update September 2012: Deutsche Rezension ---> Diana Wynne Jones – Sophie im Schloss des Zaubererst
this is going to be short, for i never finished the book. i made it to page hundredsomething when i couldn't stand it no longer.
it's a shame to rate howl's moving castle
this low. but more than one star is simply off the cards. i feel bad because of that. really bad. since i loved the hayao miyazaki anime based on this book, i thought i would love this book, too. i couldn't have been more wrong, unfortunately.
it might have been a mistake to watch the movie before reading the book. then again i saw a single man before i read the novel, saw lord of the rings before i read the trilogy, and in either case, i loved movie(s) and book(s) equally.
but with howl's moving castle
i was in for a big disappointment. the story itself i liked a great deal, obviously. otherwise i wouldn't have enjoyed the movie so much. but where the movie was fun and entertaining, the book was dull and boring. i didn't like the characters, they seemed shallow and gloomy. i didn't like the writing, the sentence construction made me nuts in some cases, the narrative voice was annoying.
where the movie was a little rushed, the book was wordy and way too slow-paced. with every page i read i got more irritated because i waited for something to happen. and thus it was that i lost my patience.
in addition there were some events i was eager to read, like the first meeting with howl. i expected vitality, energy, charisma and got... nothing. the witch of the waste visiting sophie was one of the scenes i was eager to read, too. but hell, was i bored stiff. the witch of the waste should be renamed in joke of the waste. isn't a evil witch supposed to be scary? even calcifer, oh my calcifer, was screwed up. i was looking forward to meet him in the book. he is such an eclectic being. but not in this book :(
thinking it over, i come to the conclusion that it is not the movies fault that i don't like the book. it may be true that it wouldn't have fallen short of my expectations when it comes to character building if i hadn't seen the anime first. but the writing, the boredom, the narrative voice, the wordiness were still there. so i might or not get why so many people like this book, in the end it's a matter of taste. it's not my cup of tea. i will love the movie forever, but the book i will never touch again... i still feel bad about it. but on the other hand it makes me happy to see how something so beautiful (movie) can come out something this bad (book). therefore i'm thankful jones wrote this novel, even though it's not a novel for me.