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Yang Safia On Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm sure for many of you that you grew up reading DWJ as a child. Sadly that's not the case for me because I'm more of a Jacqueline Wilson fan. I've seen DWJ's books in a glance at MPH back in the days because of the special font they use for her name. That was like my only recollection of DWJ.

Anyway I'm sure that most of you have heard of Howl's Moving Castle. I'm a big fan of Studio Ghibli and when they made a film adaptation of the book...I was ecstatic! Mind you, I've never heard of Howl's Moving Castle (but the title sounds interesting!) before but I was super attracted to Howl. Not only just that but the idea of love that transcends age. That's just...romantic.

**Just some info for those who's never heard of DWJ and Howl's Moving Castle**

Howl's Moving Castle is about a wizard named Howl who is famed for being a lady-killer. And he's a great wizard at the same time too. Sophie is a milliner who got cursed by a witch who thought she was having an affair with Howl. Sophie turned into a 90-year old lady and the only way she could break the spell is by having Howl fall in love with her.

For a more elaborate summary, go wiki it or something.


House of Many Ways is the third instalment of the Howl series. It came out around 2008, about 18 years after the second book, Castle in the Air.

Back in Malaysia I have read Howl's Moving Castle and to be honest, I find it quite a difficult read for a YA book. Maybe because it was written in the style of a different era but the story got a bit complicated for me at the end. To this day, I am still trying to understand what HMC is really about. The whole Calcifer, Howl and Sophie thing just confuses me.

Just to pick up where I left off from HMC, I tried looking for Castle in the air but it is out of stock in Dunedin. So I ended up reading House of Many Ways.

I was expecting it to be quite a complicated read but it was surprisingly easy. In terms of genre, HMW is more of a children's book rather than for young adults. The narration is surprisingly simple and the writing style is a bit bland for me. I understand that this is common among children authors given their demographic but I bought this booking thinking it would be complex and intricate.

The plot is relatively simple and a bit bland. The lead up to the climax is quite disappointing and just doesn't work for me. I admit I was enjoying the book when I first read it but it gets a bit boring when nearing the end.

Is it just me or this is a trend I'm starting to see with DWJ?

Howl's Moving Castle was complicated and exciting at the start but it became a bit confusing at the end so the book ended a bit weird for me. House of Many Ways was engaging at first but bland at the end. It's either I have a problem with DWJ or she just sucks at endings.

One thing about House of Many Ways is that DWJ spends too much time on irrelevant information like how Charmain is having a hard time adjusting to the house. I mean it's okay to note this but it feels like it goes on forever. She fails to prepare me for the climax and it feels like the climax just came out of nowhere. Seems to me that the "meh" parts goes on for up till 120 pages while the climax+problem solving parts has like 30 pages.

House of Many Ways is scarily unbalanced for me.

Just a heads up for all Howl's fans out there, there's not much Howl action going on. The Pendragon clan functions as a cameo so if you expect to see Howl throughout the book, you will be disappointed. Although I'm sure DWJ made it clear about this fact when she started writing the other instalments of the Howl series.

What do I think of Charmain Baker?

Annoying know-it-all who eventually learns that everything doesn't really go like how they are described to be.

She's a pretty basic character for a children's book. Nothing special.

Despite my difficulty with Howl's Moving Castle, I still prefer the first book than House of Many Ways.

Will I read Castle in the Air?


Just because I could see Howl and Sophie fight again.

Rating: 2/5


~Kavi~ said...

o_O owhhhh so gonna go read this now =)