A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{February 4, 2011}   The House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

Plot: Charmain is a young girl who likes nothing so much as reading books. She doesn’t really know how to do anything else. So she is a bit at a loss when she is volunteered to take care of her great-uncle William’s house while he is sick. She arrives to find a magical house, a stray dog and a wizard’s apprentice who can’t get a single spell right. As if that weren’t bad enough, she must stop a labor dispute with some kobolds and help save the kingdom from financial ruin.

This third book in the Castle series is every bit as enchanting as the first, though I despair at finding one that is as funny. Great Uncle William’s house is as magical and mysterious Howl’s Moving Castle with its hundreds of hard-to-find rooms and kobold servants. And like the moving castle, it is almost a character in its own right.

Wynne Jones’ human (and animal) characters meanwhile continue to impress me with both their uniqueness and their many flaws… which as Sophie has pointed out with regards to Howl, contribute to their charm. I could really relate to Charmain, perhaps because she’s a little like I was at her age. I think I would have been just as pleased to work in the library with the kindly old king as she was and hope I could have muddled through all the magical trouble half as well. Meanhwhile fans of Howl’s Moving Castle will be glad to know that Howl, Sophie and Calcifer are back and still bickering.

For the moment, this is the last book in the Castle series though I would be first in line at the book store to buy a new one.

Challenges: Into the Old World Challenge (10)


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