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Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

How would you cope with being cursed, and on top of that, you couldn't tell anyone? If you can't imagine yourself in that situation, turn to Sophie Hatter. Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three daughters apprenticing in her family owned hat shop, and holds the ability to find the best in worst, by discovering personalities in inanimate objects. Throughout her hometown of Market Chipping, there are rumors and gossip about Wizard Howl amidst those of war. Wizard Howl has a reputation for eating the hearts of young and beautiful girls.

“It doesn't involve me-I'm old and ugly,” Sophie tells the hats one crisp evening before heading out to see her younger sister, Lettie Hatter, apprenticing at the town's bakery. Unfortunately, Sophie encounters and ticks off the towns other hot gossip, the Witch of the Waste.

Sophie wakes up the next morning with crackling bones, too many wrinkles everywhere and white hair. She gathers a loaf of bread and her shawl and sets out to seek the help of Wizard Howl. “He can't be too hard to find, living in a moving castle,” thinks Sophie.

During the book, Sophie meets an array of characters, amongst those being her least favorite vegetable, aka Turniphead. Once a young and aspiring man, Turniphead regrettably crossed the Witch of the Wastes path in a negative manner, and is now a scarecrow. Sophie also befriends Calcifer, a fire demon who is cursed to the hearth by contract. Sophie goes on a topsy-turvy adventure to break her curse and Calcifers. Once again, Jones has managed to end the tale with a satisfactory close.

Jones got the inspiration for the book from a young boy she taught during her teaching days at elementary school. Though she can't quite remember where she put the name of the boy, and his original title, she intended the novel to be for young children and adults.

Like most books, Howl's Moving Castle has been adapted to a major motion picture by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Like most books, the movie has very little in common with the book, though both held as funny, charming and enjoyable.



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