension, but not enough. Ultimately the plot and tension would have been enough for, say, an episode of a television series, where an interesting premise need not be accompanied by really high stakes, but it didn't feel like a fully-formed standalone novel.

However, I still entirely enjoyed reading it. Sure, tightly-constructed, high-stakes novels are ultimately preferable, but if DWJ wants to publish fun little stories like this one involving everyone's favorite foppish wizard, I'm not complaining.
Profile Image for Mari.
698 reviews4,315 followers
November 29, 2019

I loved this! After I was a little let down by Castle in the Air, I dragged me feet a bit on starting this one, but it was worlds better. I think the first might always be my favorite (predictable), but this one is truly just as good. It captures the same energy and in Charmain, we have a similar character and set-up to Sophie in the first book, but not so similar that it feels like a copy/paste. Charmain certainly is her own bit of grouchy, but honestly, who among us haven't been annoyed because our reading was interrupted? She's the lazy reader after my own heart.

The story itself is full of magic and whimsy and a new, enchanting setting to discover through all its passages and rooms. I wished we would've gotten to know Peter a bit more and honestly, the end left me wanting to hear the WHAT NEXT. Overall, a lovely little trilogy and something that will certainly go into the rotation of my comfort reads.
Profile Image for Roma (Taylor's version).
245 reviews92 followers
Read
May 29, 2022


Remember Michael?
The plot twists at the end are not that exciting and/ or as clever as they were in Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air.
I had a good time. But it wasn't my favorite.
Profile Image for Genevieve.
187 reviews41 followers
September 8, 2008
To me this reads rather like Diana Wynne Jones trying to write a book that would translate perfectly into a Hayao Miyazaki movie. This sets it apart from Howl's Moving Castle , which was mutlilated in the process of being turned into a Miyazaki film. The hyperkinetic, overstuffed and underexplained action of the latter third or so; the surreal, dreamlike beauty of certain scenes; some bizarrely cute flourishes (like Waif); the frilly Anglo touches (Afternoon Tea, crumpets); the out-of-the-blue appearances of certain characters...

There are many good bits in House of Many Ways, particularly the house itself and the interactions between Charmain and Peter; their travails with domestic tasks and exploration of the house are often very funny and entertaining. But as a whole the novel suffers from too much action and not enough atmosphere or character development; and parts of the world-building feel sloppy and ill-thought-out. (Why are there elves, for instance?) Too many easy outs in the plot, an overly breakneck pace, and a lack of moral complexity (formerly a DWJ signature) make House of Many Ways, while enjoyable, ultimately unsatisfying.
Profile Image for Timothy Urgest.
469 reviews258 followers
June 8, 2018
Diana Wynne Jones provides a sense of wonder that sets me on a path to a good mood.

