House of Many Ways (World of Howl)

By Diana Wynne Jones

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nicholas metz
I have loved Diana Wynne Jones for years (gad! over 25 of them). Each book is a unique pearl, well written, engaging, and delightful fun. I heartily recommend all of her work and this one is no exception to that. Delightful.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deb stapleton
What I love about this series is that, while the characters are consistent across books, each of the stories are different. Jones wrote this series before the trilogy became a publishing prerequisite, which I think makes the quality of this book possible. The story ends abruptly, as the other two seem to do, but it is a worthy sequel to the previous books about Howl, Sophie, and their moving castle.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
alex grube
To start with I have to say that I am great fan of Diana Wynne Jones and her stunning way of writing and this book was my first encounter with her. But in comparison with its prequels: Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air, its story is rather dull and some times even boring - especially in the first part of the book, where Charmain (main character)explores the house she was delegated to take care of.

Jones lets loose her imagination but doesn't develop as she did in the previous two books.
The Art of Howl's Moving Castle :: Castle in the Air (Howl's Castle Book 2) :: The Art of Spirited Away :: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark :: Ten Apples Up On Top!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nancy elinich
I loved the fact that it was the sequel to Howls moving castle and that it incorporated the same type them and adventurous them as Howls moving castle. I absolutely loved this book, I couldn't put it down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
david padmore
The House of Many Ways is one of three books containing Howl (of Howl's Moving Castle.) But the story is really more about the niece of another "famous" wizard. I really enjoyed this particular Diane Wynne Jones story (and I've read them all). This book was shipped very fast and in excellent condition. I would purchase from this seller again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
johnny
Every one of the Howl's Moving Castle books are excellent. The are all vastly different yet tie together where it counts. I love them all and this particular one was interesting and funny and mysterious.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dionne delli gatti
First I saw Studio Ghibli's version of Howl's Moving Castle, and I fell in love with the story, characters, everything. Then I learned about the books, and I oredered them without hesitation. All I can say is: I sincerely recommend them to any fantasy novel lover. Simple, fun, magical. Trully lovable, especially House of Man Ways.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melissa law penrose
I started reading the Howl books after I saw the movie and was delighted to find that there was more than one book. As different as the book is from the movie I found it highly enjoyable and purchased the rest of the series for myself and my kids. I would recommend it for younger readers also as the language for the most part is easy to understand.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ginbquik
I love it! A witty, rollicking story much in the writing style of the original Howl's Moving Castle. The characters have great chemistry, the plot is exciting and, best of all, features the beloved characters from Howl's Moving Castle. Great story. An entertaining read. Well worth what you pay for!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
esporterfield
Enjoyed the return of many favorite characters, including Calcifer, Howl (as a twee toddler), and Sophie. However, the heroine sounded all too much like bossy Sophie and neither she nor the boy protagonist was a well defined character.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
manni
This book is a perfect addition to the Howls Moving Castle series. The author keeps true to the characters you have become familiar with while bringing colorful new scenery and personalities... Plus Howl turning himself into a beautiful little boy with a lisp named Twinkle... Only he would.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
holly sanders
I always enjoy Diana Wynn Jones' books, they are the perfect escapes. This is one of my favorites along with Howl's Moving Castle. It is pure fantasy and very entertaining. I have read it 3 times already. The young Charmain learns about life and magic as she is plucked from a sheltered life into the middle of a magical house. There she has a years' worth of adventures in just a few days.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
juan pablo caro
I've read all three Howl's Castle books. The first book is entirely charming and fun to read. I bought the second trying to recapture the magic of the first. I was unsuccessful. This effort falls farther from the mark. The characters are not warm and their development never becomes comfortable. The plot is thin and the end unsatisfying.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jennifer evangelista
I have read all three books of this trilogy to my 7 year old daughter and we have loved them. She thought this was the funniest of the books and I think it is as entertaining as Howl's Moving Castle. We have moved on to more of Diana Wynne Jones' books after taking a break from Harry Potter. These are far lighter and age suitable.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sean k cureton
Diana Wynne Jones does not disappoint. Once I have finished with this wonderful book, I'm going to try to get a hold of more of her works. This is perfect for young readers, the casual reader, and anyone who enjoys fantasies.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
suzie
Came in perfect condition. Haven't read it, I actually bought this for my niece who loves the movie, Howl's Moving Castle. I'm sure she'll be ecstatic to receive this for Christmas, as she is a book worm!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
voodidit
I liked the story. I thought the link with Howl's moving castle was thin, and had hoped to read more about those characters. They do not appear as satisfying in this story, but the heroine is sweet and resourseful, able to solve problems on her own and take her destiny into her own hands. I would read it again, but I am not sure I would buy it, I may only get it from the library.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
joaqu n padilla
Suitable for teen or adults it has nicely drawn characters and a good plot although not outstanding. The trick that "The Boke of Palimpsest" plays could have been taken better advantage of. Not a bad ending but not entirely great. Overall a good read.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ethnargs
I am so very suprised by this book. I Loved Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air, I am not upset that Sophie and Howl play minor characters in the sequels simply because I think it would be boring to read about their married life. After all their story was sewed up nicely in the first book as was Abdullah's and Flower-in-the-Nights in the second. So I was happy to return to this series following a new person who would interact with old characters and yet carve out her own story. So I was extremely frustrated when the new person Charmaine Baker did absolutly NOTHING at all.

Everything about Charmain bugged me. A young naive and pampered girl who doesnt know how to care for herself is sent off to look after her Uncle's magical house. Inside the house she is met with many strange spells and puzzles along with a cute dog named Waif. The coolest thing about the house is that although it appears to have only two rooms the door opens to many different places some of them dull but many of them unexplored and exciting. And here we have an fantastic possiblity with what seems could be endless adventures for Charmain going through the doors and exploring with her Apprentice Peter.

However instead of expressing excitement at this Charmain doesn't really seem interested and instead complains about the messes she is expected to clean, the difficulty of having to navigate the house. She complains about her parents and her Uncle who is ill. And although she agreeded to look after the house she neglects her chores and leaves messes wherever she goes.All that would be fine if she learned after awhile that her selfish and insensitve behaviour has to change. But she never really does grow or mature.

She admits that she is unkind and unsymphatetic to people and resolves to be more kind but she still acts mean and bratty to her uncles apprentice Peter who is mostly kind to her. When he needs her help she often ignores him leaves him to clean things or fix things that she could fix herself.

The worst thing she does in my opinion is in chapter 13. She enlist the help of Calcifer the fire demon to kill the Lubbock. (The Lubbock is supposed to be a deadly and sinister character who reviewers I have read have called the scariest vilian in the series...Hes not) after a somewhat anti-climatic battle between what was supposed to be the deadly and scary Lubbock in which Calicifer uses the Flying castles to squash the lubbock in a really lame battle he then has to destroy the lubbock eggs which are just as deadly.

Calcifer takes the eggs and goes to where? we don't know and in Charmains case she doesnt seem to even care. Peter says he has to make sure Calcifer is alright and all Charmain says is "I think I'm going to read a book..." I mean come on!! a battle just happened albeit a boring and ridiculously lame battle but still have some emotion please!!!

In the book Peter says Charmain hides behind her ignorance because she is simply lazy and thats the way the whole book feels lazy the plot could be interesting if the main character was interesting.

Sorry for the rant but I honestly feel like if Charmain was more likable the book could be as well. I mean you have a girl spending chapters at a time learing to do her laundry???

the only good part of this book really is Waif the cute tiny dog with the huge appetite.

Read the books if your a fan of the series you will like seeing the old charactes but you have to put up with Charmain Baker in the meantime.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
nathank
I bought House of Many Ways and Howl's Moving Castle at the same time to read to my daughter. I started with Howl's moving castle and then we just finished House of Many Ways, except it's not finished. This edition was damaged (well it looked fine, but while reading it I noticed a few of the pages were shorter than the rest, but I didn't think anything of it) at the end of the book however it's missing pages. The very last sentence just cuts off mid word right before the wrap up. Of course its taken us a while to read through both books so I can't return them. I just wanted to let other people know at least that my copy is defective. I am usually one of those people who gripe when people give a low rating based on packing or some other silly reason, so I do want to say the story was delightful and my daughters love it. Now I have to go purchase another copy so my kids can stop bugging me about the ending.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
todd gaulin
One of the best things about a Diana Wynne Jones story is her characters, and House of Many Ways is no exception. I love Charmain, even when she’s completely exasperating. As someone who really just wants to be left alone with a good book, she’s a girl after my own heart. But, through her interactions with Peter, her uncle’s supposed wizardly apprentice, you learn that Charmain has never really had to do very much for herself and she’s ignorant in how to fend for herself and incredibly lazy about doing most basic household chores. I could empathize with Peter in this as well–we all have at least one person in the household who acts like they don’t know how to pick up after themselves (or is that just my house?). Although, the other part of me totally gets it because obviously reading > chores.

Also, if you’re a fan at all of Sophie and Howl their appearances here are quite more substantial than the second book in the ‘series’, Castle in the Air. Sophie appears at the King’s house with not one but two children in tow–one of which is Howl bespelled as a four year old boy. Howl doesn’t want to cooperate with the King and Sophie’s at her wit’s end with him and his antics but this has to be the most hilarious form of protest ever as no one except Sophie and Calcifer know that Sophie’s elder ‘child’ is actually her husband. Howl really gets into the part, too.

The plot of the book starts out fairly simple–Charmain goes to watch her uncle’s house while he’s away recovering from an illness. But of course things are never that simple when wizards are involved and Charmain finds herself tangled up into quite a mess involving supernatural creatures, wizards, wizard apprentices, and royalty. The kobalds and their demands are quite the thing for Charmain and Peter to contend with, but the lubbocks are another thing entirely. These creatures mean business, and that business is to sneak up behind you and lay their eggs inside you so you can birth their half-lubbock/half-human hybrid children. The lubbocks are truly the stuff of nightmares. *shudders*

Sometimes it felt like there was a little bit to much going in the story, what with the kobalds, the stray dog, Peter suddenly showing up, the lubbocks, the king, wizardly antics, and the house’s strange ways–it felt a bit chaotic at times. And yet everything ties up nicely in the end.

Overall, The House of Many Ways is a fun book full of quirks and if you’re a fan at all of Diana Wynn Jones and haven’t read this one yet, I highly recommend it.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
erika johnson
I read Howl's Moving Castle aloud with my kids and they LOVED it. The Castle in the Air was good, although not as good as Howl's. The House of Many Ways started out well, but started describing lubbocks - evil insectile creatures who prey on humans and use then as hosts for their eggs to develop - and lubbockins - who are the half-breed human/lubbock creatures. I am glad I read this ahead of where my kids were reading. I stopped, and deleted the book from my Kindle and my Kindle library. I will not read any other books by this author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ivette
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon.com. Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

'House of Many Ways; is another sequel to 'Howl's Moving Castle'. Similarly to 'Castle in the Air', Howl and Sophie feature less prominently and the novel is about a new character - Charmain 'Charming' Barker.

Charmain has so far lead a sheltered life, going to the most respectable school, keeping her hands clean and reading many books. So when she finds herself ordered to look after her sick Great Uncle William's house, she finds herself a bit lost - even with his unearthly directions. Charmain finds herself going in every dimension, but then things are complicated further by the arrival of Peter and a Lubbock.

While elements of this novel are funny, I wouldn't have said it was up to the standards of Jones' usual masterpieces. Charmain is engaging, but you feel like she's too much of a lazy idiot (despite her interjections to the contrary) to be too likeable. This isn't a fault with Jones' characterisation - indeed Jones has said that the characters often write themselves, so she has done the best she could with what she had. The narrative builds similarly to the other two books in this series, but it is certainly not formulaic in any kind.

I'd recommend this novel again for teenagers, and older children. At times it can be quite scary for a young child, so I would advise supervised reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jonathan poisner
House of Many Ways (2008) is the sequel novel to Howl's Moving Castle. The King of High Norland is looking for the Elfgift and missing tax receipts. Howl and Sophie are asked to help in the searches.

In the previous volume, Fanny could not afford to keep the girls in school after their father died. Sophie had just graduated and was ready to move on, but Lettie and Martha had to drop out. Fanny got Martha apprenticed to a local witch and Lettie apprenticed to the bakery shop.

Sophie was trained to take over the hattery. She already knew most everything about the shop and took over trimming the hats. She worked long hours and spent most of her time talking to the hats.

The hats she trimmed were well received and attracted the attention of marriageable men. One customer married a count and the Mayor's wife was very contented with her own. Yet Sophie was working very hard and going nowhere.

Sophie wanted to visit her sisters, but kept putting off the trip. Then on May Day, she went to visit Lettie at the bakery. Yet the sister she found was Martha. She had swapped places with Lettie and both were much happier. Still, Martha said that Fanny was exploiting Sophie.

Then the Witch of the Waste came into the hattery one evening and cursed Sophie. The girl grew old and got the aches and pains of the aged. So Sophie left the shop and went out into the night.

In this novel, Charmain Baker is the daughter of the High Norland City baker. She is a reader and always has her nose in a book. She has no chores and doesn't volunteer to run any errands.

Sempronia is Charmain's aunt. She is a very imperious lady who usually gets what she wants.

William Norland is the Royal Wizard of High Norland. He is Charmain's great-uncle by marriage.

Peter is the apprentice of William. He is very handy around the house.

Waif is William's dog. He is a very likeable, but persistent, creature.

Adolphus is the King of High Norland. He has one daughter, Princess Hilda.

Howl is a wizard who lives in a moving castle. He had a very bad reputation, but now is known as the wizard who defeated the Witch of the Waste. He is married to Sophie.

Sophie Jenkins is the stepdaughter of Fanny Hatter and is the oldest of three sisters. She never expected to marry Howl, but now they have a son, Morgan.

Calcifer is a fire demon. He had a contract with Howl, but is now a free agent.

In this story, Grand-Uncle William is having a growth removed by the Elves. Charmain is selected by Aunt Sempronia and her mother to take care of William's house while he is away. Charmain carefully packs all her current books and a few other things for the relocation. She meets William just before he is taken away by the Elves.

Charmain also meets Peter and Waif at the house. Luckily Peter knows how to wash dishes and clean the rooms, for Charmain has never done anything of that nature. Peter is rather disgruntled by her ineptitude, but teaches her how to take care of the house.

Waif appears to be a male on first sight. Yet when Peter checks out the sex, it seems to be a female. Waif takes a liking to Charmain and follows her everywhere.

Charmain has applied for the position of library assistant at the Royal Library. King Adolphus accepts her services and sets an appointment for her training. The day after she arrives at Great-Uncle William's house, she has to leave early to meet the King.

Waif tries to follow her, but Charmain puts her back inside the fence. Then Waif gets out and follows her again. Finally, Charmain takes Waif with her to the Royal Palace. The King and Princess like Waif, but warn Charmain to keep her away from the cook's dog.

The King introduces her to Princess Hilda. He explains that the Princess is his normal helper, but will be otherwise occupied soon. They both show her around the library and describe the tasks. They are looking for anything on withdrawals from the Royal Treasury and a description of the Elfgift.

Charmain works her way through the old records and finds many receipts for withdrawals from the treasury. She also finds a various references to the Elfgift, but nothing describing it. Later, she finds an annotated genealogical tree of the Royal Family.

Much of Charmain's time in William's house is spent exploring. The house has dimensional ways that lead to various locations within the house and some to outside areas. The ways are selected by twists and turns through the doorways.

This tale brings angry kobolds to William's house. Howl, Sophie, Morgan and Calcifer have come for a visit to the Palace. Then the King's heir returns to the Palace.

Howl is in disguise during his visit and thoroughly enjoys impersonating a toddler. The next installment in this sequence is Castle in the Air.

Highly recommended for Jones fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of magical arts, malicious creatures, and a bit of romance. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
elizabeth wilkinson
I'm a HUGE Howl's Moving Castle fan and I have to say that I was a little disappointed that this was the "sequel to HMC". It would have been better off being advertised as a stand alone in the same universe as HMC. Because Howl and Sophie are there for about five hot minutes and don't really do much at all. And as for the story itself...it's okay, but it's what I like to call "weak soup". There's nothing meaty to keep you entirely engaged and the conflict is solved so fast you'd think you were reading a Stephen King novel. If you like wizard adventures and a sorta kinda explanation of the HMC universe, then this is for you. If you're looking for the magical experience you had with its predecessor, you're not going to find it here.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kaity
I re-read this novel a second time recently, which is not something I usually do. As usual, I find Diana Wynne Jones to be a charming English author who seems to effortlessly spin fantasy stories that immediately draw in the reader. Considering this as a "sequel" to Howl's Moving Castle is a little unfair, in my opinion. Howl, Sophie, and Morgan do play a role in the plot (a bit of a deus ex machine role) but they are not central figures. The more memorable characters are the two children and the King and princess, who act out most of the plot. This is another story of kids coming of age and coming into their own regarding magic, which seems to be the central theme in most of Jones's work. As a continuation of the story of Howl and Sophie, it was exciting to get a little taste of their family life, but it left the reader wanting more. The best feature of the book is the exploration of the House of Many Ways itself, and the unravelling of the great mystery surrounding the bankrupt kingdom. This novel felt aimed at younger readers, not nearly as wordy as some of Jones's other novels. I think that a third or fourth grader could easily read this, and without reading the other two novels in the "trilogy". In fact, I think this novel works better as a stand-alone children's book with a cameo by beloved characters instead of a continuation of the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pamela rosen
Oh! So exciting! Howl and Sophie are back on another fantastic adventure!

First of all, I need to point out that Ms. Jones had a fantastic ability to pick WONDERFUL names for her characters. Charmain is a favorite, to be sure.

I looked forward to this book so fervently and I was rewarded with another amazing, dazzling, colorful story of a young girl who finds herself far in over her head when she takes over care of her uncles mystical house. Just as in "Howl's Moving Castle" there is a single door that leads to many, many places. Charmain has quite a time trying to figure this out! She has an even harder time curbing her curiosity and she finds that sometimes it's better to stay inside!

Hearing Sophie described as a "Powerful" and "Intimidating" sorceress sounds really odd. It's like hearing someone refer to Santa as "The great and frightening one". Okay, powerful I will take. Sophie is VERY powerful. But intimidating? She's... well, she's SOPHIE! She's the 'take no crap, pull you up by your bootstraps, love you with her big heart, make ay decision necessary for the safety of those she loves' woman who saves Howl, rescues Calcifer, and pretty much sets things to rights again!

Okay... fine, she's pretty darn intimidating. But amazing! And she makes hats!

Anyway, Charmain is a doll and seems to strike another "Sophie/Howl" moment with the new would-be-wizard lad who comes a knockin'. Between the two of them, and the dog, they find themselves in a huge mess, but that's what's so great about Jones' books! The mess!

As usual Diana Wynne Jones creates a world that you only wish you could see. The little house that Charmain is looking after, even without the magic door, sounds absolutely charming and I'd love to call it my own!

Each character is lovingly created to reflect a particular personality that is very poignant. No one melts into the background.

The story itself is masterfully created, and I just keep wondering where in the world she came up with all of the stories she penned. What was her inspiration? What did she see in her minds eye? I have yet to find an author that I have enjoyed as thoroughly as Jones.

I highly recommend this book and any other of Diana Wynne Jones' books.

Go on then. Get to reading!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jahan
Wow slow... It takes until page 180 or so for the story to feel like it's going somewhere. Meet girl, meet dog, meet boy, meet magic house and incidental secondary characters...wow 180 pages for just that? This seems like a draft-book that was never edited compared to Howl's and Castle in the sky. The other books have a x2 pace comparatively - by this time we were winding up the 2nd act or so.... Can't say there is much character development over the massive amounts of random non-central menial story occurrences either ... pretty disappointing after howls moving castle and castle in the sky. We'll see how the rest goes...
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mythili
Diana Wynne Jones may be my favorite author for those days when life seems altogether mundane. For those days when I need some magic and adventure, but I also need a helping of the charmingly flawed and stubbornly relatable. House of Many Ways, DWJ's final book in her Howl series does just that. There's something incredibly gratifying about having a go-to author whose books you can pick up in a time of need and know for certain that she'll pull through for you. Returning to the world of Ingary, though this time in the neighboring country of High Norland, we get to fall in love all over again with a new cast and see more of our beloved Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer than we did in the previous installment, Castle in the Air. Not to mention, we get to see some great bits of the terrible tantrums of a wizarding toddler with Morgan, and welcome back Jamal and his dog who received a lovely position as a royal cook for the King of High Norland at the end of Book 2.

House of Many Ways is primarily a story about young Miss Charmain (not Charming-at least not with a good deal of work) who longs only to spend her days in the proper way-with her nose in a book. Through familial circumstances, she finds herself house sitting for her Great Uncle William, the royal wizard, and through even more unexpected circumstances finds herself in the company of Peter and Waif. Peter appears to be the magician's apprentice who can never get a spell to go right, and Waif is the odd little stray dog who attaches herself firmly to Charmain's side. Charmain finds it easy to brush off Peter and responsibility to seek employ in the royal library, where she soon finds herself wound up in the mysterious disappearance of the King's gold, the strangers from Ingary who are determined to help, and the creepy Lubbock that lives in the meadow. When will one find time to pick up Memoirs of an Exorcist for a little light reading?

Charmain is the kind of cautionary tale any one of us avid readers can't help but love. We all identify with a character who wants only to sit around and read all of the time, but we also realize how frustrating this can be when the world at large is attempting to have an adventure around us. We all must put the book down and roll up our sleeves at some point, but with laundry breeding in the kitchen and taps missing from the sink, this is hardly an exciting prospect. Charmain has been brought up to be "respectable" as her mother would have it-but as Peter says, it's hardly respectable to not know how to do things. She'd argue that she's neither lazy nor stupid, but that she just hasn't bothered looking around the edges of her mother's way of doing things. Charmain has an introspective state in which she is able to recognize her own faults, but hardly feels the need to rectify them. She really wants to be kind and not hard hearted, but it can be ever so difficult.

I have to admit, I do believe I like the House of Many Ways more than I like Howl's Moving Castle. Not the book-the actual physical structure. The home of Charmain's Great Uncle William is full of unexpected turns and surprises, with layers and passages that take one in all sorts of varied directions-even through time! To me, being able to reach all of these far strung places from my own home seems vastly more convenient than a castle that can be moved places...though I suppose one's far less likely to get lost from Howl's.

I just loved everything about House of Many Ways. I was completely charmed by Charmain, Peter, and Waif while still getting a good dose of past characters. The pacing was impeccable with never a dull moment, and there were magical surprises sprinkled throughout its entirety. There are truly calculating villains who don't like crumpets,-who doesn't like crumpets?-books that will happily adopt you, elves, kobolds, and an interesting family tree. What more could a reader ask for to convince them that even the mundane can be full of magic?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
steel
A few years ago, Hayao Miyazaki made a gorgeous anime movie based on the classic fantasy novel "Howl's Moving Castle," about a wizard and the artificially-aged girl who falls for him.

It must have made Diana Wynne Jones nostalgic for her flamboyantly-dressed, quirky wizard hero and his little family, because he plays a pivotal role in "The House of Many Ways." And the rest of the book is the kind of work Jones has been producing for many years -- a complex, tight little plot full of magical mysteries and bizarre problems, and at least one gutsy adolescent hero.

When the Wizard of High Norland falls ill and has to be hospitalized by elves, his great-great-niece-by-marriage Charmain is roped into taking care of his cottage.

But Charmain has a rather difficult time with the magical cottage and all the odd spells it contains. She also struggles with the cooking, cleaning, vast seas of soapsuds, a timid dog, a tribe of angry kobolds, and the arrival of Uncle William's new apprentice Peter -- who never gets magic quite right. In the middle of all this, she finds that she has a new job working with the King in his library.

But there are no fewer problems in the King's mansion, where Charmain is ordered to find information on something called the Elfgift. And the sorceress Sophie Pendragon -- along with her toddler, fire demon and cutesy, too-smart "nephew" -- have arrived to do some investigating as well. But even with powerful wizards nearby, this conspiracy's key may lie with Charmain -- and the vile magical creature lurking near the House of Many Ways...

It's been almost twenty years since Diana Wynne Jones last visited Howl, Sophie, Calcifer and the magical moving castle -- although they're presented so freshly in this book that you wouldn't know they'd ever been gone. And though Charmain is indisputably the heroine of this piece, she still gets the spotlight stolen by Howl -- or "Twinkle" -- whenever he appears.

And around this, Jones crafts a complex plot full of magical Elfgifts, missing gold, elves and a very suspicious heir to the throne. There are various minor plot threads, puzzles and developments that don't seem very important at the time, only to have Jones suddenly weave them all together. And I'll say this -- she knows how to spin up a brilliant fictional conspiracy.

And it's written in Jones' signature style, with plenty of English villages, castles, and wizards, and plenty of mildly eccentric characters -- not to mention the forays through the various space'n'time-bending doorways. Plus a wacky sense of humor, of course ("How DARE you do that! I'm not used to it!"). Charmain produces most of this, with her disastrous (and bubbly!) attempts at keeping house.

Charmain is a pretty good heroine for the book -- she loves books and dogs, and has been living with a mother who thinks magic and housework aren't nice or respectable. You can guess how long that lasts. And she works well alongside the understandably irritable Peter, a likable kid who has more real-world experience than Charmain has ever had.

And then there's the Howl Brigade -- our favorite wizard spends most of the book disguised as a truly nauseating, golden-curled, lisping child, which understandably drives Sophie crazy. His cleverness, power and vanity are undiminished, but it's a relief when "Twinkle" stops lisping. And the fire demon Calcifer gets to play a pivotal role in the story.

If there's a flaw, it's that the villains aren't terribly menacing, except for the grotesque insectile lubbock -- most of whose menace is biological. But hey, at least they aren't meant to be menacing -- just creepy and subversive.

"The House of Many Ways" could as easily be called "The Story of Many Ways" -- a brilliant, sparkling book full of fantastical humor and mystery. Definitely a must-read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jacob puritz
Tall and thin, bespectacled and impatient, young Charmain Baker all her life has been pampered by her very proper family. Most days, she just parks it somewhere and reads books (she loves to read; she's kind of a book nerd). So it's a bit startling when she's volunteered to housesit her ailing Great-Uncle William's cottage while he went away to be healed. It's a drab and shabby cottage, too, as Charmain immediately finds, with the kitchen filled to bursting with dirty laundry and stacks of grimy dishes.

And, it turns out, Chairmain also has to tend to a little stray dog who's frightened of everything except food, of which she'll consume in worrying quantities. And because Great-Uncle William is the Royal Wizard of the modest kingdom of High Norland, well, who soon shows up but his unannounced apprentice, a know-it-all but hapless boy? To top it off, there's that perplexing door, which leads Charmain to unexpected places. And, oh, whenever will she find time to read her beloved books (which, by the way, her mother had forgot to pack)?

Before she left for the cottage, Charmain had posted a letter to the Royal Mansion, applying for the position of assistant librarian to the Royal Library. Not expecting a response, she promptly receives one. So, now, not only is Charmain forced to learn how to do chores, but she also has to spend time with the old king, cataloguing manuscripts and missives and such (which she actually doesn't mind doing; remember - book nerd!). In her time at the Royal Mansion, she finds out that the royals are impoverished, with the treasury gold gone missing. An even more desperate search is taking place, for the long vanished Elfgift, which was supposed to keep the realm safe. Thing is, no one's quite sure what this Elfgift is.

Oh, and the slimeball heir to the throne is about to drop in. Meanwhile, the monstrous, purply, insectile thing known as the lubbock roams the hills and mountains of High Norland, laying its eggs on its unwary victims. And Charmain is getting more and more exasperated because she really, really can't find any reading time (by this point, she'd already found Great-Uncle William's personal library). Can even the wizards Sophie Pendragon and Howl and their fire demon friend Calcifer help to save the day? Especially since Howl isn't really himself lately?

One of these days I really will get off my duff and read more of British writer Diana Wynne Jones's stuff. So far I've only gotten around to Howl's Moving Castle and its very loose sequel Castle in the Air. HOUSE OF MANY WAYS is set in the same world and features several of the same characters. What I've noticed appreciatively is that Diana Wynne Jones's clear storytelling is equally accessible to kids (her target audience) and old fogies (me). The best first word to describe HOUSE OF MANY WAYS is charming. It's a charming fable. If there's really such a thing as a feel-good book, this is one such. I had fun reading this, despite that the central character Charmain is at times cranky and bratty. But I like that she's aware of her surly disposition and does try to improve. I've come to treasure the cast from HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE so it's nice to catch up with them. And I really like the concept of the cottage's enchanted portal. It's fun seeing Charmain inadvertently exploring the nooks and crannies of what's behind that door. Even if one such excursion leads her to a tense moment with the nasty lubbock, who believes that the entire realm of High Norland belongs to it. And, indeed, as we come to find out, the lubbock's insiduous purview does indeed extend past them hills, them hills.

Not very much at all to gripe about with this book. If I have to come up with quibbles, one is that I get bugged by cute spoiled little kids with lisps. And there's one here. Another is that there's not enough Sophie and Howl, and not enough Calcifer (and, yes, I know this book really isn't about them). But I do like Charmain and that she's not all sweetness and light. I like Waif, the little dog of surprising destiny. And the open-ended manner with which Diana Wynne Jones closes the story gives ample room for further adventures. But, hopefully, there aren't any more lubbocks around. Or lisping kids.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lynda dickson
This book has all the charm and humor of Howl's Moving Castle, even though the protagonist is different. I love this book. It was nice to see a progression of Howl and Sophie's relationship through the eyes of an outsider. Chairman was a different kind of hero but turned out a magnificent one. And if I ever get the opportunity, I'll gladly take Waif home to live with me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ann kamphaus
Charmain Baker has been brought up to be a "respectable" young woman by her mother, which means she has no experience with housework, real life, or that most vulgar and low-class of things: magic. Her great-uncle William, however, just so happens to be the Royal Wizard of High Norland, and after falling ill, calls in Charmain to look after his tiny cottage and his even tinier dog, Waif, while he is off with the elves, being treated for his mysterious sickness.

Charmain soon realizes that Great-Uncle William's tiny little cottage is more magical than it originally seemed-for instance, in in order to get to the bathroom from the living room, one must open the door between the living room and kitchen, and immediately take a sharp left into the doorframe. Other hidden parts of the house are connected to the past, and one hallway leads directly to the Royal Mansion where the King and Princess live. A magical house with doors that lead mysterious places might sound a little familiar to fans of Diana Wynne Jones' writing, with good reason, as the characters of Howl's Moving Castle (Sophie, Calcifer, and Howl himself as well as a new addition to their family) make a decent cameo and are heavily involved in the plot.

The plot reveals itself as Charmain slowly finds out that not all is well in her country of High Norland-a disgusting and extremely dangerous creature called the Lubbock prowls the meadows outside town, and for some reason the gold in the Royal Treasury keeps disappearing. The King has become so poor that he must sell of many of the royal portraits and pictures that used to line the hallways of the Royal Mansion. Sophie, a famous witch, has been called in to help solve the problem, and she brings with her Calcifer the fire demon, her son Morgan, and a small, beautifully angelic, golden-haired boy who calls himself "Twinkle" and claims that "Thophie ith my auntie."

I have really liked Diana Wynne Jones' writing every since I first picked up her books in elementary school, and House of Many Ways was a great example of her storytelling. There was adventure, mystery, magic, and a good amount of humor when Sophie and her family showed up. I really identified with Charmain as her favorite activities are reading and eating-me too. But in the beginning I actually didn't like her all that much, which I think the author may have done on purpose...? She is a little spoiled, a little lazy-but I believe most of it comes from having such a sheltered lifestyle.

Great, fun read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
maria ch
I always look forward to any new Diana Wynne Jones books, but I have to admit they are a hit or miss. Most of her stories are fun to read, but some are so off the wall and unbelievable, they become too awkward to read. "House of Many Ways" fell completely between hit and miss, leaning more closely toward miss. It definitely was not one of Jones' better reads. For one thing, calling this a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle is a stretch. When I saw this book on the shelf, I liked the description enough to want to read it. But I hadn't read Howl's yet, so I bought that one too. Howl's Moving Castle was very cool. It was so enjoyable, I expected the "sequel" to surpass it. It didn't, not by a long shot. Sophie and Howl showed up about 3/4 of the way through the book, but they were both out of character and seemed forced into the storyline.

The scant roles of Howl and Sophie were a minor annoyance for me and not really enough to drop my five stars to four. The reasons for the lower rating had to do with the extremely weak plot (or lack of one), awkwardness of the story flow, and my dislike for the two main characters. Neither Charmain nor Peter were very likeable. She was irritating beyond belief, and he had very few distinguishable features (not very promising for an apprentice). Charmain's dialect was almost freakish (i.e. "Oh bother!" Was this an English teenager or Winnie the Pooh?). I know she was supposed to represent someone who was raised obsessively respectable, but I winced every time the girl had a thought. Peter, too, was hard to swallow. His character wasn't solidly developed. He showed up as a small boy, but Charmain sees that he has whiskers, so we are left to wonder...is he a teenager? A young man? A 12-year-old with a jump start on puberty? The plot itself was sporadic, confusing, and just as underdeveloped as the characters. When you open a book, the first questions you ask yourself (subconsciously) are, "Why am I here? What's the goal of this book?" House of Many Ways had no apparent goal. First you think the plot is about Great-Uncle William's labyrinth of a house (like Howl's house with all the door destinations). Then you think it might have to do with the Lubbock that chases Charmain. Or it could be that the main plot was about Peter or the dog or the kobold. But then you leave the house and all the action occurs in the castle, where Sophie and Howl appear, acting very strangely through a side-plot that the reader is not immediately let in on. The whole thing was entirely too confusing and more cartoonish than Bugs Bunny.

The reason my rating is a 4 and not lower is because of the author. Diana Wynne Jones has a prime imagination. Normally, she can tell a pretty entertaining story. So she's not an amateur. She knows what she's doing. House of Many Ways, however, seemed like a rushed job, like she had a great idea but didn't take the time to sort out the bugs.

If you are a fan, I would recommend adding House of Many Way to your collection. If you are new at Jones' books, I'd suggest starting with the Merlin Conspiracy or one of the Chrestomanci books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
annie hernandez
This book is a fine sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, which I had adored for its cleverness in tapping into and expanding the fairy tale genre. I had longed for some continuation of Sophie and Howl's quirky adventures and was pleased to find it here. Although House of Many Ways does not hold the delightful surprises for me that I had found in its prequel, it is an engaging read in itself.

House of Many ways features a new central character, Charmain Baker, who is penned with charming accuracy (pun deliberate, and capitalized upon a great deal in the book). This accurately depicted teenager loves to read --indeed prefers reading all other activities--and thus ironically has select extensive knowledge of unusual topics but also extreme ignorance of more practical activities. The book reveals and capitalizes upon, in a mocking but loving way, the odd selectivity of knowledge young bookworms carry. The ways in which Charmain is shown to alternate between smugness at the usefulness of her book-knowledge and frustration at her life-ignorance strike me as particularly insightful.

If you are familiar with and enjoy reading other works of Diana Wynne Jones, you will find House of Many Ways an absorbing, delightful read. If you enjoyed Howl's Moving Castle, you will find it doubly rewarding.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
alisa vershinina
This is the third book in Diana Wynne Jones' Howliverse, after Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air. The Howl characters (Sophie, Howl and Calcifer) feature much more in this book than they did in Castle in the Air,- to me, that was a huge plus. Particularly because I didn't care for the main character, Charmain. She's pretty much a brat through most of the book and not very warm at all. And I kept reading her name as Chairman, not Charmain. The first half of the book is pretty slow- nothing much seems to happen until about 150 pages in (which is when Sophie shows up with her family). But after that, it's a madcap ride.

Howl, as usual, steals the show. This time, he spends most of the book as a lisping and precocious four-year-old who wants everyone to tell him how pretty he is. His lisp is absolutely hilarious because he makes sure to use as many words with the letter s in them as possible, probably just to annoy his much put-upon wife. A stroke (thtroke?) of genius on Diana Wynne Jones' part- it was great.

I didn't find any of the other characters quite as winsome, though. Charmain grows into a bit of a better person at the end, but she's still pretty selfish. And Peter, her great-uncle's apprentice, could have had a much bigger role but was swept to the side. And one quibble many readers have with DWJ is her propensity to spend about three paragraphs at the end of her books sweepingly cleaning up any mess and muddle her characters have gotten into, so that everything ends neatly. I also find this slightly annoying. But it's important to remember, also, that DWJ's target audience is mostly children- and children's books usually end neatly and happily. Just because adults love DWJ as well, and delve into her books, doesn't mean that she should write to cater to that audience. But once in a while, it would be nice to have things end in a slightly more open-ended manner.

