Sophie is turned into a 90 year old woman after she upsets the notorious Witch of the Waste. She decides to take residence in the wizard Howl’s moving castle as their cleaning lady, hoping her curse will be broken. She will clean all his rooms (mostly against his will), befriend his apprentice Michael and fire demon Calcifer and end up trying to help Howl who has got a curse of his own.
I was not surprised after reading in an interview with Diana Wynne Jones, that many young girls declare themselves to be in love with Howl. And it really is hard not to fall for him. The vain, charming, dashing and powerful wizard Howl. The coward, the liar, and the heart-breaker.
But – the real hero of this story is Sophie. You will find yourself rooting for her once she turns into an old woman. Now Sophie will speak her mind, be rude and gruff when she feels like it and not stand for Howl’s messiness or his heart-eating or his slitherer-outer ways. She will put everyone in their place and win them over.
Howl’s Moving Castle is a really fun, short read. I feel that each sentence of this book is precious and perfect. I also love Hayao Miyazaki’s anime adaptation, but for some reason they are loosely related. I suppose I can say that I love the anime as a separate thing, the artwork is just beautiful. Nevertheless, it is a mystery to me why they did not add the Wales storyline to the anime. It is just bizarre when Howl steps through the castle door to a world of cars and computers, and I love that sort of thing. It makes me feel like I’m a part of this story, now that it takes place in my reality as well.
This is truly a book for all ages. I recommended it to my thirteen year old cousin yesterday, and I recommend it to you now, whatever age you are. Here it is, with simple prose, some comedy, a bit of romance and the very best storytelling.