House of Many Ways is a great end to the series. Charmain is tasked with watching her great-uncle’s house while he is away. Turns out he is a wizard whose house is not what it appears to be. Whimsy and adventures abound.
Profile Image for mylibraryofdreams.
556 reviews134 followers
March 24, 2021
Der dritte und letzte Band der Howl Saga!
Ich habe mich sehr darauf gefreut, weil mir der Klappentext so zugesagt hatte und ich einfach die Welt von Howl und Sophie so mag. Ausserdem finde ich den Schreibstil der Autorin grossartig und sehr unterhaltsam. Die Priese Wortwitz und der Sarkasmus sind einfach total toll.
Dieses mal erleben wir das magische Abenteuer von Charmain, aber unsere Freunde aus den ersten zwei Bänder kommen auch vor. Das hat mich sehr gefreut. Besonders Calcifer, den ich wirklich sehr ins Herz geschlossen habe.
Das Haus der tausend Räume kommt leider aber nicht an Band eins heran, war aber trotzdem gewohnt schräg und ulkig zum lesen! Das Ende hätte für mich noch etwas mehr sein können. Schade ist die Reihe nun vorbei, ich hätte gerne noch mehr von Howl, Calcifer und Sophie gelesen.
Profile Image for Anastasiia Petrovska.
40 reviews7 followers
August 5, 2021
Добра казка для дітей, де є родичі чарівники, дивовижний будинок, пошук "скарбів" та лиходії, яких треба перемогти. Книга однозначно більше сподобалась ніж "Повітряний замок", але точно не може досягти рівня мого улюбленого "Мандрівного замку Хаула"😍
Profile Image for ☠tsukino☠.
1,169 reviews129 followers
January 20, 2019
Sono contenta di aver letto questa serie!
All'inizio ero restia pensandola troppo da "bambini" e per certi aspetti è così.
Questa saga ha però "parlato" meravigliosamente alla mia parte ancora bambina (che spero duri a lungo) che ha apprezzato.
Non ho un libro preferito. Ogni volume ha un qualcosa tutto suo che me lo fa piacere come gli altri e tutti hanno avuto la capacità di mettermi di buon umore (anche se Il castello errante di Howl ha un fascino particolare per merito anche di Miyazaki).
Questo in particolare è riuscito anche a turbarmi (turbare forse è un'esagerazione ^^). Mi riferisco alla
Profile Image for Lectora Empedernida.
118 reviews144 followers
May 5, 2020
2 🌟

A diferencia de los dos anteriores de la trilogía de Howl este tomo no me ha convencido. Conocemos a Charmain, una adolescente algo mimada y que prácticamente lo único que hace es comer y leer libros, que es enviada a cuidar la casa de un tío abuelo mago que estará ausente un tiempo (aunque a ella nunca se le ha enseñado ningún tipo de tarea doméstica). Cuando llega a la casa se da cuenta de que es una casa especial, llena de salas que a simple vista es imposible que estén allí, pero que cogiendo los pasillos con una dirección concreta van apareciendo. En la casa también vive Waif, un perrito un tanto especial, y llega Peter, un aprendiz de mago que está dispuesto a ser el mejor alumno del tío abuelo de Charmain y que se lleva una sorpresa al enterarse de que no está. Entre los tres irán descubriendo poco a poco los secretos y los trucos que hay en la casa. A la vez, Charmain es llamada para ordenar la biblioteca del rey (algo que ella misma solicitó) y que le llevará a inmiscuirse en la misión de resolver enigmas que necesitan respuesta. Allí conocerá a Sophie, a Calcifer, a Morgan y a un tal Twinkley... que están ayudando al rey a descubrir a dónde va todo el oro que le desaparece. Todo se complica y se descubrirán planes siniestros contra el rey y contra toda la ciudad de High Norland.

Es una historia que tiene elementos atractivos: magia, una historia de reyes y princesas malignos, seres mágicos chulis como los magos, brujas o los kobolds y otros terroríficos como los lubbok, una casa que es un laberinto donde incluso hay cambios de tiempo (algunas salas están en el pasado), secretos, misiones por cumplir... Pero todo es como un barullo que no termina de cuajar, aunque el final se cierra relativamente bien y también tiene giros que sorprenden, no compensa lo anterior. Encima a la protagonista le he tenido bastante tirria durante todo el tiempo. Y he de decir que en algunas partes estaba ya leyendo por leer, por no quedarme sin saber cómo acababa, pero poco más.

Quizás a otros les guste más esta historia, yo puedo decir que me ha resultado entretenida en algunas partes, que los elementos de base son atractivos pero bajo mi punto de vista no está del todo explotada la trama. Así que no me ha gustado como para llegar a las 3 estrellas. Es una lectura que si no la hubiese hecho tampoco consideraría que me he perdido algo.
Profile Image for Celeste.
871 reviews2,310 followers
May 7, 2022
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

I adore Howl’s Moving Castle, and decided for years to treat it as a standalone, for fear that no other installment would measure up. But then I read Castle in the Air, and was delighted to find that it was just as charmingly whimsical as the story that spawned it. So I went into House of Many Ways with understandably high hopes. Unfortunately, the trilogy ended on a bit of a low note. While this book wasn’t bad in any sense of the word, it simply didn’t live up to its predecessors.

