Apr 13, 2013

"House of Many Ways" by Diana Wynne Jones

Title: House of Many Ways

Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Series: Castle/Howl's Castle/Wizard's Castle, #3

My rating: 5 of 5

(Book read from April 10th to April 12th, 2013)


Charmain Baker is in over her head. Looking after Great-Uncle William's tiny cottage while he's ill should have been easy. But Great-Uncle William is better known as the Royal Wizard Norland, and his house bends space and time. Its single door leads to any number of places - the bedrooms, the kitchen, the caves under the mountains, the past, and the Royal Mansion, to name just a few.

By opening that door, Charmain has become responsible for not only the house, but for an extremely magical stray dog, a muddled young apprentice wizard, and a box of the king's most treasured documents. She has encountered a terrifying beast called a lubbock, irritated a clan of small blue creatures, and wound up smack in the middle of an urgent search. The king and his daughter are desperate to find the lost, fabled Elfgift - so desperate that they've even called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, can the Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer be far behind?

Of course, with that magical family involved, there's bound to be chaos - and unexpected revelations.

No one will be more surprised than Charmain by what Howl and Sophie discover.


My Thoughts on the Book:

House of Many Ways is set a few years after Howl's Moving Castle & a couple of years after the events in Castle in the Air (Morgan then was only a baby, and now he's 2 years old). Although you don't have to have read Castle in the Air to read House of Many Ways, I think it's necessary for the reader to have read Howl's Moving Castle at least, because of all the background necessary for the characters of Sophie, Howl & Calcifer! 
Anyway, in House of Many Ways we meet Charmain, our main character, who loves reading books, and doesn't really know how to do lots of ordinary things (it's her mom's fault). She's taking care of Wizard Norland's (a.k.a Great-Uncle William) house & his dog Waif while he's away, because he's ill. And what a house that one is, definitely a house of many ways, I would love to live in a house like that, who wouldn't? It might not be a moving castle (like Howl's), but it still rocked, and it was really amazing, and really magical! 
Soon, Peter joins Charmain in the house (he wants to be an apprentice of Wizard Norland) and they both (with the little help of Waif) try to learn the ropes of the house. That was fun, even funny at times, poor Peter, he never seems to make any spell work, but surprisingly Charmain is quite good at magic, something she didn't know. 
Although it took me a while to warm up to Charmain as a character, in the end I liked her a lot. Peter was an ok character, I liked him, too, and I have to admit I was surprised who he came up to be. I never would've guessed that when I met him, so there were some surprises in the story. I also absolutely adored Waif - such a cute & adorable little dog :) We also got to see again Jamal & his dog from Castle in the Air, and that was a lovely surprise.
And then there were Sophie, Calcifer, Howl & Morgan. Morgan was so adorable & such a sweet & lively child, and he made me smile so much :) Just what I would've imagined a child of Sophie & Howl to be! We all see a lot of Calcifer - I adore him as a character, too! He was awesome, and he kicked some ass :) And Sophie & Howl - I still loved them, definitely one of my fav couples ever, they never seem to stop banter with each other, and they're so sweet & fun & funny, and I laughed so much in this book. One thing I have to mention is that when Howl showed up for the first time in this book, I knew right away that it's him & I started laughing so much, I got tears in my eyes :D Only Howl can think of doing something like that. He was absolutely hilarious, yet totally adorable (I seem to be using a lot the word adorable today), and I absolutely loved every second of it :) If you loved Wizard Howl in Howl's Moving Castle, you must read this one! 
The writing style as always was amazing, and totally unputdownable, and highly entertaining. I laugh even now just thinking of some of the scenes :) The story itself was quite fun, we meet lots of fun & interesting magical creatures, so it was quite imaginative & the world-buliding was done amazing, and the story itself was lovely & so, so funny, filled with magic, a good mystery, and quite a lot action. Although there weren't as many surprises as there were in the previous 2 books, and I mostly realised where the story was going, I still enjoyed the journey itself completely, and there were a few surprises that I totally didn't saw them coming, especially why Wizard Norland was ill & what the Elfgift is. 
I highly recommend House of Many Ways, as well as all the books in the series! I love that they're suitable for all ages, and I would've loved to read these as a child. Also, I am sad a little that this is the last book in the series, and I won't get any more glimpses of all of these amazing characters I've met in these 3 books, but there's always re-reading, and I know I will never get enough of these characters, these stories & the world itself Diana Wynne Jones has created. 
As for you, if you still haven't tried the series, what are you waiting for? Especially if you love fantasy books filled with magic and a fairy-tale-like wibe through the stories, and that are highly entertaining, and have lots of twists & turns, then these books are a must-read for you & I can't recommend them enough!   


1 comment:

  1. Great review! I really loved House of Many Ways too. Especially Howl and Waif. :) And I agree, the house was almost as fantastic as the Castle :D