Audiobook Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

December 22, 2011

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 the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.

Every once in a while, I’ll read a book that I can honestly say I have no clue what’s going on in it, but still I enjoy it very much.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones is one of those books.

Oh, sure, I can give you a rundown of the basic plot: Sophie pisses off the Witch of the Waste who then hits Sophie with a curse so that she turns into an old woman. Sophie, who previous to the curse had settled for being the oldest and therefore the one with no choices, leaves home so as not to freak anybody out and takes up residence in Howl’s castle, which moves across the countryside. Howl has a reputation for destroying young girls, but since Sophie’s no longer young, she’s not afraid. While staying with Howl, she meets Calcifer the fire demon who asks her to break a spell on him. And the other resident of the moving castle is Michael, Howl’s apprentice.

Then some stuff happens with seven league boots, moving between worlds, the witch, Howl being vain and trying to get all the ladies to love him, and Sophie being really nosy or ornery because she’s old. I mean, a lot happens that I can’t really explain so well.

All I do know is that I was completely wrapped up in the story.

This was my second time reading the book. The first time I read it in paperback form; this time, I listened to the audiobook. The narrator, Jenny Sterlin, is fantastic. All of the characters have different and distinct voices, even young Sophie compared to old Sophie.

I listened to most of the book on a very long road trip, and I will admit that I had to shut it off a few times because I got sleepy. I don’t know if it’s because the pace of the story is a little slow or what. But I did need a break from time to time.

That said, even though this was my second time reading the book, I can give you a better run down of some of the plot stuff, though I couldn’t remember the terms of Calcifer’s contract so kept missing all of the hints. And because I was listening instead of holding a physical book, I couldn’t mark the passages to go back and say, “ohhhhhh.” Which means I want to go back and re-read it again in paper form.

I do know that I had the exact same response to the end of the book that I had the first time I read it. It just makes me smile and smile and clap my hands together.

Also, Sophie is the best. Such a great character. I really kind of love her.

YA of the ’80s and ’90s: 7; Support Your Local Library: 40; YA Reading Challenge: 35; Howl’s Moving Castle: 7;  Page to Screen: 6

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