The Adventures of Howl and Sophie--Diana Wynne Jones

This series has been my latest obsession. And for those of you who have seen Miyazaki’s animated version of the first book Howl’s Moving Castle know that, while the movie is really good, it’s nothing like the book. That being said, I’m going to write a review of each book in the series:

Howl’s Moving Castle (1986)

I don't know why I love this book so much. It's weird, it's wishy washy, and it's AMAZING. The little quirks it has just make it such a wonderful story. And how the romance slowly blossoms... ah! I love it!

It follows the structure of a European fairy tale and tells the story of Sophie Hatter. Sophie is the eldest of three girls and is thereby destined to lead a very average life. However, a visit from the Witch of the Waste changes all that when she turns Sophie into an old woman! Sophie strikes out on her own then and runs into the fearsome wizard Howl (who turns out to be not so fearsome) and sets out on the greatest adventure of her life: cleaning Howl’s Moving Castle, and falling in love along the way.

This book is, as I said, AMAZING. It’s got a lot going at the same time and yet I remained perfectly calm while reading it and was able to enjoy every last bit. It seems like it was written by a very… young writer. The story is just so pure and untainted that it just kind of… oh. I can’t find the word to describe it. Go read it yourselves.

Castle in the Air (1991)

This is my least favorite out of the series because you don’t see a lot of Sophie and virtually nothing of Howl. It follows a carpet seller who falls in love with a princess but she is stolen from him by a powerful djinn. Of course, the carpet seller(I’m calling him that because I’ve TOTALLY blanked on his name) goes off to save her.

This book had more the feeling of a middle-eastern legend (think Aladdin) and thereby didn’t connect with me as much. Plus, this one was really, really plot driven, unlike Howl’s or House which just seemed to float along, and I missed the innocence of the other books. (I don’t think innocence is the right word, but it’s the closest I can get)

House of Many Ways (2008)

I ran off to buy this as soon as I finished Castle because I could not wait to read it! The main character in this book is Charmain, who is volunteered to look after her great-uncle William’s house (He also happens to be the royal wizard of High Norland) while he is ill. While watching the house she runs into a great purple Lubbock, a clumsy apprentice, and is taken on to help with the king’s library. While at the royal mansion she meets the sorceress Sophie Pendragon, who has been called upon to help the royals with a very serious problem. And wherever Sophie is, you know Howl and Calcifer aren’t far behind.

LOVED this book, mostly because it had A LOT more Howl and Sophie than Castle did. Howl was so funny! This one seemed to carry the same “innocence” as Howl’s and thereby left me feeling happy and light when I finished it. Although when I did finish it I felt very angry that there was not a fourth book I could run to.

Which brings me to my last statement—you may have noticed that I added the year of publication after each title. Why? To show you that absurdity! Howl’s was published in 1986, and then people had to wait 5 years to get Castle and then another SEVENTEEN YEARS to get House. HOW COULD PEOPLE WAIT THAT LONG? I’m really glad I became truly obsessed with the series (I had read Howl’s about two years ago as well) after House came out. I may not have been able to go on.

Well, I believe I’ve blathered enough.

~Enna Isilee


  1. DWJ made such a huge impact on me during my high school years. Howl's Moving Castle is my favorite, followed by Dog Star. or maybe her griffin books. I didn't know about House of Many Ways. I can't wait to read it!

  2. Great reviews! I've read a lot of her books but can you believe I haven't read these yet? One day I'll get around to going on another DWJ binge.

  3. OHMIGOSH there's a THIRD one? I must go find it!

  4. Yeah, I wonder how we could wait that long... *eyeroll*

    I really want to read House of Many Ways, but it's going to have to wait. She's my 2nd favorite author, only to Shannon. I seriously love her books to death.

  5. Howls Moving castle is a great book!(I also watched the movie !:)

    I just started a read & review blog got any pointers?
    Drop by anytime,

  6. I have the first two to read just waiting for me to find some spare time. I got turned on to her this year and really enjoyed Fire and Hemlock. WIll bump these up my list thanks.

  7. I have all of these and have only read the first which I LOVED even though I thought it was somewhat slow at times. I also adored the movie to no end. I must find time to read the other two!!! It's so neat that Castle was published the year I was born. It's a sign that I must hurry up and read it already :)

    Glad you enjoyed them so much.


Thank you so much for commenting! I read each and every one.

Please be aware that any comments under an "anonymous" user are subject to deletion, as well as cruel or unnecessarily rude comments (because sometimes it's necessary to be rude.*wink*). Comments on posts older than 2 weeks are also moderated, and may take a few days to appear.

Related Posts with Thumbnails