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Publisher's Summary

A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and ALA Notable and Best of the Year in Young Adult Fiction, Howl's Moving Castle is by acclaimed fantasy writer Diane Wynne Jones and was transformed into an Academy Award nominated animated motion picture by Hayao Miyazaki. On a rare venture out from her step-mother's hat shop, Sophie attracts the attention of a witch, who casts a terrible spell transforming the young girl into an old crone.

©1986 Diana Wynne Jones (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"A wonderful blend of humor, magic, and romance." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,821
  • 4 Stars
    1,026
  • 3 Stars
    309
  • 2 Stars
    74
  • 1 Stars
    27

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,409
  • 4 Stars
    956
  • 3 Stars
    255
  • 2 Stars
    39
  • 1 Stars
    19

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    883
  • 3 Stars
    272
  • 2 Stars
    74
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    29
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Entertaining

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.

42 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elisa
  • Kingston, NY, USA
  • 10-23-09

Howl's Moving Castle is Amazing!

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.

51 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book for all ages

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.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One of my favorite books

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."

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Candace
  • Amarillo, TX, United States
  • 09-26-12

Better than the movie... and that's saying a lot.

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. :)

48 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Vonda
  • Bloomfield, KY, United States
  • 03-29-12

Nothing like the Movie-The book is so much better!

What made the experience of listening to Howl's Moving Castle the most 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!

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jana
  • Riverside, CA, USA
  • 04-16-10

Enchanting tale

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stays with you for days

This is a great book, read by a great narrator. I loved listening to the story unfold and could really feel the character development. I usually have to be working on something while listening to an audiobook, but I could just sit around with this and listen to it over and over again. The writing is funny, quick, and original, and Jenny Sterlin brings Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer to life. Especially Sophie; I loved her character tremendously. I'm about to make a bold statement and don't want to cause any controversy, but this is the kind of performance that makes the audio version better than the written one, and I mean that with full compliments to Diana Wynne Jones. A painting is only as good as the drawing underneath.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tyng
  • washington, Virgin Islands (U.S.)
  • 02-08-11

Stays with you for days

This is a great book, read by a great narrator. I loved listening to the story unfold and could really feel the character development. I usually have to be working on something while listening to an audiobook, but I could just sit around with this and listen to it over and over again. The writing is funny, quick, and original, and Jenny Sterlin brings Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer to life. Especially Sophie; I loved her character tremendously. I'm about to make a bold statement and don't want to cause any controversy, but this is the kind of performance that makes the audio version better than the written one, and I mean that with full compliments to Diana Wynne Jones. A painting is only as good as the drawing underneath.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

a cute story about female empowerment

howl's moving castle is a cute and creative story about female self empowerment. it also plays like a young adult Jane Austen story with magic. the lead character Sophie has a strong gift for magic but doubts herself. she's 18 years old and a witch turns her 90 years old. when that happens she leaves home to search her fortune. when she was young, she was fearful and overwhelmed with responsibility of being the oldest and inhereriting a family hat shop. now that she's 90, she has less concern of what other people think of her and doesn't feel intimidated by others. this is when she forces her way into wizard howl's castle and life. this is all in the first few chapters and then the main action of the story line unfolds with wicked witches, whimsical kings and missing princes and wizards, and colorful characters. then there's subplots of Austen-like match making.

it's a light and fun read with a stronger message about self image and natural talents.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful