Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Castle Series #1)

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Castle Series #1)

by Diana Wynne Jones


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061478789
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/22/2008
Series: Howl's Castle Series , #1
Pages: 429
Sales rank: 14,639
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones (1934‒2011) wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books are filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

In which Sophie talks to hats

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.

Sophie Hatter was the eldest of three sisters. She was not even the child of a poor woodcutter, which might have given her some chance of success. Her parents were well to do and kept a ladies' hat shop in the prosperous town of Market Chipping. True, her own mother died when Sophie was two years old and her sister Lettie was one year old, and their father married his youngest shop assistant, a pretty blonde girl called Fanny. Fanny shortly gave birth to the third sister, Martha. This ought to have made Sophie and Lettle into Ugly Sisters, but in fact all three girls grew up very pretty indeed, though Lettie was the one everyone said was most beautiful. Fanny treated all three girls with the same kindness and did not favor Martha in the least.

Mr. Hatter was proud of his three daughters and sent them all to the best school in town. Sophie was the most studious. She read a great deal, and very soon realized how little chance she had of an interesting future. It was a disappointment to her, but she was still happy enough, looking after her sisters and grooming Martha to seek her fortune when the time came. Since Fanny was always busy in the shop, Sophie was the one who looked after the younger two. There was a certain amount of screaming and hairpulling between those younger two. Lettie was by no means resignedto being the one who, next to Sophie, was bound to be the least successful.

"It's not fair!" Lettie would shout. "Why should Martha have the best of it just because she was born the youngest? I shall marry a prince, so there!"

To which Martha always retorted that she would end up disgustingly rich without having to marry anybody.

Then Sophie would have to drag them apart and mend their clothes. She was very deft with her needle. As time went on, she made clothes for her sisters too. There was one deep rose outfit she made for Lettie, the May Day before this story really starts, which Fanny said looked as if it had come from the most expensive shop in Kingsbury.

About this time everyone began talking of the Witch of the Waste again. It was said the Witch had threatened the life of the King's daughter and that the King had commanded his personal magician, Wizard Suliman, to go into the Waste and deal with the Witch. And it seemed that Wizard Stillman had not only failed to deal with the Witch: he had got himself killed by her.

So when, a few months after that, a tall black castle suddenly appeared on the hills above Market Chipping, blowing clouds of black smoke from its four tall, thin turrets, everybody was fairly sure that the Witch had moved out of the Waste again and was about to terrorize the country the way she used to fifty years ago. People got very scared indeed. Nobody went out alone, particularly at night. What made it all the scarier was that the castle did not stay in the same place. Sometimes it was a tall black smudge on the moors to the northwest, sometimes it reared above the rocks to the east, and sometimes it came right downhill to sit in the heather only just beyond the last farm to the north. You could see it actually moving sometimes, with smoke pouring out from the turrets in dirty gray gusts. For a while everyone was certain that the castle would come right down into the valley before long, and the Mayor talked of sending to the King for help.

But the castle stayed roving about the hills, and it was learned that it did not belong to the Witch but toWizard Howl. Wizard Howl was bad enough. Though he did not seem to want to leave the hills, he was known to amuse himself by collecting young girls and sucking the souls from them. Or some people said he ate their hearts. He was an utterly cold-blooded and heartless wizard and no young girl was safe from him if he caught her on her own. Sophie, Lettie, and Martha, along with all the other girls in Market Chipping, were warned never to go out alone, which was a great annoyance to them. They wondered what use Wizard Howl found for all the souls he collected.

They had other things on their minds before long, however, for Mr. Hatter died suddenly just as Sophie was old enough to leave school for good. It then appeared that Mr. Hatter had been altogether too proud of his daughters. The school fees he had been paying had left the shop with quite heavy debts. When the funeral was over, Fanny sat down in the parlor in the house next door to the shop and explained the situation.

"You'll all have to leave that school, I'm afraid," she said. "I've been doing sums back and front and sideways, and the only way I can see to keep the business going and take care of the three of you is to see you all settled in a promising apprenticeship somewhere. It isn't practical to have you all in the shop. I can't afford it. So this is what I've decided. Lettie first -- "

Howl's Moving Castle. Copyright © by Diana Jones. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Howl's Moving Castle 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 465 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best fantasy book I have ever read. The characters are extremely likeable and not one-dimensional. The humor included is great and I love the hilarious situations that Howl creates due to his vanity. The plot is engaging and Howl's Moving Castle is one of those books that you just can't put down. I have read this book over and over again and stil it fails to bore me. Readers beware: Make sure that you give yourself time for it will most likely be that you finish this book in one sitting!
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
Sophie is sure that her life is meant to come to nothing, because where she lives the eldest child is always ill-fated. So when times get tough for her family she is content to stay home and work in the family hat shop while her two younger sisters go off to bright futures working in a bakery and learning magic. But when the Witch of the Waste comes into her shop one day and casts a spell on Sophie, making her appear old, she decides to set off into the wider world where she knows no one. When her old bones become tired at the end of her first day of wandering, she finds herself at the edge of the wizard Howl's castle. The castle is enchanted; it moves and blows puffs of smoke constantly. Although Sophie is afraid of Howl because she heard he eats young girls' souls, in the guise of an old woman she thinks she will be safe. With thoughts of finding a warm fireside and a comfy chair, Sophie goes into the castle. She finds Howl's assistant Michael, and his fire demon, Calcifer, but Howl is not in. As Sophie makes herself useful and becomes a part of the castle life, she begins to learn more and more about Howl, Calcifer and Michael. Gradually, as she gets to know them, they become like a second family to her. But can she keep Howl from being taken by the Witch of the Waste? And can she break a magical spell that binds Calcifer to Howl, so the spell on her can be broken as well? Howl's Moving Castle brings up issues of creating family for yourself and seeing people for who they truly are, despite the masks they put up to keep others at a distance. It's about finding love and acceptance, and not being afraid to look for the magic in small moments. The castle itself is fascinating, with its door leading to different villages depending on which colored-button is facing down, its ability to move its location and its permanent window looking onto a sunny port town. Our mother-daughter book club members thought the ending felt a bit rushed, but otherwise we all enjoyed reading it and talking about Sophie, Howl and all the characters. I recommend it for book clubs with daughters aged 13 and up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Howl's moving castle is a wonderful book. It's a quick, fun read, and the writing style of Diana Wynne Jones makes you feel like you're reading an old fairy tale and adds greatly to the charm of the story. However, I don't suggest purchasing this story for the nook. The e-book is filled with typos, which are few and far between when you start out, but then become so frequent that they're actually a distraction, and it doesn't help matters that the occasional word is missing. All in all, the ebook feels as though it were carelessly put together, which I don't remember being the case with the plain old paperback edition. It was a bit of a disappointment.
HonorsReading007 More than 1 year ago
Howl's Moving Castle was recommended to me by a friend who praised it highly. Needless to say I had high expectations, and Diana Wynne Jones did not disappoint. Howl's Moving Castle is the story of a girl named Sophie who accidentally upsets a witch causing her to turn Sophie into an old woman. With nothing to lose, Sophie sets out to seek her fortune. Along the way, she encounters many strange and magical creatures, none more strange or magical than the feared Wizard Howl. Sophie decides to move in with Wizard Howl and his apprentice Michael, and live with them in their fantastic Moving Castle. While there, Sophie makes a pact with a sarcastic fire demon named Calcifer. Calcifer promises to lift the the spell that has been placed on Sophie if she promises to break his contract with Wizard Howl. In her quest to break the contract, Sophie will discover the true Wizard Howl and learn the secrets of the amazing moving castle. While very well written, there are some parts of the story that could be confusing to a younger or less educated reader. This being said, I literally could not bring myself to put this book down as I was reading it. It was as if it were glued to my hands! I heartily recommend this book for anyone with an extensive vocabulary and a reasonable amount of imagination. I also would advise you to see the movie after reading the book because some things will make much more sense. All in all, Howl's Moving Castle is an enchanting story that you will want to read again and again.
Huskies4Lifes More than 1 year ago
You aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but, truth be told, it was the cover of this novel that caught my eye and piqued my curiousity. Just for kicks, I decided to loan it from the library and by the twentieth page, I was at Barnes and Noble, taking home a bag containing the entire series (I'm not a picky spender when it comes to books; I own every Harry Potter book in hardcover). Since then, I have been taking this book everywhere with me, reading in my spare time and enjoying every minute of it. In a generation of literature dominated by paranormal romance, it was refreshing to find this book, even if it was published in the '80s and is therefore considered "old-fashioned and outdated" by my peers. Honestly, though, whether you're a fan of the modern vampire/werewolf-fad or more of an admirer of the classics, odds are you'll fall in love from the first few sentences, like I did. I'm not picky about what I read, as long as it's recommended to me. And I've had my share of that-was-a-total-waste-of-time-that-could-have-been-spent-reading-something-decent books, along with oh-my-goodness-I-didn't-know-it-was-possible-to-write-like-that books. And, trust me, this is the polar opposite of the prior. As American as I may be, I enjoy to finer things in life (as in, not video games and sleazy television shows) like curling up on the couch with a mug of hot tea and an old book that was a favorite of my grandfather. Maybe you can relate. But I'm a huge fan of anything British, and, being a reader and a novelist, I know a good British author from the first chapter. J. K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis...I adore them all. Now it's time to add Diana Wynne Jones to the list. Her writing is so unique, it seems only she can pull it off, and this book is written with all of the style and flavor of the Chronicles of Narnia, and the old-world charm of a sort of wonderful new fairy tale that should never be constrained to simple boundaries. It captures the imagination of readers young and old, and I'm certain it will capture you as well. I would recommend this book to anyone asking for a lesser-known read, and I find it astonishing that it isn't more popular than it is. I hope that you benefit from this review and enjoy this book as much as I. :]
greekgirl98 More than 1 year ago
I liked this book more than the movie. It's lighter and has a lot of humor. The movie was dark full of war, magic, and demons. even if some parts are a little slow, it has a spell in it that you can't put it down until you reach the end. You can't help smiling while you read it. It's like it's enchanted
SfkSmile123 More than 1 year ago
The story captivates you so much! It's imaginative and unlike any story you've read! It's AMAZING!
Ravenswold More than 1 year ago
I am thoroughly enjoying this book. It is a complete delight and worth reading every page; however, at the time I purchased it, it has a lamentable and unacceptable number of typographical errors in it for a paid-for book. It gets quite distracting. I'm not sure I would buy an ebook from this same publisher again, since it seems like they don't deliver even standard publishable quality.
windbell More than 1 year ago
I'm 28 and this is still my very favorite book. It's not just a children's story, either; it can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. The movie is beautifully animated but nothing can replace the charm of Jones's original story, setting, and characters -- the characters especially, since they are unusually memorable. In the magical land of Ingary, a shy young woman named Sophie is the eldest of three sisters. When the infamous Witch of the Waste mistakes Sophie for someone else and turns her into a cranky old woman, Sophie leaves home and seeks shelter inside a moving castle owned by a notorious womanizing wizard named Howl. Rumors throughout Ingary say Howl is heartless, but Sophie insists on working for Howl as a cleaning lady in exchange for room and board. Sophie subsequently discovers that the melodramatic yet secretive Howl is nothing like his reputation, and that Howl, Howl's young apprentice Michael, and resident fire demon Calcifer are all in need of Sophie's help. Can Sophie help Howl and her new friends AND defeat the Witch of the Wastes? And can Howl and friends help Sophie? Diana Wynne Jones combines fantasy, mystery, action, humor, and romance for a really enjoyable tale that has become very popular over the years. I'm really glad this is now available as an eBook so that I can pick it up whenever I want.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written book and I loved the movie!
ZeroBXU More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. Highly recommended for young adults, fans of the movie, or Neil Gaiman fans. Looking at previous reviews, I believe whatever problems may have been present in earlier version of the eBook are no longer present.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One reason why this book is hard to put down is because it is 100 percent original. You'll never know what will happen next. Humorous, wily, and detailed, this is a great book to add to anyone's fantasy collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is one of those few stories that stay with you throughout your life. I've never read anything so peculiar but hey..! It's all good! I really enjoyed the twists and hidden messages within the story. For some reason I really liked Michael. I have no idea why. Maybe it's because he freaked out when Sophie began cleaning up the place.
