Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones Book Review


Hi lovelies! Ever since I saw Howl's Moving Castle, it immediately became my favourite Studio Ghibli film - the charming characters, the love story, the beautiful animation... I have to watch it at least once a year to get my fix of it! Naturally the book that the film is based on has long been on my reading list! I finally got round to reading it recently so I thought I'd do a little review of it for any other Studio Ghibli fans who were thinking of reading it too.

* SPOILER WARNING: I've written this review for people who've seen the film but have not yet read the book, so if you fall into this category there will be no spoilers for you, but if you've not seen the film or read the book then there may be a few for you! *

One of the main reasons I picked up the book, other than to see where the film's beautiful story originated from, was I was curious to see how similar the two were. While there were a lot more characters and plot lines in the book, the film and the book were strikingly similar in their over-riding themes which shows just how well Hayao Miyaaki (the director of the film) and his team have succeeded in plucking out the heart of the story for the film. From reading the book you can see how the storyline has been streamlined for the film by combining certain characters and plot lines.


Because I'm so used to the simplified version of the story, it did feel at times like there were a few too many character/plot points than were necessary in the book. Despite this however, there was not a single dull moment! It was so lovely to get to know the characters that I already love from the film in even more detail - there's more of Sophie's sassiness and Calcifer's grumpiness, but I think my favourite had to be Howl. He was way more dramatic in the book. One of my most beloved scenes from the film is when he throws his extremely over-the-top temper tantrum over his hair dyes getting mixed up and to my delight there was even more to this in the book! Watch out for the chapter where he gets a cold... I could not wipe the grin off my face the entire time I read it!

The book also had more of a magical feeling to it than the film which I adored. Unlike the book, Hayao Miyazaki decided to give the film's story a war backdrop and while I think this helped simplify and tie some of the plot together a little better, it meant that a lot of the magic from the book was lost. And that magic was definitely a large part of what made me love the book so much! It felt like I was reading a cross between Harry Potter and The Hobbit which is a pretty spellbinding combination to me!

Overall, this was honestly one of the most charming books I've ever read. It was so wonderful to experience this beautiful story in more detail and I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner! If you're a fan of the film then I cannot recommend it enough, I'm sure you'll love it just as much, if not more!

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2 comments

  1. I loved reading this book and same as you I picked it up because I had watched and loved the film <3

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    1. Aaah it's such a lovely book isn't it? I'm so glad Studio Ghibli chose to make it into a film, it's the most magical little story! xx

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