Cannonball Read #19: Howl's Moving Castle

The one book I've managed to read this month is, shockingly, a YA book. I was interested in Howl's Moving Castle after watching the Miyazaki film of the same name, mostly because parts of that movie just do not make sense. Do things make more sense in the book? Mostly. But without Joe Hisaishi's romantic waltz of a score and Studio Ghibli's magical animation, the novel turns out to be a fairly innocuous coming-of-age tale.

Sophie Hatter is the oldest sister of three. She's resigned herself to a mundane, frumpy life in a hat shop, secure in the knowledge that only bad things happen when the eldest seeks out her fortune. Her life is interrupted when she offends the Witch of the Waste in a rare bout of sauciness. The witch ages Sophie's body to that of a 90-year-old. Sophie flees the hat shop and finds herself more confident with herself, knowing that people forgive the actions of old people. She finds shelter from a threatening looking scarecrow in the feared wizard Howl's castle.

She soon finds out Howl's reputation is to ward off unwanted attention and that the real Howl is "slither-outer" young man. I think we've all met that guy: the 20-something with potential, but a desire to do as little as possible. So yeah. Adventures ensue as Howl is also under a curse from the Witch of the Waste, and Sophie gets to know Howl's apprentice, Michael, and Howl's fire demon, Calcifer, better. And then she's trying to keep her younger sisters safe as best she can.

It's not a spectacular novel, but it's fun. It somehow took me a month to read, but that was more out of pure busy-ness rather than disinterest. It's a great story about not giving up on yourself not doing anything or trying to get out of things you know you should do. The mythology of the story is fairly easy to follow, and you know I love some romance tossed in, too. Nice, light reading.

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