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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 amd 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

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • 2 Stars
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • 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. :)

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • 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.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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."

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • 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!

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • 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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Just really fantastic all around.

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful