I hate to admit that while I'm usually a book before movie person, what made me want to read this was the Hayao Miyazaki movie, that my boyfriend made me watch. I actually did love this book so much, despite the fact that it's a little bit more dated than most of my other books, I did love it. I also want to point out that there are differences between book and movie, so if you've already seen or read one of them you'll enjoy the other.
What I really enjoyed in this book is the clever characters, I loved Sophie who really dos fit into her role as an old woman even though she is actually just a young lady, she has a fantastic 'take no prisoners' attitude that adds a lot of comic relief. Howl is also a really funny character who can either be a swoon-worthy hero or a typical drama-queen, sometimes even both. I love the interactions between these characters and other characters such as Calcifer and Michael.
The story is also original, Diana brings in all sorts of fairy-tale things, such as seven league boots and magic that really creates a great magical atmosphere and she creates a story with so many different stories interwoven. It was obvious that Howl and Sophie would end up together, though I wish there had been more romance as they really were adorable.
If I had one complaint about this book, it would be that there were a lot of stories interwoven and I found it hard to keep track of who was doing what and who was who, the movie simplified it a little. Maybe my mind was just being a little stupid but I struggled to follow some parts of the book.
I cannot wait to read the sequels to this book!
Overall rating: A-
Stand alone/series: First in a series
Paperback Release: March 5th 2009 (Original release 1986)
Publisher: HarperCollins Children
Book obtained via: Swap