A magical read !
Howl’s Moving Castle being one of my favourite Miyazaki’s animated movies, I was happy to discover it is based on a book by none other than Diana Wynne Jones who’s Chrestomanci’s serie I loved as a kid.
So I started this book a bit anxious and with a lot of expectations… And I have been enchanted from the start ! I will admit that the images from the movies were very present while I was reading the first half of the book, so it may have helped.
In this story, we meet Sophie, the eldest of three girls who believes no adventures are awaiting for her, as those are always reserved to the youngest sibling. While her sisters go on apprenticeship elswhere, Sophie stays in her late father’s hatshop, where she works and works… and talks to her hats.
On the hills surrounding the town, can be seen a moving castle who belongs to the wicked wizard Howl, whose bad reputation preceeds him. The young girls are warned, he has a voracious appetite for ladies’ hearts…
Sophie’s troubles begin when the powerful Witch of the Waste crosses her path, and curses her to be turned into an old woman, and to never be able to talk about her curse. She has no other choice then to leave her house and… seek adventures of her own, and she will find them !
I couldn’t help but compare the book to the movie. The mood of the book is very similar to the mood of the movie, but the stories are quite different after a little while ! From the start you notice new characters, ones who are present in both versions but are different. Howl’s apprentice is older in the book. The Witch of the Waste has a bigger part in the book than in the movie, and she’s not caricatural. The war that is shown more in the movie is just mentionned here, which I enjoyed, as it’s a part I didn’t find as relevant to the story in the movie.
I enjoyed seeing how some scenes in the book have been transformed into something different in the movie.
Diana Wynne Jones’ writing is full of live, fun and if you’re familiar with her work, you’ll recognize some elements that are common with the Chrestomanci series.
This book has found a place in my favourite pile.
I recommand it to younger reader and older readers alike, anyone who is ready for a magic adventure and colourful characters !
See review on Goodreads.
La version française de ce livre existe, mais elle est très chère, que ce soit sur le site de la fnac ou sur amazon, le livre en format poche coûte 43 euros… Je suppose que cela est dû à l’arrêt de l’impression du livre et que l’on ne trouve plus que des versions d’occasion, en faible quantité? Si le livre vous intéresse, je ne peux que vous conseiller d’aller demander en librairie ce qu’il en est !