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Perhaps not Jones' best work - the story is a bit meandering - but still an enjoyable and enchanting read.
Magic in novels can be handled very differently from one author to the next. Ms. Jones chooses to take a brisk, matter-of-fact tone about it. Magic here isn’t treated as a sign of privilege but either as an embarrassment or useful skill (like picking your nose in public or being able to wash dishes properly, respectively). It can be wonderful to have but there’s little of wonderment about it. You can use it to locate missing gold or transform trash into the semblance of gold. It can change water temperature, seal leaks, provide food or transform troublesome enemies into bite-sized morsels. It’s all up to the individual user. It can also be a right nuisance, as when an enchanted house that’s bigger on the inside needs detailed instructions to travel from one room to the next.
Because of that, we are left to focus on the characters of this novel, including a girl who just wants to be left alone to read and a kingdom in crisis because the treasury is nearly empty. (When royalty has to resort to selling off the family portraits to raise funds, you know they’re in deep trouble.)
Charmain Baker is one of those characters that make you work to like her because she’s initially lazy, self-centered, impatient, judgmental and hot tempered. But she strives to overcome her faults and in the end you cheer for her when she proves to be a truly proper heroine, caring, hardworking and determined to save those who matter to her. She also adores books and would like nothing better than to be allowed to sit down and read them—a girl after my own heart.
For those wanting a change of pace in their fantasy books, “House of Many Ways” is a satisfying departure from mainstream provisions.
Every bit as enchanting as the first two books in the Howl's Moving Castle series. You don't have to read them first to follow the plot in this one but then you'd miss the fun of knowing some of the supporting characters' own stories.
So, before, I had a review here saying that I really hated the main character and this book was rather slow so I gave up on reading it. Well, because I absolutely love other books by Dianna Wynne Jones (*cough* HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE *cough*)...I decided to give this book another shot.
And hey! I actually really enjoyed it! A lot more than I thought I'd enjoy it...
Sure, sure, it's nothing compared to Howl's Moving Castle, but then, what other DWJ book IS comparable to Howl's Moving Castle? I took the book at face-value and loved it!
There were so many things that were unique about the characters and the story and the plot (plus the surprises at the end). Oh, and about Charmain: before I said I really hated her, but now...I'm more sympathetic. She was a little annoying/mean at times (particularly to Peter), but, to be honest, if I were in her situation, I probably would have acted the exact same way. So, you can't really fault her or Jones, because Charmain is nothing but REALISTIC. I suppose that's what readers want in a main character, even if the realistic side often reminds us too much of our own likelihood to be kind of...despicable every now and then.
Plus, all the Howl's Moving Castle references!!! Those were definitely my favorite parts of the book!!!! It was so hilarious when Sophie and Calcifer and Howl were introduced in the book because, if you've read Howl's Moving Castle, it's EXACTLY what you'd expect it would be like if Howl and Sophie were a married couple! I loved their scenes and how even though they love each other, they obviously annoy each other a lot too. ;D
Well, this all goes to say that I really did enjoy this title. As julia_sedai says below, DWJ fans should read it because her work is freaking fantastic. So give this a shot, even if you don't like it at first. You might change your mind about it like I did.
I agree with what someone has said below in that I really disliked the main character, Charmaine. She was quite selfish. One of the only reasons I liked this book was because it's a continuation of Sophie and Howl from Howl's Moving Castle (after Castle in the Sky, as well). However, I would still recommend it to HMC fans. Diana Wynne Jones is a good writer and you can enjoy these books at any age.
A very interesting book because of the very interesting house. A good read.
Yawn! This is a really boring read in my opinion. The plot wasn't intresting and had about no action.I guess I think this way because the book was generated from the multiplying laundry, therefore unapeeling to adventure lovers, like myself. If your not, though, then it may interest you? I'm not sure! The other 2 books were better, expecially Castle in the Air(though I couldn't finish it):(
The reason why I like this book is because of its originality. Most books like these usually end up with a character's emotionally dramatic conflict, most commonly a romance, but this book is like a funny fairy tale.
Read it if you've read Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air! And yes, Sophie, Howl, and some other familiar characters are in this book. :D
Great book, especially if you read a lot of those mystery books and need something else. I loved this one
Better than "Castle in the Air". Like "Castle in the Air", Sophie, Calcifer, and Howl are minor supporting characters but this time, only Howl is in disguise. The main character is not very likable, but her dog is cute and the plot elements hang together better than the other "sequel". Neither book is anywhere as good as "Howl's Moving Castle".
it's good,kinda odd though
sorta a mix of "Alice in wonderland" and "Harry potter"
Charmain is the only child of a baker. She is doted on, spending her days in books rather than helping around the house. That is until the day she is volunteered to look after her Great Uncle William's house while he is away being treated for a mysterious illness. This flies in the face of her dream to work in the royal library.
Once at her uncle's house, Charmain discovers a magical world where doors don't always lead to the same place twice. She has to learn to navigate this world in order to help the King and his daughter find the missing Elfgift, something so important that the king has called in the famous Wizard Howl to help. Unfortunately, Howl has not come, but instead sent his wife Sofie in his place.
Charmain's world quickly devolves into chaos as a dispute with the Kobbolds leaves dishes piling up in the sink and the laundry pile of laundry bags magically doubling overnight. She also has run-ins with insect like parasites bent on world domination and the mysterious, reclusive elves. To top it all off, a boy by the name of Peter arrives, announcing that he is that he is Uncle William's new apprentice, threatening to dislodge Sophie from her newly earned independence.
Author Wynne-Jones has returned us to the world of Howl's Moving Castle. This, like Castle in the Air before it, is less of a sequel and more of a revisiting of a universe where some former main characters play supporting roles. Think the Chronicles of Narnia. While not as good as the first book, House of Many Ways is much better than its immediate predecessor. Most readers will enjoy this book, but it would be a good idea to refresh your memory of the first two so you can better enjoy the cameos.
I must say that this was an amazing book, but not as good as the previous two. The only thing I have a problem with is the problem of the story is not stated very well, and if you don't re-read it a couple times, it's hard to understand what actually happened. HOWEVER it was still a FANTASTIC book. Howl is still as charming as ever, and Charmain is a great new character.
This is the third book set in the same world as Howl's Moving Castle. The second book is Castle in the Air. This book focuses on completely new characters, with some cameos from characters that were in previous books. Charmain is a great strong character and Howl is up to all his old tricks.