"He was in there two hours," said Calcifer, "putting spells on his face. Vain fool!"
"There you are, then," said Michael. "The day Howl forgets to do that will be the day I believe he's really in love, and not before."
After reading The Space Between Trees, I immediately went online and bought it on Amazon. And here again I've stumbled upon a book that I absolutely must purchase as soon as I get a bit of money.
I didn't exactly stumble upon Howl's Moving Castle. In fact, I happen to be quite fond of the movie adaptation. When I found that it was based off a book, I knew I had to read it. Once again, I am profoundly glad I did. It is nearly an entirely different story and I loved every second of the journey.
Howl's Moving Castle is the story of a girl named Sophie. As the eldest of three, she is doomed to an entirely uneventful and unsuccessful life. She resigns herself to this fate, even as her younger sisters go out to seek their fortunes. However, fate doesn't seem to agree with her on how her life is supposed to turn out.
When the hat shop she runs with her stepmother is visited by the Witch of the Waste, Sophie is put under a curse that turns her into an old woman. Unsure of what to do and unable to tell anyone of the curse, Sophie decides to leave the home she has always known in order to find her destiny and hopefully an end to the curse.
When she seeks lodging in a moving castle belonging to Wizard Howl, she expects to be turned out almost immediately. However, she makes friends with its occupants: a fire demon named Calcifer, Howl's fifteen year-old apprentice (Michael), and the dreaded wizard himself. Howl is nothing like she had been told. Still, the vain wizard manages to trample on every last one of Sophie's nerves.
That's not the only trouble, though. The Witch of the Waste is hot on their tail, eager to get Howl in her clutches, and she'll stop at nothing to succeed in her aims. On top of that, Sophie needs to find a way to break her own spell. Calcifer promises to break it if she can break the contract between he and Howl, but to do that, Sophie is going to have to find out the terms on her own.
Howl's Moving Castle is a fantastical adventure through a land filled with wonder. I enjoyed every moment of the journey and couldn't wait to see where it would take me next. I would advise it for readers of all ages. It's a compelling read and lovely story.