Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Review | "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones

I'm back with another book review! Finally! My last review dates back all the way to August, if you can believe that. I took some time off to study for exams I just finished with at the end of October and in doing so I've collected quite the list of books I need to review, so I'll just get right into my review over this week's book, "Howl's Moving Castle"- the first book in a series, though it can be read as a stand alone.
A lot of you may be familiar with the animated film adaptation of this book, but I went into the story only having heard some great things about it on Booktube, and I can't disagree with what all the reviews have been saying! 
Before I get into my thoughts more in detail, here's the book's Goodreads description: 

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye. 

This book was a lot of fun to read. It's typically classified as being middle-grade, though the main character is in her late teens and Howl is in his twenties, but something about the whimsical nature of the book, the innocence of the adventure, makes it a very good choice for younger readers as well as older readers who are just looking for something light. 
Now, that being said, I did have a few (though some rather minor) issues with the book, and here they are:
I'm not sure if the author intended for this book to be a middle grade story from the start, which would explain the word redundance and the tendency for some phrases to be written very simplistically. However, older readers might find that writing structure a little annoying, at least at the beginning of the book. 
A large chunk of the book passes without much plot development. That isn't necessarily a complaint, because I was still entertained by those passages, but it could have been trimmed down a bit so easily bored readers don't put the book down because it lacks action. That being said, the characters didn't seem to develop that much during those times where the story wasn't moving along. Neither independently, nor in their relationships to each other which is a little disappointing. A story that could have been more or less entirely character driven was pushed ahead by the magic and fantastical setting over the people living in the world. 
Also, the ending seemed rushed. It was thrown together in a way that seemed a little too silly. 
I wish the author would have spent less time on the more "boring" moments and elaborated the characters and the stories ending a little more.
All that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am interested in what the rest of the series has in store. 

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