House of Many Ways (Howl's Castle Series #3)
  • House of Many Ways (Howl's Castle Series #3)
  • House of Many Ways (Howl's Castle Series #3)

House of Many Ways (Howl's Castle Series #3)

4.4 116
by Diana Wynne Jones

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The sequel to Howl's Moving Castle

When Charmain Baker agreed to look after her great-uncle's house, she thought she was getting blissful, parent-free time to read. She didn't realize that the house bent space and time, and she did not expect to become responsible for an extremely magical stray dog and a muddled young apprentice wizard. Now, somehow, she's

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The sequel to Howl's Moving Castle

When Charmain Baker agreed to look after her great-uncle's house, she thought she was getting blissful, parent-free time to read. She didn't realize that the house bent space and time, and she did not expect to become responsible for an extremely magical stray dog and a muddled young apprentice wizard. Now, somehow, she's been targeted by a terrifying creature called a lubbock, too, and become central to the king's urgent search for the fabled Elfgift that will save the country. The king is so desperate to find the Elfgift, he's called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, the great Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer won't be far behind. How did respectable Charmain end up in such a mess, and how will she get herself out of it?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Longtime fans and new readers alike will revel in Jones's self-assured return to the realm she charted in Howl's Moving Castle, a riff on English and German fairytales, and its Arabian Nights-themed sequel, Castle in the Air. When bookish, utterly selfish Charmain leaves home to care for her ailing great-uncle's magical house, she surprises herself by discovering her own hidden talents-and ends up helping save the kingdom of High Norland from the fearsome Lubbock. Brought up by her doting parents to be utterly "respectable" (which in her case translates to being astonishingly useless), Charmain is an unlikely heroine. Yet she easily holds center stage, even when the flamboyant Wizard Howl (of Moving Castle fame) appears midway through the novel. Beguiling enough on their own, Charmain's big and small adventures (bickering with the boy who comes to stay; attempting housework with hilarious results; mediating the disputes of the disgruntled tiny blue men who work behind the scenes) gain an added urgency thanks to the lurking menace of the Lubbock, who is easily among the scariest villains Jones has ever created. A tale to luxuriate in. Ages 12-up. (June)

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Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Diana Wynne Jones writes marvelous fantasy. Her imagination is always vivid, her characters real, and her tales hold both humor and heart. Wynne Jones's sequel to Howl's Moving Castle is a case in point. Yes, she repeats the same conceit of expandable rooms and inner spaces, but the sequel's tone is quite different from the original. Her heroine Charmaine—suborned to care for her wizard Great Uncle William's household in his absence—is a proud, bookish, self-contained young lady who wages her own private war against the forces of evil with a mixture of early ineptness and growing control. While the entire story is a quiet coda to Howl's dramatics, there is enough small scale action to keep the reader riveted: the antics of the orphan dog Waif; the arrival of young Peter to spar with Charmaine; and, of course, the reintroduction of the Wizard Howl's entire family—with Howl himself disguised as the most miserable of lisping brats. Oh, and there is a decrepit Royal Family and missing gold thrown into the plot pot as well. It all makes for an amusing, comfortable, leisurely read. Would there were more of these! Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal

Gr 5-10- Sheltered teenager Charmain Baker is sent by her domineering great-aunt to house-sit for a distant relative, the royal wizard. She finds that his residence has myriad magical rooms and hallways and soon learns that there is trouble in the seemingly peaceful kingdom of High Norland. The treasury is disappearing, and no one knows where the money is going. Princess Hilda invites Sophie Pendragon, the main character from Howl's Moving Castle (1986), to come help solve the mystery, with her husband, Howl, disguised as an annoying preschooler, and the fire-demon Calcifer. A lubbock, one of Jones's more threatening magical creations, and its offspring, the lubbockins, threaten the kingdom, and it's up to Charmain and her nascent magical talents-and her new friends-to save the day. A whirlwind conclusion sets all to rights and leaves Charmain ready to start life outside of her parents' shadow. Sophie and Howl play background roles here, as in Castle in the Air (HarperCollins, 2001), but readers will find Charmain much to their liking as she develops from a girl who is unable to take care of herself into a proactive and adventurous young woman.-Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI

Kirkus Reviews
Snark and affection abound in a colorful world filled with unfortunately dyed laundry, enormous kobold-built cuckoo clocks and horrifying cooking experiments. This third book in the Howl's Moving Castle (1986, etc.) series introduces Charmain, a crankily respectable girl in the kingdom of High Norland. Charmain's parents forbid anything that isn't ladylike or elegant (including cooking, tidying, magic and playing with other children). When Charmain is volunteered to housesit for sick Great-Uncle William, a wizard, she finds herself thrown into a muddled and magical international incident. Charmain's exposure to sorcerous power and national intrigue interest her less then the smaller but more personal growth opportunities available: befriending a wizard's apprentice, acquiring her first dog, learning how to do laundry. Sulky Charmain develops into a crotchety protagonist capable of empathy and self-sacrifice but still a fully realized crosspatch who comes into her own in a convoluted climax that is trademark Wynne Jones yet holds together unusually well. Fan-pleasing series regulars Howl, Sophie and Calcifer play major roles, but this joyfully chaotic tale stays Charmain's-and a good thing, too. (Fantasy. 11-13)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Howl's Castle Series, #3
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

House of Many Ways

Chapter One

In which Charmain is volunteered to look after a wizard's house

"Charmain must do it," said Aunt Sempronia. "We can't leave Great-Uncle William to face this on his own."

"Your Great-Uncle William?" said Mrs. Baker. "Isn't he—" She coughed and lowered her voice because this, to her mind, was not quite nice. "Isn't he a wizard?"

"Of course," said Aunt Sempronia. "But he has—" Here she too lowered her voice. "He has a growth, you know, on his insides, and only the elves can help him. They have to carry him off in order to cure him, you see, and someone has to look after his house. Spells, you know, escape if there's no one there to watch them. And I am far too busy to do it. My stray dogs' charity alone—"

"Me too. We're up to our ears in wedding cake orders this month," Mrs. Baker said hastily. "Sam was saying only this morning—"

"Then it has to be Charmain," Aunt Sempronia decreed. "Surely she's old enough now."

"Er—" said Mrs. Baker.

They both looked across the parlor to where Mrs. Baker's daughter sat, deep in a book, as usual, with her long, thin body bent into what sunlight came in past Mrs. Baker's geraniums, her red hair pinned up in a sort of birds' nest, and her glasses perched on the end of her nose. She held one of her father's huge juicy pasties in one hand and munched it as she read. Crumbs kept falling on her book, and she brushed them off with the pasty when they fell on the page she was reading.

"Er... did you hear us, dear?" Mrs. Baker said anxiously.

"No," Charmain said withher mouth full. "What?"

"That's settled, then," Aunt Sempronia said. "I'll leave it to you to explain to her, Berenice, dear." She stood up, majestically shaking out the folds of her stiff silk dress and then of her silk parasol. "I'll be back to fetch her tomorrow morning," she said. "Now I'd better go and tell poor Great-Uncle William that Charmain will be taking care of things for him."

She swept out of the parlor, leaving Mrs. Baker to wish that her husband's aunt was not so rich or so bossy, and to wonder how she was going to explain to Charmain, let alone to Sam. Sam never allowed Charmain to do anything that was not utterly respectable. Nor did Mrs. Baker either, except when Aunt Sempronia took a hand.

Aunt Sempronia, meanwhile, mounted into her smart little pony-trap and had her groom drive her beyond the other side of town where Great-Uncle William lived.

"I've fixed it all up," she announced, sailing through the magic ways to where Great-Uncle William sat glumly writing in his study. "My great-niece Charmain is coming here tomorrow. She will see you on your way and look after you when you come back. In between, she will take care of the house for you."

"How very kind of her," said Great-Uncle William. "I take it she is well versed in magic, then?"

"I have no idea," said Aunt Sempronia. "What I do know is that she never has her nose out of a book, never does a hand's turn in the house, and is treated like a sacred object by both her parents. It will do her good to do something normal for a change."

"Oh, dear," said Great-Uncle William. "Thank you for warning me. I shall take precautions, then."

"Do that," said Aunt Sempronia. "And you had better make sure there is plenty of food in the place. I've never known a girl who eats so much. And remains thin as a witch's besom with it. I've never understood it. I'll bring her here tomorrow before the elves come, then."

She turned and left. "Thank you," Great-Uncle William said weakly to her stiff, rustling back. "Dear, dear," he added, as the front door slammed. "Ah, well. One has to be grateful to one's relatives, I suppose."

Charmain, oddly enough, was quite grateful to Aunt Sempronia too. Not that she was in the least grateful for being volunteered to look after an old, sick wizard whom she had never met. "She might have asked me!" she said, rather often, to her mother.