Xilo More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book for all ages! However, the book is very different from the movie, it is still very wonderful and catches your attention on every page. Sophie, is the eldest of three sisters, she has to stay behind to take over her fathers hat shop while her two other sisters move on to different apprentices. One day while she is working in the hat shop the wicked witch of the waste pays her a visit and tuns her in to an old woman. Sophie, is so embarrased by what she has become that she sets out on an adventure. When she gets tired and can't move any more howl's castle appears and she ends up letting herself in. After that she ends up working for howl as a maid. At first Sophie is afraid of howl because of all the rumors she has been hearing, but soon finds out that she grows more and more fond of him with each day passing. When I read this book i could not put it down!!! She also has a sequal to this book called house of many ways which is also a wonderful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like the movie, you may or may not like the book. The movie takes many liberties that have nothing to do with the book at all. However, the redeeming factor about the movie vs. book is that they are so different that they are two separate entities. I enjoy both immensely!
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
The first time I ever heard of this book was in 2006 when we lived in St. Louis, MO, and a friend of our younger son Jeremy with whom he played homeschool baseball, gave a report in a local homeschool Network newsletter. A few years later, after we had moved from St. Louis to Salem, IL, we picked Howl’s Moving Castle, made from the book in 2004 by Hayao Miyazaki, for a family video. The film generally follows the book, but as Jackson noted there are some major differences. I read several reviews by people who actually liked the movie better than the book. The main complaints about the novel are that it is has poor character development, flimsy story lines, implausible plot devices, and too many words yet not enough real description. Personally, I found the book well-written and generaly easy to read with a fair amount of excitement, but I did note a few concerns. First, the plot has an almost “absurdist” quality to it. That doesn’t necessarily make it bad, but some people may not care for that sort of story. There are some common euphemisms, such as “drat” and “confound it,” a few curse-like terms (“damnation” and “Hell’s teeth”), and one instance of the word “Lord” used as an exclamation. Howl has as reputation as a womanizer, courting girls until they fall in love with him then dropping them for someone else but nothing sexual is actually implied. References to drinking beer, brandy, and wine occur, and Howl comes home drunk once towards the end. If you prefer not to have your children reading books which contain magic or witchcraft, you would obviously want to avoid this one. I do make a distinction between books which I believe promote an interest in the occult, such as Harry Potter, and those where the magic or witchcraft is simply part of the fictional setting of a story. Howl’s Moving Castle comes about as close to the former as possible, and only the “absurdist” nature of the plot might keep it from falling into that category. Author Diana Wynne Jones, was born in London, England, on August 16, 1934, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were educators. She is a British writer, principally of fantasy novels for children and adults, as well as a small amount of non-fiction. Some of her better-known works include the Chrestomanci series. Her books range from a broad, almost slapstick delight in the construction of absurd-yet-logical situations, especially evident in the endings of some of her books, to sharp social observation, to witty parody of literary forms. Foremost amongst the latter are her Tough Guide to Fantasyland, a non-fiction work on clichés in fantasy fiction that has a cult following as a reference among writers and critics, despite being difficult to find due to an erratic printing history, and its fictional companion-pieces Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998) and Year of the Griffin (2000), which provide a merciless, though not unaffectionate, critique of formulaic sword-and-sorcery epics. Charmed Life, the first book in the Chrestomanci series, won the 1977 Guardian Award for Children’s Books. Archer's Goon (1984), a Boston Globe - Horn Book Honor Book and World Fantasy Award for Best Novel nominee, was adapted for television in 1992. According to her autobiography, Diana has been an atheist since she was ten. Howl's Moving Castle won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and was named an ALA Notable book for both children and young adults. A sequel
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't think this sounded like a very interesting book at first(the first chapter was a little bland) but I soon found myself reading this book everywhere I went, even at a denny's restaurant with my grandparents. I finished it craving more. That's the kind of reader I am, but seriously, this book was very good. It had everything. Comedy, drama, fantasy things, a good plot, romance, and great characters. Especially Howl. Email me if you agree with me about this book, or just want to talk about it. :D
LarissaBookGirl on LibraryThing 2 days ago