However, that's a minor point against what is a really fun and engaging read. Definitely a great one to bring a smile to your face- here's hoping DWJ takes us back to the Howliverse again, hopefully without too long a wait before the next book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen holcomb
Charmain's mother doesn't ever let her do anything that's not respectable--not laundry, not cooking and certainly not magic. But when her Great-Uncle William (a famous wizard) gets sick, no one in the family wants to take care of his house, so Charmain is volunteered for the job. She doesn't mind; in fact, it's her chance to leave home and apply for her dream of working in the king's library. Nearly as soon as she arrives, Charmain's Great-Uncle is whisked off to be treated by elves, leaving her alone with dirty dishes, piles of laundry, a small white dog named Waif and a magical house which at first glance only has two rooms, but in fact the right turn could take you anywhere from the bathroom to the stables--and the wrong turn could leave you horribly lost. Charmain thinks she will have plenty of time to do some reading while her Great-Uncle is away, but instead finds herself dealing with an exasperating wizard apprentice named Peter who suddenly shows up at the doorstep, angry kobolds, spells that go wrong, a sinister blue insect-like creature called a lubbock, and the mystery of the kingdom's emptying treasury.

Diana Wynne Jones just seems to keep getting better as time goes on. Her recent additions to the Chrestomanci series were amazing, so when I heard that there was a new addition to the Howl's Moving Castle series I was excited. Like the first sequel, Castle in the Air (1990), Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer aren't the main characters--they show up at nearly the halfway point to help the king figure out why his gold has disappeared and play mainly supporting (but indispensable) roles. As much as I love seeing Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer again, I didn't mind that this was a book about Charmain and not about them. Charmain's story was fun to read and I really liked her as a narrator. I also absolutely loved her Great-Uncle's house. It would be fantastic to live in a place like that! In fact, my only complaint is that I often read Charmain's name as Chairman, which confused me whenever I did it (it made me picture a man in a business suit, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the story). This is a small complaint, though, and Jones acknowledges how confusing Charmain's name is, since many of the other characters end up thinking Charmain's name is "Charming" (as in, Charming Baker instead of Charmain Baker).

Although House of Many Ways can stand alone, to get the full experience you should read the first two books in the series (though I did like this one a lot more than Castle in the Air). Fans of Diana Wynne Jones won't be disappointed by her latest book: it's as funny, charming, and addicting as the rest of her works.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
maggie hammond
Just a little short of "The Little Prince" or "Pinocchio" this wonderful little book has the uncomparable charm of those works written for kids but capable to address adults as well.

The writing is neat, precise, orderly, just like the world of little Charmain, the book's flawed main character. The plot is simple but not dull and moves forward convincingly and easily in a fairy tale world left undescribed -which is very good- but self evident and vivid in the reader's imagination which is even better.
All the characters are believable and have something to teach to everyone but with a splendid lightness of touch.

I would heartily recommend this novel to everyone: though it belongs to the Howl's series it can also be read as a standalone.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chandra
This was my first Diana Wynne Jones book. I actually had never even heard of her before reading this book. I just saw the cover in the library, thought it looked good and took it home with me. I hadn't enjoyed a book this much in a very long time. I read it in one sitting, which is something I also haven't done in a long time, because nothing inspired me to. I was drawn into the story immediately and felt so apart of the book that it was sort of like a little vacation or an escape.

I will say, after this, I read Howl's Moving Castle, which ended up being even better than this one, so I can understand why some don't care for this book. However, having read this before falling in love with Howl and Sophie, it was fantastic.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
seher
House of Many Ways is second sequel to Howl's Moving Castle; however it is only loosely connected to the other two books. I found this book to be the weakest of the three, and also the most disappointing as it did have the potential to be an excellent story.

The basic plot was enjoyable. Charmain Baker has been raised in a strict and proper household and given absolutely no practical life skills. Early in the story she is called upon to housesit for Great-Uncle William. Also in the house is Great-Uncle William's new apprentice, Peter. The house they are to look after is brilliant! In my opinion it is the best part of the story; full of magic and doors which lead to faraway places.

However, both Charmain and Peter are infuriating characters. Charmain does very little throughout the story but complain and neglect the house she is supposed to be looking after. She makes little attempt to explore the house with its magic and fantastic places and instead spends her time at home reading or doing laundry. For some unfathomable reason pages of the story are dedicated to describing Charmain's attempts at laundry. It certainly doesn't make for very stimulating reading. Even the books she reads sound uninteresting! Only once does she attempt to make use of the spell books in the library.

My advice would be to only read this book if you want to read the entire series, or the entire works of Diana Wynne Jones. As a standalone book (which it can be read as) it's weak and there are certainly better books out there in this genre including most of Wynne Jones' other works.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jessica stone
Like many seniors, my attentions have shifted recently from life at college to life after. In my own case, that means thinking about the start of rigorous librarian training which others might know more commonly as graduate school. Since I've consequently been thinking even more about libraries than usual, I decided to focus on two of my favorite things for my latest CLW review here: fantasies and libraries. Specifically, Diana Wynne Jones' newest fantasy novel House of Many Ways due out from Harper Collins in June 2008, which centers on an aspiring librarian of sorts.

Surprisingly few recent fantasy novels feature libraries. After some deep thought, I could only come up with The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and Lirael by Garth Nix. I am going to go out on a limb and say that "House of Many Ways" does a better job as a fantasy novel with a library angle than either of those books.

House of Many Ways is Jones' third novel featuring Howl and Sophie, following Howl's Moving Castle from 1986 (also a movie adaptation made by Hayao Miyazaki in 2004) and Castle in the Air from 1990. Although all of these novels stand alone very nicely, certain nuances of the story will make more sense if you read the novels in sequence. Certain characters' cameo appearances will also be more satisfying with the background afforded by reading all three novels.

This particular story starts in High Norland with Charmain Baker. Born to lovely parents determined to make their daughter respectable, Charmain is ill equipped for almost everything besides eating and reading--a fact that has escaped the notice of her parents and doesn't much bother Charmain.

The only problem with her tame existence is that Charmain is unable to do the one thing she has always, desperately, wanted to do: work in the royal library with the elderly Princess Hilda and her even more elderly father, the king of High Norland.

As part of her plan to gain entry to the library, Charmain agrees to watch the royal wizard's house while he undergoes treatment from elves for a mysterious illness. Upon her arrival at the house, it becomes clear that this house-sitting venture will be more than Charmain had expected what with the angry kobolds and the sudden arrival of the wizard's new apprentice, Peter. It may, however, also be exactly what she needs.

There are a lot of reasons that I like this book and its predecessors in the series. Diana Wynne Jones has a particularly charming writing style that is both cozy and engaging. There is something decidedly old fashioned about the prose, ranging from the chapter titles reminiscent of those found in E. M. Forster's A Room With a View to the swift and casual narration so similar to the voice Jane Austen favored in her novels. At the same time, amazingly, Jones integrates elements of the fantastic like magic and wizards and elves without ever seeming outlandish or contrived.

House of Many Ways is a particularly appealing title, by an already well-liked artist. First and foremost, for obvious reasons, I like that Charmain is a bookish character who wants to work in a library. The other characters that populate this novel, including some from both Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air, are original and appealing though not by any means perfect.