"I think she knew you would say no, dear," Mrs. Baker suggested eventually.

"I might have," Charmain said. "Or," she added, with a secretive smile, "I might not have."

"Dear, I'm not expecting you to enjoy it," Mrs. Baker said tremulously. "It's not at all nice. It's just that it would be so very kind—"

"You know I'm not kind," Charmain said, and she went away upstairs to her white frilly bedroom, where she sat at her nice desk, staring out of her window at the roofs, towers, and chimneys of High Norland City, and then up at the blue mountains beyond. The truth was, this was the chance she had been longing for. She was tired of her respectable school and very tired of living at home, with her mother treating her as if Charmain were a tigress no one was sure was tame, and her father forbidding her to do things because they were not nice, or not safe, or not usual. This was a chance to leave home and do something—the one thing—Charmain had always wanted to do. It was worth putting up with a wizard's house just for that. She wondered if she had the courage to write the letter that went with it.

For a long time she had no courage at all. She sat and stared at the clouds piling along the peaks of the mountains, white and purple, making shapes like fat animals and thin swooping dragons. She stared until the clouds had wisped away into nothing but faint mist against a blue sky. Then she said, "Now or nothing." After that she sighed, fetched her glasses up on...

House of Many Ways. Copyright © by Diana Jones. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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House of Many Ways (Howl's Castle Series #3) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 116 reviews.
greekgirl98 More than 1 year ago
It's amazing! It has some new characters, but it also has the old ones. Sophie and Howl had a child called Morgan, and we get a taste of how their lives are like. Howl turns into Twinkle, a small boy, and Sophie is very mad at him. I think it was a good sequel to the first, and we get a taste of how Sophie and Howl lived after the first book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have chosen the story, House of Many Ways for my fantasy, outside reading novel. House of Many Ways is about a girl named Charmain, who is sent to take care of her Great Uncle William's house while he is sick and being taken care of by elves. Her great Uncle William is the wizard of High Norland. We later find out that he is sick with an egg of a dangerous and unkind blue creature called a Lubbock. Meanwhile, while Charmain is in the house she hears a knock on the door. It is a young boy saying that he was sent to the house by his mother to be the wizard's apprentice. The boy, Peter, will be staying with her until the wizard arrives from being treated. During this, Charmain wrote a letter to the king of High Norland to help out around the castle, it was accepted and the dog that is at the house becomes attached to her and helps her along her journeys. They later find out that the only way to kill a Lubbock egg is by a fire demon. Charmain knows one from the castle and is sent on a mission to get him. There are many positives to this fantasy book that I chose. One that pops right into my mind is imagination. The author of this novel, Diana Waynne, she has an amazingly imaginative mind. All of the detail that was put into this story made it seem like there was a movie playing in my head. Another positive about House of Many Ways is that it was the kind of book that I couldn't put down. Those are my favorite kind of books! I also liked that there were a variation of made up creatures, such as the fire demon. This book was very different from most of the books that I have read and it had an interesting, but enjoyable plot. another good thing about this book is that it was perfect for my age group. One other it is one of those books that when you read all of the topics you will be surprised by all of them. Lastly, after i read this book i wanted it to keep going because it got so interesting and it left you hanging at the end. There were only three negatives that I hade about this book. The first was that the only lack of detail was explaining more about the creatures visual and where the animals lived, also she could have explained more of how long they lived for and other facts about these creatures in the book. The second negative was that Diana Waynne could have explained more about the location of High Norland. she could have made up a more specific location or located it at a real location. Thirdly, Diana Waynne could have explained more of what Great Uncle William's house looks like. Otherwise, the detail was great! The writing style of the author was very clear and I could understand the point of the plot very well. I could also understand the topics she had very clearly. Over all Diana's writing very straight forward and understandable. I would recommend House of Many Ways to any who likes learning about different kinds of people and fantasy. There are a lot of surprises that you wouldn't expect from this kind of book. If you are interested in made up places and animals, this is the kind of fantasy book for you. These are a few reasons why I would recommend this book to people who like fantasy. This fantasy book is a sequel to Howl's moving Castle and Castle in the Air. These two books also have a similar writing style to House of Many Ways. This is one of the best novels that I have read in a long time because I like this genre, fantasy, and if people like fantasy too this is the kind of book for them. I loved House of Many Ways!
Jolliday More than 1 year ago
I liked this story mostly. I don't consider it to be the strongest of Diana Wynne Jones's books, but it is worth reading at least once. There are a lot of characters worth getting to know, and the world is wonderfully realized, but I'm of the opinion that either the story needed to be entirely about Charmain and the the house, or entirely about Howl and Sophie and Morgan and their friends--or the book needed to be about two hundred pages longer to fit everything in. There are fascinating parts to everything, glimmers of genius, but sometimes I think that Ms. Jones was writing this as a sort of "here, here's your sequel, now leave me alone so I can do what I really want." Not that I blame her. L. Frank Baum felt just about the same way about Dorothy and Oz. But I really would have liked the entire story to unfold from the house--or for Charmain to have done most of the work in the story. She's a wonderful character, and one that makes a nice change from the typical fantasy heroine (not that any of Diana Wynne Jones's books have what you would call the "typical" fantasy heroine). But I wanted her to play more of a part in things. Things seem to happen around her rather than her making things happen. That said, this book is worth reading at least once. I've only read it once, so I might like it more when I read it again. Oh, and be warned--the cover says this is _the_ sequel to Howl's Moving castle. There's another book in between Howl's Moving Castle and this one called A Castle In the Air. You don't _have_ to read it in order to understand this book, but it's great fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I definitely recommend this book. It's about one of use! The book dork! While the main character is a little spoiled she does quickly gets over it. She just wants to read but finds herself in a story of her own. anyway its a good book and it is a sequel to Howls moving castle but Howl and sophie are not main characters but it is about them too so it's funny and interesting.I LIKED IT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the whole "Howl's Moving Castle" series and I must confess, I was dissapoited. After seeing the movie of the first book, I loved it, and read the book, hoping to get more details. I found that the author did not elabarate on all of the fasinating characters and magic, like she could have, but was still captivated by the story and loved the first book (Although she could have wrote more about Sophie and Howl's life together, this being my favorite part, and she only wrote a couple pages at the end). So I of course picked up the 'sequel' "Castle in the Air" excitedly expecting more details in the lives of my favorite characters, Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer. However, the previous characters only play a very small part, and the story follows a completely different story line. I do not think it should have been called a sequel if it was not going to follow the origial story line and have the same main characters. The third book was better, because the original characters played more of a role. By itself it is a charming book, but when veiwed as a whole, it had almost nothing to do with the previous book and as the last book in the series, did not answer some unresolved issues in the series.
BooksMakeMeHappy More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I loved Howl's Moving Castle, but I actually like this book more! Charmaine (the main character) is so interesting and the plot has so many things going on at once, just like it Howl's Moving Castle. It's interesting how everything twists up together later on. This book demands a reread to catch all the little foreshadowing bits. I love it and am currently rereading it.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
When book lover Charmain Baker has to go and take care of Great Uncle William Norland's (a wizard) house while he is away, she is in for a surprise.

