Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

The only Diana Wynne Jones I read as a child was The Ogre Downstairs. I enjoyed it, but not enough to go chasing up any of her other books. Over the last couple of years, having discovered that a lot of people are very enthusiastic about her, I have been reading her books on and off. Howl’s Moving Castle has been the most recent, inspired by the fact that Hayao Miyazaki has made a film version of it (and I just loved his Spirited Away) and this had lead to a certain amount of discussion about the book on both Girlsown and Child_Lit.

With the exception of Fire and Hemlock, I’m just not seeing the magic a lot of people find in DWJ. For me, most of her books are enjoyable enough, but nothing extraordinary – and there have been one or two (e.g. A Tale of Time City) that I found all but unreadable.

Howl’s Moving Castle fell into the “pleasant enough” category. The story had some interesting ideas, but I wasn’t particularly grabbed by any of the characters. I didn’t dislike them, but I found them rather on the bland side – which surprised me a little, since I gather some people list Howl as one of their all-time favourite heroes. Obviously DWJ is just one of those authors I’m somehow missing the point of.

1 Comment

  1. Books, Movies and Random Thoughts » Blog Archive » Howl’s Moving Castle at the State Theatre said,

    November 25, 2005 at 11:06 pm

    […] Although I’m not a huge Diana Wynne Jones fan, I read Howl’s Moving Castle a few months ago (see my comments on it), in preparation for the film. It didn’t make an overly strong impression on me, so going into the film I found I could only remember the broad outlines of the plot and characters. Even so, it was enough to know that the film was very different from the book – in fact, I’d hesitate to call it a “film version” of the book. I think it existed in a grey area between “based on” and “inspired by” – sort of like the Olivier film of Wuthering Heights. It took characters and events from the book, but added to, excised from and reworked the material to produce something that was fundamentally different at all levels. […]

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