Even Charmain, the novel's heroine, has moments where she is quite mistaken about a variety of things. Happily, never long enough to become problematic for readers. At the same time, it is refreshing that Charmain is utterly useless despite her being so well read. When she arrives at the wizard's house she cannot cook, wash clothes, or do many other things that most people take for granted.

This story is about magic and a fair bit of adventure. But it is also about what every college senior has to think about sooner or later: being an adult. As the novel progresses, Charmain learns about more than books and magic, she learns how to grow up and take care of herself, even when that means admitting she might need some help.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lee granas
I still think I like the first book best. However, I really liked this visit with Calcifer, Howl, Sophie, and all the other characters.

Once again, Sterlin's narration was top-notch entertaining.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chaya
I read the entire series and I liked this one more than "Castle in the Air", specially because the characters that made us love this story have a more active participation on this one. I couldn't like the main charcter, I tried but I couldn't, she did give balance to the story and the rest of the characters.
Diana Wynne Jones has a particular way of telling these stories, everything is messy in a good way, full of foolish magic and with lots of characters that come out of nowhere, I enjoy this the most because anything can happen, it gives you the chance to use your imagination by not describing every single meaningless detail.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
gabriel congdon
What do I say about this book. Simply one word.... what? I got so confused on what the point of this book is. I simply got lost in what this all was. Charmain Baker was an interesting but extremely annoying character that talked about doing magic and go through her Great Uncle's house, trying to discover new places while instead something would happen and then she'd go "oh ya I bored. I'm going to read book." That phrase became a fuller sentence not a plot turn. The book was pushed, straightforward, and overly rushed. The ending wasn't even an ending. It was INTERESTING REALLY FAST SCENE and then "Hey we're leaving" THE END. Wait. What just happened? The story idea was interesting but the plot was not good. Sophie and the gang were just suddenly there and I honestly can't say I would call this a sequel to "Howl's Moving Castle". "Howl's Moving Castle" was about Sophie and her story and to call "House of Many Ways" a sequel but its about someone else.... that seems a little silly. I just wish it was better written. It was definitely the weaker one of the books. "Howl's Moving Castle" ending was really quick but the rest of the book made sense and was actually well done. The others lost their touch.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tigernach
The tale of a girl that is permitted to do laundry, or cooking until her Great-Uncle a famous wizard gets sick. She is the only one who dares to care for his house especially since she secretly want to become the king's librarian . Nearly as soon as she arrives. Her uncle however is taken by the elves and she find herself in a magical house. I thought this book was great and could be love by many people. It is great reading and you will love the characters. Fantasy, magic and a young girl... what else is there.
The Elf and The Princess: The Silent Warrior Trilogy - Book One
Trouble in the Elf City: The Silent Warrior Trilogy - Book Two
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melissa valle
I really enjoyed reading this novel. I love seeing Sophie and Howl's comedic relationship throughout the novel. Charmain was an interesting heroine that uses her intellect based on books to solve problems, even though she has never done anything in her life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chalida
If books are like the food we must have, then Diana Wynne Jones' House of Many Ways is a bit a like a cream bun and a bit like the meaty pasties from the bake shop of Charmaine Baker's dad. How tasty! How quickly they go down! Perhaps, like Mr. Baker's, they are written with some kind of helpful enchantment because we always seem to come away happy but yearning again soon for another dose of Jones' perfect brand of English magic.

Perhaps one of the reasons that Jones' books are so charming is that one of their important elements is not heroics or dragons or kings of ancient lineage -- although she can use those at will -- but balance, a fine tuned ecological balance between creatures, magical or otherwise, who behave as they ought. Master of the roller coaster plot, Jones uses magic to restore that balance and return her world to harmony in the tidiest way by the end of the book. No wonder we begin now on the countdown for the next.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
apoph1s
When book lover Charmain Baker has to go and take care of Great Uncle William Norland's (a wizard) house while he is away, she is in for a surprise.

Soon after arriving, she discovers that the letter she sent to the King was answered, and he wants her to work with him in the Royal Library. Then Sophie Pendragon, Wizard Howl, and Morgan arrive, making the palace almost a nursery.

The Wizard Howl and Sophie ask Charmain to help them look for the King's disappearing gold by looking for any mention of debts or loans in the records she is reviewing for the King.

With help from new characters Waif and Peter Charmain, the plot gets thrown into a confusing mystery. Diana Wynne Jones's sequel to HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE will keep readers breathless as they follow Charmain through her never-ending surprises and encounters with kobolds, lubbocks and elves.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys Diana Wynne Jones's writing or wants a fascinating fantasy mystery. Although this book is a sequel, it can be read without any prior knowledge of the first book.

Reviewed by: Elly
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
katie nicholson
I don't know what it is about Ms. Jones's writing, but it has that quality that makes you want to read all the way through the book without putting it down. The cast of quirky characters makes for a delightfully fun sequel that could stand all on its own. Having read the previous two books just lets you in on how entangled the characters are with each other. This book also has the author's characteristic slap-dash ending where all of the mysteries are resolved in the last ten pages and everyone lives happily ever after. If you have read Howl's Moving Castle and/or Castle in the Air, you should definitely read this funny, charming, book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
john wei
When I found out DWJ made a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, I didn't waste anytime requesting it at my library. I dived right into it, and I have to say it's not as good as the first one, but it's definitely on my "to buy" list. The characters, even though are quite young, are so adorable and likable. The arguments between Charmain and Peter were really cute! Again, DWJ keeps to her smooth and witty writing, which I love. I love her world building and of course I loved the fact that Sophie and Howl were in it! Howl as Twinkle was hilarious! "Must you speak with that horrendous lisp!?" Of course I would recommend this book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chista
So, Castle in the Air claimed to be a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle but barely had Sophie and Howl in it. This one is supposed to be the third in the trilogy but unfortunately we still don't really get to spend time with Sophie or Howl, and the only people in it from book 2 are Jamal, his dog and one of the kidnapped princesses, (all minor characters.)

Charmaine, the young protagonist is interesting enough. She is charged with taking care of her grand uncle's magical house while he is away due to illness. She meets an adorable dog named Waif whom I LOVED. She meets an OBNOXIOUS BRAT named Peter who managed to irritate me in every scene he was in. I know Diana Wynne Jones didn't mean to write him to seem so annoying but he was just so rude and bossy I just didn't enjoy reading his scenes. A lot of scenes were boring, do we really need a play-by-play of Peter teaching (bossing around) Charmaine how to wash dishes??