Soon after arriving, she discovers that the letter she sent to the King was answered, and he wants her to work with him in the Royal Library. Then Sophie Pendragon, Wizard Howl, and Morgan arrive, making the palace almost a nursery.

The Wizard Howl and Sophie ask Charmain to help them look for the King's disappearing gold by looking for any mention of debts or loans in the records she is reviewing for the King.

With help from new characters Waif and Peter Charmain, the plot gets thrown into a confusing mystery. Diana Wynne Jones's sequel to HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE will keep readers breathless as they follow Charmain through her never-ending surprises and encounters with kobolds, lubbocks and elves.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys Diana Wynne Jones's writing or wants a fascinating fantasy mystery. Although this book is a sequel, it can be read without any prior knowledge of the first book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this author! Rip dwj
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in Howl's series. Didn't know about it till recently. I read the first two years ago - just before the Miyazaki movie. Glad I got to catch up with some of my favorite characters a few years down the road.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was reading it at night and when the lubbokin came around i got so scared also when i found out the prince was one too. Amazing cuz it was all so unexpected. I just dont get why Howl was a toddler. And is morgan Howls and Sophies son?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is ther going to be a fourth book? If there is please tell me the name( if you know it).. thanks~ happy.;)
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????? Hello ?????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I used to havea character named Bloodfang. Did you used to no a Bloodfang?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in front of noah. Welcome to the pack. She barked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wish it was longer
bbb57 More than 1 year ago
I am such a sucker for a book with a dog in it. Loved the character Charmain's evolution to being nicer. Better than the second book, but not as good as the first. But definitely read it.
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