Book Reads: Howl's Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones) [☝]

February 09, 2016

I first met Sophie, Howl, and the rest of the gang in the Studio Ghibli film adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle. I was very mystified by the plot because it left a lot of hanging questions for the audience to figure out themselves. Last month, I decided to rewatch the film after seeing Spirited Away for the second time with my sister (which I still enjoyed thoroughly). Because of that, those unanswered questions were revived again in my head. I decided to do some googling about the film, and that's when I found out that the story was actually based on a novel! Upon "getting hold" of the book, I just couldn't let it down. I got hooked on it. I was able to finish it in two weeks, which is an accomplishment for me.

The Novel Has It All
As I expected, the book got all the details I was looking for. It was a very detailed version of the movie. There were even some subplots that were omitted and some major ones that were altered in the original plot to simplify the movie version. Some of you might not have read the novel, and might like to read it too, so I will do my best to not give away too much spoilers here!

All I can say is that the book is as good as the movie. I have not been this hooked on a book since the Harry Potter days and I can say that the author has great storytelling skills, effectively making the book characters come to life. It can't be helped that I closely associated the characters with that of the movie version because I read the book right after I watched the movie. I realized it was a wrong move actually.

I think people who saw the movie without reading the book will have the same lingering questions I had, like the real reason the Witch of the West cursed Sophie and why she is going after Howl. These  things were answered in the book. There are also lots of extra characters in it that helped in making the story more entertaining and memorable.

My Favorite Character - Calcifer!

The obnoxious fire demon was adorable in the movie, and I was not disappointed because the character's novel version is all the same. In my opinion, Diana Wynne did a great job in building up this character's personality. He was such a comical creature. I somehow compared it to the witty characters in Harry Potter. There were a lot of similarities on how the humor was played. I really got attached to Calcifer's character actually.

Enjoyable Cofeehouse Reading Experience
I actually finished reading the book in a coffee shop. It was my first time to hang out and relax in that kind of public place. I was there because I was killing time before the One OK Rock concert. I have never felt so peaceful and focused reading a book. Now I understand why people like a coffeehouse as a place to read or study. I was so concentrated with what I was reading that I barely cared on what mostly happened in the cafe during my stay. All I noticed was that my "seatmates" kept changing as the hours passed by.

I really liked how I was so totally in the zone reading the book. I was able to read the best parts of the book while in the cafe and it added to the great experience because I was not entirely interrupted while I was reading (unlike if I did this at home) and I super loved it! I felt like I was fully transported into a different world. The sound of the general chattering inside the cafe echoed out as I was pulled into the world of Howl and Sophie. I really loved that book reading experience, and I reckon I'd be repeating that again the future (because I need some precious time of solitude :p).

Thanks to this book, I am now able to fully appreciate the magic and wonder of the story of Howl and Sophie. Though I am still not that satisfied on their romantic subplot, I was able to connect-the-dots on the other aspects of the story.

I'm really getting attached again to all things Studio Ghibli. My desire to go to Japan to visit the museum is just getting stronger. (´∀`) Hopefully, soon.

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3 (mga) komento

  1. I watched the movie for the first time just a couple of weeks ago. And like you, I googled about it. I want to get hold of the book along with the other two books in the series, Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways. Too bad they're hard to find here. :(

    1. Hi Cecille! If you are into online book shopping, there are copies over at Book Depository ( I am actually reading the second book already. Apparently it's not a continuation of the first book, but the story is still good.

      Good luck, I hope you find a copy of the book yourself!

    2. Thanks for the link! :)


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