I think my disappointment is in large part due to the fact that House of Many Waysdidn’t have a likable protagonist. While Charmaine Baker did grow throughout the course of the novel, she started out a bit insufferable and never found her way all the way out of it. She starts off spoiled, coddled, and lazy, never mind willfully ignorant when it comes to tasks she finds distasteful, and those traits are still definitely present by the story’s end. And our main side character, Peter, wasn’t much more likable. He had some work ethic, yes, but he was a world-class bumbler who never seemed to learn from his mistakes. Even the returning characters I love so much were irksome on occasion. My favorite character in the entire book was Waif. Who is a dog. And not even a talking one.

On paper, the idea behind the House of Many Ways itself was a fun one. However, it didn’t quite hold up in comparison to the Moving Castle that I’ve so grown to love. The House was meant to be confusing and unknowably vast, but sadly it also came across as vague in its construction. There’s something very concrete about Howl’s Castle, even though it’s mysterious and fantastical. The House of Many Ways didn’t share that trait, feeling unfortunately ephemeral and thus impossible to love as fully as the Castle. There were some wonderfully charming magical elements, but it ultimately felt two-dimensional next to the Castle.

While I wasn’t as enraptured by House of Many Ways as I had hoped I would be, I still loved Jones’s writing style and world building. There’s just something utterly delightful about her work, even when I have complaints. This series is one I would without hesitation press into the hands of any child who loves whimsy and is delighted by the fantastical. Or any adult who loves the same, and still has a soft spot for more innocent stories like are typically found in middle grade works. This final book might’ve been a bit of a let down in comparison to the first two in the trilogy, but it was still a fun story that I didn’t at all regret reading.
Profile Image for lucky little cat.
545 reviews100 followers
January 28, 2022
Works even better as a stand-alone. (Especially for folks like me who could never get through book #2 in the Howl’s Moving Castle series.)

Sample quote:
The Boke of Palimpsest was, for some reason, now open at "A Spell to Find Yourself a Handsome Prince." Charmain shook her head and closed the book. "Who needs a prince?" she said. She opened the book again, carefully at a different place. This page was headed "A Spell for Flying." "Oh yes!" Charmain said. "That's much more like it!" She put her glasses on and studied the list of ingredients.
Profile Image for Laura.
736 reviews266 followers
January 17, 2020
4.5 stars. This is my favorite of the Howl's Moving Castle series. It was written well after the first two books, and I feel sure she meant to continue this, with so many interesting new characters introduced. Unfortunately she's passed away, but she left us with so many great books. I'm so glad she was so prolific.

This is the story of a girl, Charmain, who is sent to look after her great-uncle, who happens to be a wizard. While there, she meets a dog and a young man, not to mention the wizard's house, which is a character all by itself. Charmain has been spoiled and smothered by her parents, but she experiences quite a lot of growth in the story and learns some important things that will change the trajectory of her life.

This is exactly what I was looking for: a magical, enchanting read, with interesting characters, a fascinating magical world, and humor, with almost no violence. And the great characters introduced in the first book, including Calcifer, my favorite, reappears in this one about halfway through. I need a whole slew of books just like this one. And the world does too. You do not need to be a child or be in middle school to enjoy these books. Not by a long way.

I love the way I am drawn in to a DWJ book immediately. I love the way she uses humor. I love how she can create an entire magical world that feels like I've always known it. I love the way I fall for her characters so effortlessly. She makes it look very easy, and it isn't.

The audiobooks for this series are all narrated by Jenny Sterlin. She is one of the best. For Calcifer, especially, she has the voice nailed. Her sardonic tone is perfect for the interactions between Charmain and Peter. She is perfect for this series, and I know I will be rereading and relistening to all of these books again one day.

