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Publisher's Summary

A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and ALA Notable and Best of the Year in Young Adult Fiction, Howl's Moving Castle is by acclaimed fantasy writer Diane Wynne Jones and was transformed into an Academy Award nominated animated motion picture by Hayao Miyazaki. On a rare venture out from her step-mother's hat shop, Sophie attracts the attention of a witch, who casts a terrible spell transforming the young girl into an old crone.

©1986 Diana Wynne Jones (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC

What the critics say

"A wonderful blend of humor, magic, and romance." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly delightful

I was taken by surprise with this enchanting story and amazing narration. Diana Wynne Jones nails it with her voices and characterisation. I think I listened to this book twice in a row, and a third time a month later. It is a charming and imaginative story and I can't recommend it enough! #Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Magical!

This book brings it all. A strong heroine, exotic locations, wicked witches, and helpful demons. I recommend this one to everyone. #Audible1 is prompting me to write a review so I think it best to start with one that I love. Jenny Sterlin does a fantastic job. While I'm not a proper judge of welsh accents, it did not cause me to pull my hair out in frustration the way some have in the past. Welsh is a hard one to get and I think she does a fine job.

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Well Written and Well Read

I really enjoy the story, world building, and character building in all 3 of the books in this series. It is different from the Ghibli Movie based on it. Neither is better in my opinion, they both excel in different ways. Well worth the read for children and adults. Jenny Sterlin is an excellent reader.

#Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Super good book #Audible1

Very good book I definitely give it a read it’s funny and I read it like five times and plan to continue to read it again and again and again that’s how good it #Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it!

This book was great, the author has an amazing imagination. Only complaint is that the ending seemed to quick, considering how slowly the rest of the story line was.
#Audible1

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Loved it

Such a cute story, and it's wonderful to see where the inspiration for the animated film came from. Likewise, it's nice to have a more flushed out version. The book explains many details that were glossed over in the film.
You definitely get the feeling of a classic fairytale, but also the twist of more modern literature as well as little quirks of humor sprinkled in in such a way that you don't see it coming.
Between the writing style and the story it's self, it's quite unlike anything I've ever read before. Which is saying something, I'm a huge book worm. It's a very unexpected and refreshingly off kilter kind of book. I would very much recommend it.
I am absolutely in love with the narrator. This was my first audio book, and I was really struggling to find a narrator that I liked. Even with books that were favourites of mine that I have read personally, most narrators just didn't do it for me. The narrator sounds much like the woman who voiced Sophie in the films. She's perfect. Her voices for the different characters are different enough to bring them all to life, but not so over the top to make them tedious or distracting from what's being said. Very easy to listen to. I absolutely plan on looking at the other titles she voices for as future audio book choices.

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Enchanting & Rich

I love this story. Very rich, full of magic, and wonderful characters. This is the book that Studio Ghibli based their movie on, but I believe the novel is so much better than the movie (and it was a fantastic movie!) #Audible1

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so good!

I grew up with Ghibli films and howls moving castle was my favorite one by far. I am so glad I finally got to listen to the book it was based on.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

far better than the movie

the books usually are but I didn't realize the movie was based on a book. the characters are so highly developed and it really clarifys some of the peculiarities of the movie.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Character Motivations Lacking and Shallow

I understand that this is a children’s book... but I found it too shallow. I felt that the author was trying too hard for the story and characters to be whimsical that it felt forced.

The narrator did what she could.

I recommend anyone interested in this... to watch the animation from Studio Ghibli instead.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Christopher
  • Woodinville, WA, United States
  • 2012-07-02

Very Entertaining

I picked this title up because I vaguely remember the movie from a few years back and thought it would be a nice light listen that my 5 year old and I could enjoy together on the road. I was more than correct. Both my daughter and I could not wait to go for drives while listening to this book. The story was fun, light and thoroughly enjoyable, and Jenny Sterlin's performance was...(forgive me as I can't resist) ... sterling. She has distinct, consistent, and appropriate voices for each of the characters. My daughter and I were entranced, and highly entertained. I highly recommend this title for someone looking for a light, child-friendly listen...but if you are looking for an strictly adult level book, I should warn you that this is definitely a "children's story" at its heart.

43 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elisa
  • Kingston, NY, USA
  • 2009-10-23

Howl's Moving Castle is Amazing!

OMG!! I actually clapped my hands while driving the car (alone, mind you) when the reader spoke the last words of this amazing audiobook. I LOVE the movie, but Miyazaki's version is so far removed from Jones' original novel, I was astonished. I enjoyed every second listening to cantankerous Sopie and vain Howl and manic Calcifer. Oh, how I want a Calcifer of my own! A wonderful, wonderful story for kids and adults.

53 of 55 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 2009-01-11

Great book for all ages

I really love this book, it is inventive and rich in so many ways. It has themes that appeal to all ages, and playfully tweaks the fantasy genre while creating one of the most memorable wizards in literature. The story is quite different than the movie version, with surprises right up until the end. The narrator has a unique voice, but I liked her interpretation, and highly recommend this audiobook.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Randall Hayes
  • 2010-05-24

One of my favorite books

I downloaded "Howl's Moving Castle" based on all the great reviews, even though I had never heard of this book. I have young children and like to read ahead and give them good recommendations. That being said, I absolutely loved this book. I listened once, then had to listen again the minute I was done. I am now reading it outloud with my kids - although I am not nearly as entertaining to listen to as Jenny Sterlin (narrator). As a matter of fact, I am wondering if I loved this book so much because of the great narration or the amazing story. I am eager to get going on the sequel - "House of Many Ways."

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Candace
  • Amarillo, TX, United States
  • 2012-09-26

Better than the movie... and that's saying a lot.

It is quite different than the movie. Some parts are similar, sometimes things that happened at the beginning of the movie happen at the end of the book and vice versa. I liked the characters a lot more, in the book, as there was plenty of time to flesh them out and get into their issues.

This all being said, I might have had a difficult time understanding the magical side of things, the house in 4 places, the change, Calcifer, the scarecrow... without having seen the movie first. Personally, I'm glad I saw it first, then read the book. I was so much more pleased with it then had it been the other way around.

The movie had it's own agenda, which wasn't in this book at all, and that was the war. I mean, war was suggested as a possibility in the future, but that wasn't the point of the book. And honestly, that annoyed me in the movie. The book, instead, focused on characters, vibrant descriptions, mystery and excitement.

Quite good and very enjoyable. :)

48 of 51 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vonda
  • Bloomfield, KY, United States
  • 2012-03-29

Nothing like the Movie-The book is so much better!

What made the experience of listening to Howl's Moving Castle the most enjoyable?

I watched the movie with my kids and was struck that some movie events did not relate to each other. A sure clue that the book has been selectively abridged for the screenplay. The book's story and movie actually are two entirely different stories that cover the same characters and some events. This book is great! The movie now disappoints, even though it was an Academy Award nom. Ghibli films are always well done, but Ms. Jones wrote a much better book!

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jana
  • Riverside, CA, USA
  • 2010-04-16

Enchanting tale

Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite authors, though she is not well known. This book is one of her few more lighthearted tales, and is one of my favorite books. It revolves around a girl named Sophie who feels herself to be drab and uninteresting and wanders away from her home when she is cursed by the Witch of the Waste. She winds up in the home of the evil and flamboyant Wizard Howl - turning both of their lives upside down, resulting in hilarity, disaster, and happy endings.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ty McGlinn
  • 2011-02-08

Stays with you for days

This is a great book, read by a great narrator. I loved listening to the story unfold and could really feel the character development. I usually have to be working on something while listening to an audiobook, but I could just sit around with this and listen to it over and over again. The writing is funny, quick, and original, and Jenny Sterlin brings Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer to life. Especially Sophie; I loved her character tremendously. I'm about to make a bold statement and don't want to cause any controversy, but this is the kind of performance that makes the audio version better than the written one, and I mean that with full compliments to Diana Wynne Jones. A painting is only as good as the drawing underneath.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tyng
  • washington, Virgin Islands (U.S.)
  • 2011-02-08

Stays with you for days

This is a great book, read by a great narrator. I loved listening to the story unfold and could really feel the character development. I usually have to be working on something while listening to an audiobook, but I could just sit around with this and listen to it over and over again. The writing is funny, quick, and original, and Jenny Sterlin brings Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer to life. Especially Sophie; I loved her character tremendously. I'm about to make a bold statement and don't want to cause any controversy, but this is the kind of performance that makes the audio version better than the written one, and I mean that with full compliments to Diana Wynne Jones. A painting is only as good as the drawing underneath.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-12-21

a cute story about female empowerment

howl's moving castle is a cute and creative story about female self empowerment. it also plays like a young adult Jane Austen story with magic. the lead character Sophie has a strong gift for magic but doubts herself. she's 18 years old and a witch turns her 90 years old. when that happens she leaves home to search her fortune. when she was young, she was fearful and overwhelmed with responsibility of being the oldest and inhereriting a family hat shop. now that she's 90, she has less concern of what other people think of her and doesn't feel intimidated by others. this is when she forces her way into wizard howl's castle and life. this is all in the first few chapters and then the main action of the story line unfolds with wicked witches, whimsical kings and missing princes and wizards, and colorful characters. then there's subplots of Austen-like match making.

it's a light and fun read with a stronger message about self image and natural talents.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful