Books, YA (Young Adult)

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones Review

Now I was first introduced to this story by watching the Studio Ghibli film based off this novel.  While I don’t think it is the best Studio Ghibli film there is to see, it is still an enjoyable story and flows along the same veins as others that I have thoroughly enjoyed.  I wanted to see if the book was better than the film and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed.


Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Page #: 429

The plot of this novel is almost entirely the same as the Ghibli film except I would have to say that the film had a better ending.  The characters in the novel are lovable and quirky like they were in the film.  However, I can’t shake the feeling that this book was such a nonentity.  I didn’t feel anything toward it.  It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad, it was just there.  I think that my apathy toward it has to do with the writing style though I can’t pinpoint exactly what was wrong.

This doesn’t happen to me often.  I can usually say that the reason I’m dragging my feet through a book is because the plot is not paced well or that I’m not in love with the characters or because the writing is so dense I have to reread the sentences three times before I can grasp their meaning.  I did not have any of these issues, I merely was not pulled in like I had wanted to be.

Perhaps if I was fresh to the story and hadn’t seen the film before I might have been more engaged in the novel.  It could be that I merely was bored because I already knew what was going to happen, but I still feel like such an interesting idea for a novel with such an interesting cast of characters should have been able to win me over.  I have read books after seeing movies before and not had this issue so I’m not sure what went wrong here.

This would be a great novel for a preteen (10-12) or maybe even an early teen who you want to introduce to fantasy.  The characters are interesting and there is an interesting idea about magic and what it is in the world, but for anybody older it can be a bit dry.  It might even seem a bit dry to someone that young.

I have to say that I really like the cover even if it is a bit cartoony.  I am always a fan of hand drawn covers or interesting graphic design covers rather than just a photograph of a young girl.  Middlegrade books tend to have great covers that are drawn and interestingly laid out.  Why do we lose that in young adult and sometimes even adult books.

I hope you guys are having a great day and I will talk to you again tomorrow, for now the Pied Piper is calling me.


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