If you ever find yourself in need of a magical escape, you can't go wrong with any book by Diana Wynne Jones. Thanks to my friend, Fiona, who has been pushing this series and this author on me for years. This may finally be my DWJ year. I'm determined to read many more of her novels. I'm very thankful there are so many.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,331 reviews451 followers
July 16, 2020
I checked out the wrong book. I really wish books in a series would be clearly labeled. I only want to read them in order. I'm chronological like that.

***

2011 December 21

My favorite of the Castle series. Charmain is a young woman I can strongly identify with, her desire to read and her ignorance of useful domestic skills. Of course she wants to work in a library. I liked the introduction of a male foil who didn't instantly become a romantic contender. I even loved Waif and I'm a fairly indifferent dog person. Oh, I love the whole thing from the tea table to the kobolds (and I couldn't help thinking of them as sober and industrious Wee Free Men). In some ways this house is even cooler than Howl's. Loved it. This is all just blathering, but it's hard to explain why a book appeals so strongly and is so satisfying to read. The best I can say is that every single element struck a chord and seemed just perfect within the story. And it's funny.

***

2020 July 12

Most writers ignore housework, which isn't surprising given the lack of respect or acknowledgment of all the work which goes into caring for people, keeping house, feeding and cleaning and shopping, etc. With all the usual options for child, adult, and eldercare closed, lots more people forced to spend all day, every day, at home, more people are becoming aware of how much this kind of work adds to quality of life and productivity for everyone.

So I am always pleased to see a realistic portrayal of that work, even, as in this case, in a traditional fantasy setting. What's really struck me in this reading though is that even in a fantasy setting the problem is solved by everyone doing their share, but on hiring the work of a smaller, cheaper race to do it. Bloody Rowling and her house elves, slaving away in basements dressed in rags or as here, a race that lives in caves and is only sometimes paid at considerably less than a fair wage. What the hell? Incredible magic abounds and girls get to star in the stories, which is lovely, but at the cost of exploiting someone else. Not fantastic.

Now I'm going to have to worry that there's a race of dejected beings scrubbing toilets on the Enterprise, rather than some cool self-cleaning technology. Because once I start to notice something like this, I can't stop.

Library copy.
Profile Image for Daniel Ramírez Colón.
54 reviews13 followers
June 27, 2019
Continuando en la misma línea de los anteriores, La casa de los mil pasillos es otra novela de fantasía maravillosa. Me ha gustado muchísimo, Diana Wynne Jones consigue engancharte a estas historias desde que comienzas su lectura.

La magia vuelve a ser la protagonista y encontrarte con unos personajes adorables que ya son bien conocidos de las anteriores entregas, conocer su progreso y como van evolucionando es simplemente encantador.

Cinco estrellas para toda la trilogía. Imprescindible para cualquier amante del género.
Profile Image for Exina.
1,182 reviews370 followers
October 19, 2013
Oh, my Gosh, what an awful, disappointing story! What antipathetic and helpless characters! I was extremely irritated by Chairmain and Peter. Even Sophie and Howl are annoying. The ‘lubbock’, this purple-hued insect, is ridiculous. Even the last action scene is lousy.

Though I liked Mr. Baker, the kobolds, and Calcifer, it is not enough even for two stars.
Profile Image for Robin Stevens.
Author 48 books2,026 followers
May 13, 2020
Another slightly odd book - there's a whole chapter where the characters just do the washing! - but again, even a middling DWJ story is still delightful. 8+

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
418 reviews455 followers
May 11, 2022
My least favourite of the series so far, this one dragged a bit and is most likely due the main character just not endearing herself to me.
Profile Image for Heidi.
756 reviews176 followers
October 19, 2012
Diana Wynne Jones may be my favorite author for those days when life seems altogether mundane. For those days when I need some magic and adventure, but I also need a helping of the charmingly flawed and stubbornly relatable. House of Many Ways, DWJ’s final book in her Howl series does just that. There’s something incredibly gratifying about having a go-to author whose books you can pick up in a time of need and know for certain that she’ll pull through for you. Returning to the world of Ingary, though this time in the neighboring country of High Norland, we get to fall in love all over again with a new cast and see more of our beloved Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer than we did in the previous installment, Castle in the Air. Not to mention, we get to see some great bits of the terrible tantrums of a wizarding toddler with Morgan, and welcome back Jamal and his dog who received a lovely position as a royal cook for the King of High Norland at the end of Book 2.

House of Many Ways is primarily a story about young Miss Charmain (not Charming–at least not with a good deal of work) who longs only to spend her days in the proper way–with her nose in a book. Through familial circumstances, she finds herself house sitting for her Great Uncle William, the royal wizard, and through even more unexpected circumstances finds herself in the company of Peter and Waif. Peter appears to be the magician’s apprentice who can never get a spell to go right, and Waif is the odd little stray dog who attaches herself firmly to Charmain’s side. Charmain finds it easy to brush off Peter and responsibility to seek employ in the royal library, where she soon finds herself wound up in the mysterious disappearance of the King’s gold, the strangers from Ingary who are determined to help, and the creepy Lubbock that lives in the meadow. When will one find time to pick up Memoirs of an Exorcist for a little light reading?

Charmain is the kind of cautionary tale any one of us avid readers can’t help but love. We all identify with a character who wants only to sit around and read all of the time, but we also realize how frustrating this can be when the world at large is attempting to have an adventure around us. We all must put the book down and roll up our sleeves at some point, but with laundry breeding in the kitchen and taps missing from the sink, this is hardly an exciting prospect. Charmain has been brought up to be “respectable” as her mother would have it–but as Peter says, it’s hardly respectable to not know how to do things. She’d argue that she’s neither lazy nor stupid, but that she just hasn’t bothered looking around the edges of her mother’s way of doing things. Charmain has an introspective state in which she is able to recognize her own faults, but hardly feels the need to rectify them. She really wants to be kind and not hard hearted, but it can be ever so difficult.

I have to admit, I do believe I like the House of Many Ways more than I like Howl’s Moving Castle. Not the book–the actual physical structure. The home of Charmain’s Great Uncle William is full of unexpected turns and surprises, with layers and passages that take one in all sorts of varied directions–even through time! To me, being able to reach all of these far strung places from my own home seems vastly more convenient than a castle that can be moved places…though I suppose one’s far less likely to get lost from Howl’s.

I just loved everything about House of Many Ways. I was completely charmed by Charmain, Peter, and Waif while still getting a good dose of past characters. The pacing was impeccable with never a dull moment, and there were magical surprises sprinkled throughout its entirety. There are truly calculating villains who don’t like crumpets,–who doesn’t like crumpets?–books that will happily adopt you, elves, kobolds, and an interesting family tree. What more could a reader ask for to convince them that even the mundane can be full of magic?

Original review posted at Bunbury in the Stacks.
Profile Image for hương quỳnh☀️.
217 reviews381 followers
April 22, 2020
Trong kệ sách của mình, chỉ có duy nhất một quyển sách (hay nói đúng hơn là 1 bộ sách) mình ko muốn chia sẻ cho ai ko phải vì nó dở mà vì mình quá yêu quý nó nên chỉ muốn giữ nó cho riêng mình. Vì mình biết nó có ý nghĩa vô cùng to lớn đối vs mình mà ko ai khác có thể cảm nhận dc, nó đơn giản như một phép màu với tuổi thơ của mình.

