"In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes." So begins Howl's Moving Castle. Our protagonist, Sophie Hatter, is well aware of the fate awaiting the oldest child. But circumstances force her to set out to seek her fortune despite the fact that she is the oldest of three daughters.
This is one of those books that reminds you of the magic that made you fall in love with reading in the first place. Just look at that opening paragraph. Who can resist the lure of that? I immediately felt it calling me on to find out what does happen to the eldest.
Overall, this was a charming fairy tale. And like all good fairy tales, everyone comes out a little wiser in the end. But what I really liked about this particular fairy tale is that Sophie was not a helpless maiden in distress. She was saved from quite a few jams, but she did just as much saving with her quick wits. But at the same time, she was a flawed character who made mistakes but ultimately learned from them.
This was one of those books that left me with a satisfied smile at the end. I think it would be fun for both the young and the young-at-heart. I highly recommend it and I'll be looking for the sequel.
Reviewed April 6, 2009
Read an excerpt.
Read my review of Castle in the Air, the next book in the loose series.
My Character Connection post about Sophie.
Buy Howl's Moving Castle at
I saw the movie afterward, and while it strayed pretty far from the book in the second half, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
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