Sophie Hatter is a completely normal girl. Well, normal in that she lives in the land of Ingary where fairy tales and magic are real. Normal in that she was placed under a curse by the Witch of the Waste (a curse that she is physically unable to discuss) and must now set out in search of her fortunes, despite being the eldest of three sisters which means she is inevitably doomed to fail.She stumbles across the castle of the Wizard Howl (who is rumored to eat the souls of young women), but all of that is normal enough I suppose. Adventures abound as Sophie attempts to break her own curse whilst figuring out the mysteries surrounding Howl and his fire demon Calcifer.
Things I loved:
The characters. What a beautiful cast this story has! Each character is uniquely lovely and I found myself smitten with each one. Sophie is very human and easy to relate to. Howl is simply lovable with his mood swings. Even the Witch of the Waste has a hauntingly intriguing quality about her. I couldn’t help but laugh at Cal’s funny antics and side comments, and having seen the film, I genuinely loved the depth that Sophie’s sisters had. (Something lacking in the film as they are not a main player.
The writing style. A mixture of fantasy and a conversation with a good friend…if that makes sense?
Things I didn’t like:
If you are looking for an epic fantasy adventure, this isn’t it. It was often presented to me as such and so that is what I was looking for. It is more of a fantasy based mystery and I loved it for that, but it always takes a while to settle into a book with a different genre than you were expecting.
“Things are going round and round in my head–or maybe my head is going round and round in things.”
If you are a fan of fairy tale novels and books that throw you into a whirl wind adventure outside of your own, you’ll love it. If you are a fan of the movie, prepare for a longer tale that is quite different, but equally enchanting!