Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle, #1)” as Want to Read:
Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Howl’s Moving Castle

(Howl's Moving Castle #1)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  250,083 ratings  ·  17,806 reviews
An alternative cover for this ISBN can be found here

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 an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it
Mass Market Paperback, Greenwillow Books, 329 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Harper Trophy (first published April 1986)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Howl’s Moving Castle, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  250,083 ratings  ·  17,806 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle, #1)
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.
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Cara by: Ash
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
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
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
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
this is the most magical story I have ever read
Kat Kennedy
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with a heart and half a brain
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such an enchanting story!
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
Joey Woolfardis
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
May 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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~
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, ya
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
Spencer Orey
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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
I adore middle grade fantasy fiction. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book that ever made me cry, and I still get emotional when I reread it. The Phantom Tollbooth remains one of the funniest, cleverest books I’ve ever read, though I didn’t read it until I was in my twenties. A Wrinkle in Time changed my view of the world and helped me embrace myself for who I was and still am. The Little Prince gave me a lot of deep, philosophical fodder for discussion with my family. And Ha ...more
monica kim
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i had such a lovely time reading this!
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I watched the movie, Howl's Moving Castle, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, when I was going through my anime phase, not to mention I'm pretty much always going through a Christian Bale phase. I loved it, of course, it was so odd and just plain weird, exactly why I enjoy anime so much.

This was quite a while ago, and it wasn't until just recently that I started reading reviews of the book by Diana Wynne Jones, so I ordered it right away. And, because my "to read" pile is enormous, it sat on my shelf f
[October 28, 2019] Marking for reread. Delightful, charming, and Old Sophie is my Patronus.

[January 1, 2016]
I talk about this book in this video wrap-up.

This was my first read of 2016, and it was a lovely and enchanting way to start my reading year. Howl's Moving Castle is so much of what I love in books: whimsy, a vivid setting, bright characters and found families.

Wynne Jones' story is told in such a clean and straightforward way that it makes the fantastical elements and setting stand out a
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
Lauren Lanz
“I think we ought to live happily ever after.”

Everything whimsical and fun, Howl's Moving Castle was a delight! Although some aspects didn’t live up to my expectations, there’s no denying this is a special tale.

~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

Sophie is the eldest of three sisters, which means she is bound to be unlucky; Sophie is cursed by the Witch of the Wastes into the form of an old woman. Desperate for her normal body back, Sophie does what few are brave enough to: she enters Howl’s mov
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Delightful a'f, I don't know what more you could want in a whimsical fantasy

-This book will appeal to every age group and gender.
-It's simple yet extremely well plotted
-You can read it in one sitting!
-Doesn't rely on tropes at all, it's its own original story
-You will feel joy throughout the entire book
I highly recommend this.
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, but especially those with soft hearts & strong wills
Recommended to jade by: i honestly don't remember, but whoever you are: thank you
“i think we ought to live happily ever after.”

howl’s moving castle is easily one of my favorite books of all time.

it is so inherently whimsical, charming, and lovely that it’s nestled itself in my heart over the years, and always manages to fill me with hope and love. it’s sweet without getting syrupy, and it’s fairy tale-esque without ever sacrificing its wittiness and quick-fire dialogue.

it’s about things not always being what they seem to be, and how nobody is truly perfect -- whe
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Looking for moving company 2 29 Apr 26, 2021 06:58AM  
2021 Reading Chal...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Howl's Moving Castle #1 24 57 Feb 17, 2021 04:32AM  
Magical Books & W...: Howl's Moving Castle // Roll Call & Initial Thoughts [No spoilers] 1 4 Jan 15, 2021 10:12PM  
The Sword and Laser: HMC: What if it's Jane Austen? 19 103 Nov 19, 2020 10:17AM  
The Sword and Laser: HMC: differences with the movie 19 114 Nov 14, 2020 01:33PM  
The Sword and Laser: HMC: The Wizard of Oz 7 80 Nov 12, 2020 03:55PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ice Dragon (The Dragon Misfits #1)
  • Qualify (The Atlantis Grail, #1)
  • Brainwalker
  • Serafina and the Black Cloak (Serafina, #1)
  • A Tale of Magic... (A Tale of Magic, #1)
  • Darklight (Darklight #1)
  • The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1)
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon
  • Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven (Harley Merlin, #1)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea
  • The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, #4)
  • Stardust
  • Coraline
  • Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)
  • Uprooted
  • Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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)

Articles featuring this book

  Every December, as we wrap up our annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, we ask our book-loving colleagues a simple yet incredibly tough...
182 likes · 322 comments
“I think we ought to live happily ever after.” 1635 likes
“I hope your bacon burns.” 1115 likes
More quotes…