In the land of Ingary there exists a powerful and feared wizard named Howl who is well known for his wickedness. Howl devours girls, taking their hearts. He also spends hours at a time in the bathroom. Howl is a brilliant and talented wizard who is charming and charismatic, however he is also messy, vain and a terrible coward. But that is to be expected from one as heartless as Howl.As the eldest of three daughters, Sophie is domed to a life of mundane boredom, and then the Witch of the Waste appears and curses her. Forced to leave her home Sophie soon finds herself on Howl's doorstep, however, changed as she is she feels quite safe that Howl would not be interested in her heart. But then again she could be wrong.Howl's Moving Castle is a dreamy story of magic and wonder where friendships, secrets, demons and danger follow Sophie's every move. In many ways it is a re-imagining of the Wizard of Oz with heartless Howl also searching for courage, a scarecrow looking for a brain and a lost Sophie looking for a place to call home. An intricate fairytale for all ages, but one you should pay close attention to if you are to lift the curses plaguing these colourful characters.
Jitsusama on LibraryThing 2 days ago
An awesome book! I had watched the movie first and I can say I love them both. The movie is almost a carbon copy until to get half way through, and then the focus completely shifts but maintains the same character. The ending is similar as well, though there are definite differences.I highly recommend this book as an amusing fantasy fairy tale with really likeable characters that progress as the story unfolds.
lunacat on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Wizard Howl's Castle has arrived at Market Chipping, skulking around the hills outside the town, and scaring the young girls into walking in pairs. After all, he eats the hearts of young girls.Meanwhile Sophie, the eldest daughter of three and so destined to be a failure or lead a boring life, finds that things have got a little more complicated than she imagined, as the Witch of the Waste turns her attention onto her. Needing help, Sophie ends up in the moving castle, seeking the dreaded Howl.This was a really fun fantasy story with layers of hilarity and humour throughout, as well as the well-realised fantasy world I have come to expect from this writer. Throw a disgruntled and moody fire demon, a nervy apprentice who is learning magic, some seven-league boots and a one-legged scarecrow into the pot and you get a fast paced and surreally funny story.Sometimes it felt that there were perhaps too many elements within this, but then I'd get swept along into the next twists and turns of Howl's love life, or Sophie's battles to get the Castle and its inhabitants under some form of control and forget that I was slightly bewildered by what was going on.In the end, it's discovered that no one should be taken at face value, and perhaps things aren't always as they seem, including the evil Howl himself. And if that message can be achieved with some fun and adventure along the way, who's going to complain?A whirlwind of colour and fun in this fantasy adventure.
vegaheim on LibraryThing 3 months ago
anime is quite good. book explains a litte more (of course) billy crystal as the fire in the hearth was really good. other well known names lend voices. young adult
shamille on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Woo! I finally read this book! After a FREAKING MONTH! Gosh homework really takes away from leisure reading.Anyway, of course you know that Miyazaki-sama made an anime called Howl's Moving Castle (i'm pretty sure that castle in the sky was by Jones as well). Well. Although that anime was frickin' awesome... my favorite Miyazaki-sama film...THE BOOK IS SOOO MUCH BETTER!Well, the movie is VERY loosely based on the novel. some differences: Michael is a teenager, Howl is even more dramatic, Sophie is feistier, Calcifer is... actually he's pretty much the same XD. The dog is actually good, the black doorknob goes to Wales of all places, there are no airplanes, no secret garden, and the witch does not end up being anyone's friend.I really like the book. Jones' writing style is so cool! I absolutely LOVE Howl in this book. LOVE HIM LOVE HIM LOVE HIM. You really have to read the book to read how great he is, even without his you know what! He's so dramatic, but he really is serious sometimes and is not as dumb as people (Sophie) think he is. Still a bit cowardly though ^_^. but he is absolutely... gosh love him. And Michael is adorable. Sophie is nothing short of hilarious. She acts like an old lady! She gets all mad at Howl courting all those ladies and cuts up all his suits! lololololol.I don't really have much to say about this book, but it is cute, funny, suspenseful, intriguing... just fantastic! A very refreshing Fantasy novel. I only wish there was more foreshadowing about Sophie and Howl's relationship... But I guess Howl would look particularly pervy taking small glances at Sophie so maybe it's better it was kept all secret-like.READ.THIS.BOOK.
Zmrzlina on LibraryThing 3 months ago
There are so many things I love about this book. A protagonist who is an old woman, a complicated plot that has riddles to figure out (which I never really figured out, but love them anyway), a non-gushy love story, lots of humor and seven-league boots. And, icing on it all, part of the story features Wales, one of my favorite places after only being there for 5 days :-)
t1bnotown on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This book I don't own because my boyfriend bought it. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, and I got very into the mysterious world and the question of just who Howl was. I found him to be an enchanting/romantic figure, and I was really rooting for Sophie to fix herself and him. I didn't like the movie version, however, and I thought it was very strange.
booksearcher on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Hilarious! I picked up this one to see if it would be anything like the movie, which I enjoyed. But this was better! It had me laughing out loud throughout the novel and I couldn't put it down to save my life. I recommend to anyone who 1. likes fantasy and 2. likes a good laugh.