Two Fun Fantasies
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Diana Wynne Jones wrote the delightful Howl’s Moving Castle in 1986. In 2008, she published the equally charming sequel, House of Many Ways. I picked up the second book first, but on learning that it had a predecessor, I decided to get the older book and read it first.

I’m glad I did, not only because the first in the series is required to be able to follow the second but also because both books are really good. The characters are funny and likeable and the stories are interesting and engrossing.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne JonesHowl’s Moving Castle is the story of Sophie, a young girl who is cursed by a witch and turned into an old woman. It is the old woman who has all the adventures and trials while trying to break the curse. Nice premise.

House of Many Ways centers on Charmain Baker, a young girl who House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jonesapparently has no magic. The story is set in the same world as the earlier and some of the characters reappear, but none of the original story is necessary for the enjoyment of this one. Charmain is assigned the task of taking care of the house of a great magician while he is being cared for at the home of the elves. Many adventures ensue.

By the way, Hayao Miyazaki directed an award-winning animated film loosely based on Howl's Moving Castle - The FilmHowl’s Moving Castle, but beware. Although the film is visually captivating, you’ll be amazed at how loosely the book was followed. In fact, it is almost unrecognizable. The plot is very different (centered on the traditional—and overused—good vs. evil theme) and even the characters are rearranged so that good guys become the bad guys and vice versa. I think the book was much more satisfying.

2011, Decision Consulting, Inc. (DCI). All rights reserved. All copies must include this copyright statement.

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