A girl named Charmain must inhabit her ailing great-uncle's time-traveling home full of magical belongings. As Charmain begins a journey of amazing discoveries, she comes to the attention of the powerful sorceress Sophie and an elusive wizard named Howl.
©2008 Diana Wynne Jones; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
A fun young adult novel. Diane Wynne Jones does a nice job of mixing humor and magic. I also really liked the narrator, I think she did a wonderful job.
I don't think I agree with another reviewer who was shocked by the Lubbock being a "rapist". It's a big bug that lays eggs in people by stinging people in the back. A villain, to be sure, but I'm not sure I'd go so far as to call it a "rapist." If you're especially sensitive to that sort of thing you can skip it, but I think most people will enjoy the book.
I have come very late to discovering Diana Wynne Jones, and I am stunned by the felicities of her imagination. There are not enough of her books in this world.
NOTE: Read "Howl's Moving Castle" first (it's book one). Otherwise, you'll ruin it for yourself:)
LOVE IT!!!! If you like magic, wizards, and other like things, you will ADORE this audiobook. Coupled with Narrator Jenny Sterlin (who also narrates "The Hollow Kingdon" by Clare B. Dunkle, which is a similar masterpiece), this book will export you. The author is riotously funny in several places which I love. All star rating!!!!!! How can anyone NOT love it???:) -Adoring Fan
Leaving her over-protective home in order to look after her great-uncle's house while he's away, Charmain finds herself coping with more than she ever expected, from magic gone wrong through petty acts of malicious mischief to major villany. (Her toughest lesson is probably learning to wash dishes.) She discovers her own aptitude for magic, makes new friends ranging from a small dog to a king, and works with Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer (from Howl's Moving Castle) to save the kingdom.
Everything about Howl's Moving Castle was pure delight. The narrator was fine, assuming unique voices for each character and maintaining them consistently throughout the tale. I loved the voice she gave to Howl. One of my favorite scenes was when Michael and Sophie were engaged with a talkative witch who was going on and on. Jones captures the moment realistically and humorously, portraying how it goes when one can't extricate oneself from a talkative person. There were moments like this throughout the book that made this fantasy ever so real in terms of human interaction. I spent the whole time driving with a smile on my face as I listened to this book. I was so enamored that I've been unable to listen to a new books since--though I've tried several. So I decided to simply surrender and listen to the sequel, Castle in the Air, which sucked me right back into Diana Wynne Jones' imaginative world.
House of Many Ways is in some ways a new direction for Diana Wynne Jones, and in many ways reminiscent of her other lighter, funnier works. It's entertaining and has some good bits of character insight/development, and some nice moments of tension, and it is pretty much free from the underlying hatred of adult women which tarnishes so many of Jones's otherwise more engaging works.
What makes this recording a joy to own and hear, however, is Jenny Sterlin's sterling performance. After years of Gerard Doyle's agonizing struggles to get meaningfully from one end of a sentence to another, it is a dazzling relief to finally have a reader who is brilliantly suited to Diana Wynne Jones's works, with range, flexibility, intelligence, and humor.
Here's fervently hoping that others of DWJ's best novels will be given the reader they deserve.
What a wonderful tale of adventure and magic. Loved the tale and narrator. The author weaves an incredible enchanting work.
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