Quyển sách này là hồi kết cho câu chuyện đó, màu nhiệm vs các nhân vật ngộ nghĩnh, đi hết từ bất ngờ này tới bất ngờ khác, các tình tiết ăn khớp vs nhau thú vị, đôi chỗ rùng mình kinh tởm, nhưng chủ yếu là hài hước vui vẻ
Miếng hài của câu chuyện này tập trung chủ yếu ở Howl và gia đình, họ luôn là spotlight ở cả 3 phần truyện. Howl, Sophie, Calcifer và giờ lại thêm Morgan hễ cứ tụm lại là cãi cọ ầm ĩ, nhưng hình như họ hạnh phúc nhất theo cách đó

Tòa lâu đài của Howl là biểu tượng của phép thuật, của thế giới màu nhiệm mà mình luôn mơ tưởng đến vs tất cả sự yêu quý thân thương nhất. Những câu chuyện xoay quanh tòa lâu đài đó tạo nên tuổi thơ của mình và con ng mình như ngày hôm nay, chưa từng có một câu chuyện nào mình yêu quý trân trọng hơn.

Ngay từ lần đầu tiên biết đến Howl và tòa lâu đài, chắc cỡ 10 năm trước, câu chuyện này cứ như thắp sáng một cái j đó trong mình. Và khi đọc trang cuối tập này, chứng kiến tòa lâu đài bay lên ko trung và lướt đi lần cuối cùng trong sự hò reo tạm biệt của dân chúng High Norland, mình cứ ngỡ mình cũng là 1 người trong đám đông đó, vẫy tay chào tạm biệt chính tuổi thơ của mình.

Nếu tác giả Diana Wynne Jones còn sống, bà chắc chắn sẽ viết tiếp về Howl vì có vẻ như bà chưa bao h cạn ý tưởng về anh chàng pháp sư này cả, bà đã nói v trong một cuộc phỏng vấn rằng chắc chắn câu chuyện về Howl vẫn chưa kết thúc, và lẽ ra chúng ta sẽ có quyển sách tiếp theo nếu bà ko qua đời vì bệnh 2 năm sau đó, trong lúc đang viết dở dang 1 câu chuyện khác.

Mình tin rằng 1 người mê đọc sách, cho dù họ có từng đọc hàng ngàn cuốn sách hay, ý nghĩa, đến mức nào đi chăng nữa, cũng sẽ có 1 quyển duy nhất có tác động lớn nhất tới họ, tạo nên sự kết nối mãnh liệt nhất mà ko quyển nào khác có thể thay thế dc vị trí đó, dù mấy quyển kia có hay và ý nghĩa ra sao.

Câu chuyện về pháp sư Howl và đồng bọn chắc chắn ko phải câu chuyện hay nhất mình từng đọc, nhưng là câu chuyện mình yêu thích nhất, chắc tại mình tìm thấy bản thân mình trong đó.

Cái này chỉ là mình nghĩ thôi, you are what you read, nếu phải chọn ra 1 câu chuyện đại diện cho tất cả con người, tính cách, mơ ước, khuynh hướng của Quỳnh, thì đó là Howl's moving castle
Profile Image for Tijana.
732 reviews188 followers
Read
November 7, 2017
Kuća mnogih puteva nije baš treći deo u trilogiji, ali jeste treća knjiga u kojoj se (ovde kao sporedni likovi) pojavljuju Haul i Sofija. Ipak, bolje je da joj se priđe kao samostalnom romanu - em radnja nije vezana za "Haulov pokretni zamak", em bi u poređenju po kvalitetu izvukla deblji kraj. Jeste simpatična ova priča o devojci koja je razmažena jedinica, knjiški moljac i veze nema sa praktičnim životom a iznenada treba da se stara o čarobnjačkom domaćinstvu, ali nije ni blizu najboljim knjigama ove autorke ni po humoru, ni po šašavosti, ni po kompleksnosti - negativci su posebno razočaranje.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,181 reviews373 followers
May 9, 2021
The sequel to Howls Moving Castle. I really enjoyed this as it was cozy and magical just like the first one but I didn't love it as much. Would love to see this as a movie if there is one I don't know about.
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