©1986 Diana Wynne Jones; (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC
"A wonderful blend of humor, magic, and romance." (Publishers Weekly)
I really love this book, it is inventive and rich in so many ways. It has themes that appeal to all ages, and playfully tweaks the fantasy genre while creating one of the most memorable wizards in literature. The story is quite different than the movie version, with surprises right up until the end. The narrator has a unique voice, but I liked her interpretation, and highly recommend this audiobook.
I love books! All kinds... classics, mysteries, Christian fiction, suspense and action! I'm also a sucker for anything romantic. ;) And just recently started getting into some non-fiction, philosophical books.
It is quite different than the movie. Some parts are similar, sometimes things that happened at the beginning of the movie happen at the end of the book and vice versa. I liked the characters a lot more, in the book, as there was plenty of time to flesh them out and get into their issues.
This all being said, I might have had a difficult time understanding the magical side of things, the house in 4 places, the change, Calcifer, the scarecrow... without having seen the movie first. Personally, I'm glad I saw it first, then read the book. I was so much more pleased with it then had it been the other way around.
The movie had it's own agenda, which wasn't in this book at all, and that was the war. I mean, war was suggested as a possibility in the future, but that wasn't the point of the book. And honestly, that annoyed me in the movie. The book, instead, focused on characters, vibrant descriptions, mystery and excitement.
Quite good and very enjoyable. :)
I watched the movie with my kids and was struck that some movie events did not relate to each other. A sure clue that the book has been selectively abridged for the screenplay. The book's story and movie actually are two entirely different stories that cover the same characters and some events. This book is great! The movie now disappoints, even though it was an Academy Award nom. Ghibli films are always well done, but Ms. Jones wrote a much better book!
I downloaded "Howl's Moving Castle" based on all the great reviews, even though I had never heard of this book. I have young children and like to read ahead and give them good recommendations. That being said, I absolutely loved this book. I listened once, then had to listen again the minute I was done. I am now reading it outloud with my kids - although I am not nearly as entertaining to listen to as Jenny Sterlin (narrator). As a matter of fact, I am wondering if I loved this book so much because of the great narration or the amazing story. I am eager to get going on the sequel - "House of Many Ways."
OMG!! I actually clapped my hands while driving the car (alone, mind you) when the reader spoke the last words of this amazing audiobook. I LOVE the movie, but Miyazaki's version is so far removed from Jones' original novel, I was astonished. I enjoyed every second listening to cantankerous Sopie and vain Howl and manic Calcifer. Oh, how I want a Calcifer of my own! A wonderful, wonderful story for kids and adults.
I loved this book. My daughter and i watched the movie and i loved the story so i got the book. It is a children's book, but i was so amused that i wished it wouldn't have ended. I recommend this to anyone of any age.
I'm a voracious audiobibliophile, mainly interested in speculative fiction, with the occasional mimetic fiction or non-fiction title sneaking in.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks (nine last month; 70 last year), but recently I was having one of those ???I have 400 books on my to read list and still can???t pick what to read??? bouts of choice paralysis. Then I stumbled across my copy of Howl???s Moving Castle, bought on sale a year or two ago, and it was just what I needed. Narrated superbly by Jenny Sterlin, we follow Sophie Hatter, tragically the eldest of three sisters in a land of fairy tale rules and seven-league boots, after she???s cursed by a witch and transformed into an old crone. She gains entrance to the legendary moving castle of the wizard Howl and strikes a bargain with Calcifer, a fire demon, to be cured in exchange for freeing Calcifer from his contractual servitude to the wizard. It???s just a wonderful book with a wonderful protagonist in Sophie, who quickly embraces the authority to lecture and cajole that her apparent age gives her; a book which doesn???t take itself too seriously; and an audiobook which is done so well, so earnestly, and so authentically that those with an ear for dialects might begin to wonder why Howl speaks with a ???tapped r??? long before we find out what???s sewn across one of his shirts. I'm very glad indeed that the universe contains books like Howl???s Moving Castle. It was a delightful pit stop on a month of mostly Serious Business, superbly narrated, and highly recommended, and a book I look forward to sharing with my kids over the years.
Maddie and I, are a dad-daughter combo who love audible books. She has recently started to write reviews also. I hope you can differentiate.
I picked this title up because I vaguely remember the movie from a few years back and thought it would be a nice light listen that my 5 year old and I could enjoy together on the road. I was more than correct. Both my daughter and I could not wait to go for drives while listening to this book. The story was fun, light and thoroughly enjoyable, and Jenny Sterlin's performance was...(forgive me as I can't resist) ... sterling. She has distinct, consistent, and appropriate voices for each of the characters. My daughter and I were entranced, and highly entertained. I highly recommend this title for someone looking for a light, child-friendly listen...but if you are looking for an strictly adult level book, I should warn you that this is definitely a "children's story" at its heart.
Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite authors, though she is not well known. This book is one of her few more lighthearted tales, and is one of my favorite books. It revolves around a girl named Sophie who feels herself to be drab and uninteresting and wanders away from her home when she is cursed by the Witch of the Waste. She winds up in the home of the evil and flamboyant Wizard Howl - turning both of their lives upside down, resulting in hilarity, disaster, and happy endings.
I waited years after first seeing Studio Ghibli's masterpiece adaptation of this book before finally deciding to give it a listen-- like most people, I was afraid it couldn't possibly live up to the movie. In some ways, it doesn't; I find the end of the film to be preferable, though the ending of the book is good. The two stories start off similarly, and Sophie is an immediately likable character (as are Howl, Michael/Markl, and Calcifer) in both, but partway through the stories diverge radically. I assume that some of the threads left hanging by the book are tied together in the sequels, which I plan to listen to later.
Diana Wynne Jones is clearly an incredibly talented writer: the phrases she uses elicit images that are fresh and magical, and the world she created in this book is one that I want to revisit over and over. The characters she invented are never one-dimensional-- just like most of the objects in Howl's castle, they aren't what they initially seem.
I recommend this book for any lover of fantasy as well as fans of the movie (just don't expect the same story), and most importantly, I recommend it for readers of all ages. This book is listed as a children's/YA novel, and while I'm sure that younger readers will love it and benefit from Sophie's understated brand of strength, reading it for the first time in my mid-twenties has given me insight into the characters and their motivations that I know I would have overlooked at a younger age.
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