All that being said, it's a Diana Wynne Jones book so even with the negative bits it was still a fun read. I just wish she'd stop calling these things sequels, they are not. A sequel would involve AN ENTIRE BOOK with Sophie/Howl being the main characters. I could even accept the adventures of Morgan, their child, as a "sequel", it would make more sense then total strangers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
josh zide
Absolutely LOVED this book. I was very pleased to find that it fair very well when compared to the original of the series, Howl's Moving Castle, which is one of DWJ's best! Not that I didn't love Castle in the Air, but the atmosphere and humor of the book is much more in keeping with Howl and Sophie's adventure, and the charm of the two main characters in this book (and their very particular brand of magic) was absolutely wonderful. Highly recommended for those who like quirky, inventive fantasy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kim king
Even though I love Howl and Sophie; I think it's amazing how Diana Wynne Jones adds new loving characters with a splash of the old characters. Based on some of the comments on this book I almost didn't read this. However I threw caution to the wind and bought the book; I was not disappointed...seriously who cares if Charmain doesn't learn to clean...she follows her heart and the story is amazing.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
ruthann
This is not a real sequel and will never be a real sequel to Howl's Moving Castle. It's like the related words next to the synonyms in a thesarus. It IS a good book, and I know I'll reread it. I also know I'll read the parts will Howl and Sophie in them at least three times more than the rest and the parts were Howl is Howl still more again.
It's a fine book; I adored Waif, liked Charmain, tolerated Peter, and I never can dislike those sorts of elves, no matter how fleetingly they appear. Still, I can't help but wish it was more of a sequel. They're beginning to make me wonder if what I truely want is a prequel. (Which, if it were about Howell's childhood, would be admitably fun to see.)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ta tanisha
After watching the film adaption I read this sequel without realizing there was a first two! While I throughly enjoyed House of Many Ways, it's very disappointing to not find the first two on kindle format. Surprisingly, the first two are very hard to find in bookstores and libraries. I only hope HaperCollins realizes its mistake soon.

Overall a lovely book, I only wish I had easier access to the first two in th series.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
nermeen ezz
I wanted to like this book because I loved Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air. However, I just couldn't bring myself to like Charmain. She was supremely irritating and judgmental and mostly selfish, and instead of being happy for her by the end of the book, I was put off that she got everything she wanted because I didn't think she had earned it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
justin heap
The disappointment is that Howl, Calcifer and Sophie are not the stars of this book. The pleasure is that the new characters, Charmain, Peter and Waif are unique characters in their own right and not rehashes of successful predecessors. I Love Uncle William's house. I love how much more there is to Sophie's world beyond Market Chipping in Ingary. I'm looking forward to my next visit.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pratibha
Diana Wynn Jones just gets better and better. Her imaginative stories and economical prose point to excellent craftsmanship. In this novel Charmain has to house sit for the distantly related wizard, but the small house is not what it seems. Has Diana Wynn Jones been delving into physics lately? The wizard's house folds into space and time. Howl returns incognito to help the King find out why the kingdom is going bankrupt. Sophie's back too and with the help of Charmain and her little white dog, contrives to a satisfactory conclusion. The author does what Tolkien suggested; that is to 'ground' Faerie in the commonplace, so as to make it more real. A great read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mharo
Might be my favorite of the Howl's Castle series. I had a little harder time getting into this book at the beginning, but by about chapter three I couldn't put it down. I loved how it unfolded. Great read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erin pope
its an awesome book its about a girl who's family member was very sick and she must take care of things in his house of many ways. along the way she encounters magical items a magical dog named waif and an lubbocks who wants to destroy the girl she also has a friend named peter and so she must go to the castle with penn dragon (howl) sophie and all the gang its an great third book in the trilogy a must read for lovers of howl m c a great book
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
butool jamal
Well, like Jones' other books, it's very imaginative and something new. The ending is about the same as all her others books as well: short and abrupt. All in all, a very enjoyable read, wouldn't hesistate to read it again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
heatherlynn
I bought this after reading Howl's Moving Castle for the fourth or fifth time. I read it in a few hours, as it was a fairly quick read. It was quite enjoyable, but like most of Wynne's books, the ending seemed abrupt and uninspired. Other than that, however, it was spectacularly creative and a joy to read. Just wait until you read about the Lubbock!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
suezette given
I have been a HUGE fan of "Howl's Moving Castle" for a very long time, and when I heard that Diana Wynne Jones wrote a "Sequel" to it; I freaked out! Finally I might get my Howl fix that I've been dying for and was so horribly deprived of in "Castle in the Air" a "continuation" I think it was called of "Howl's Moving Castle".
Sadly, I was once again, deprived, disappointed, and ultimately feeling depressed and wanting more at the end of the book! While this book is no way near as good as "Howl's Moving Castle" I must say it was definitely much better than "Castle in the Air"
The main story which was about a girl called Charmain (When it SHOULD have been about Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer; this is a sequel for crying out loud!) was much more interesting and entertaining than the story about Abdullah from "Castle in the Air"
But, like I said, I found myself desperately wanting more of Howl! Everytime the characters from "Howl's Moving Castle" entered the story it was hillarious, enjoyable, and brought be back to the book I loved so much! They delivered in every appearance they made (which was very few) reminding me why I loved it so much. But just as you were getting into their characters you were torn away from them just as quickly and abruptly as in "Castle in the Air"
So, all in all, it was a relatively good book, Charmain, Waif, and Peter's stories were relatively interesting, and the plots were pretty good as well. I would reccommend this book if you are also starving for more Howl & Sophie; you will get your appetite fed SLIGHTLY, but in the end feel completely empty and wanting more!
Nonetheless, It was very nice to see Sophie and Howl again, and I'm falling in love with their mischievous son Morgan! (he's definitely taking after Howl) Calcifer also made a wonderful appearance in the book as well, and Sophie is still headstrong, beautiful, and as irritated with Howl as ever! and I'm going to take all that I can get!
In the end, I just have ONE thing to request of Diana Wynne Jones; Please, PLEASE, I beg! Write a REAL sequel to "Howl's Moving Castle" that is ALL about Howl, Sophie, Calcifer, (and gosh, don't forget!) Michael!, and of course their son Morgan!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
schip
Listen, kids, the really bad guy in this story is a Lubbock. And a Lubbock is a rapist. This character left me with a really bad feeling... that it's a rapist in a childrens' novel. It lays eggs in you!! And you give birth to a half-human half-Lubbock creature. It can rape males and females, although males die when the Lubbock "baby" is born, and females give birth to the creature in the traditional way and therefore, don't die, mostly. I was completely taken aback and totally grossed out that this was in a childrens' book.

I LOVE Howl and Sophie and Calcifer. And now I love Charmain and Peter and Waif, too. But this Lubbock creature, well, I just wish I could erase it from my mind, completely. Am I overreacting here? Were others as horrified as I was?
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
limarie cabrera
At first, since I was expecting this to be a direct sequel with Howl and the whole gang as the main characters, I was a bit disappointed. Howl's Moving Castle is my favorite Studio Ghibli film, thus I was hoping for a repeat of that wonderful story. However, Charmain becomes a lovable character very quickly, and although Howl's transformation into Twinkle, the annoying little child with a lisp, makes him a little less endearing than in his previous book, it adds to the book overall to have him there with the other characters.

However, in comparison, this novel skews to a younger audience than its predecessor, and lacks the same sort of social commentary that Howl makes. One of the general recurring themes of the Studio Ghibli films is the horror of war, and few stories do that as much justice as Howl, in which a war is started and thousands die just because of a game played by the royalty of neighboring countries. This text doesn't really have any of those same sorts of themes, and it's mostly about a cross and overprotected little girl struggling to grow up while she strives, often in vain, to be a better person. All said, though, it's a fun afternoon read, or a great bedtime story.

-Lindsey Miller, [...]
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
diane carter
"Howl's Moving Castle" was a fantastic book which was made into an equally fantastic movie.

The sequel to the book "Castle in the Air" wasn't what I expected and I felt a little deprived of the Howl/Sophie interaction I wanted - so I waited for this one to be released.

Howl and Sophie are both in it - although very sparingly. I found the story a little slow and felt it got stuck in too much detail at the beginning - though I realise some of it was necessary to set the scene.

It is worth a read if you are a Diana Wynne Jones fan, but if you're a Howl/Sophie fan - leave it at the first novel.
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