I actually liked this book more than I expected to. There’s a lot going on in this story and I admit I had to really pay attention to keep events and revealed secrets organized. Despite that, the book was fun with a nice dose of magic and fantasy without being too over the top.
My only real issue was the romance at the end of the book. I didn’t see any actual build-up to it so it felt like it just came out of nowhere.
Full Review with Spoilers
I didn’t really know what to expect when I started this book. Like most, I’m very familiar with the movie and has it usually happens, it was almost not the same story.
Sophie is a very plain and average girl, the oldest of three sisters. She fully expects her life to be as mediocre as it already is. A witch casts a spell on her, turning Sophie into an old woman due to a case of mistaken identity and is actually unable to tell anyone about her curse. Sophie decides to go out and find herself in life after this. She finds herself joining Wizard Howl’s misfit household and making a deal with a demon that they will help each other break their curses.
This book was fantastical in the best ways. Spells, sentient falling stars, missing princes… There is so much going on in this story. Because of this it’s never boring, but this also lead to a bit of confusion for me. There are quite a few characters and names sprinkled throughout this story. Everyone has a secret that conflicts with other secrets and behaviors. Howl is well aware of Sophie’s true age, Sophie’s two sisters swap places with a spell that swap their minds but not their bodies, the prince and an additional missing wizard are taken apart in order to be used to create another additional person… It was a lot to keep track of and I can admit I struggled a bit to keep everything straight.
Several of the most common characters were interesting and some of them I liked more once we learned their secrets and motives behind their actions, like Sophie’s sister Lettie for instance.
My only major issue with this book was the fact that the romance between Howl and Sophie felt thrown in very last minute. Neither of them are particularly pleasant to each other through the entire book and all of their interactions with each other feel very cold and simply out of necessity. I didn’t find the loving gazes they shared after Sophie’s curse was broken at the end very believable.
Despite those flaws I did enjoy the book. It was whimsical, unique and held my attention well despite it’s age.