Tuesday, December 20, 2011

REVIEW: "The House of Many Ways" by Diana Wynne Jones

Why this book?: I read book one in this series, "Howl's Moving Castle" and just HAD to get more of Howl and Sophie.

Type: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Witches/Wizards, Series, Demons

About the bookWhen Charmain Baker agreed to look after her great-uncle's house, she thought she was getting blissful, parent-free time to read. She didn't realize that the house bent space and time, and she did not expect to become responsible for an extremely magical stray dog and a muddled young apprentice wizard. Now, somehow, she's been targeted by a terrifying creature called a lubbock, too, and become central to the king's urgent search for the fabled Elfgift that will save the country. The king is so desperate to find the Elfgift, he's called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, the great Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer won't be far behind. How did respectable Charmain end up in such a mess, and how will she get herself out of it?
Review: Immediately after finishing "Howl's Moving Castle" I looked to see if there were sequels. I *needed* sequels. Lucky for me, there were two! One is still on my To Be Read list, and "The House of Many Ways" was checked in at work, and waiting for me.. so it got to go first.

I will say I didn't like this as much as the first book. I loved "Howl's Moving Castle" so much.. but I still really enjoyed this book - mostly Waif (the dog).. as well as Howl and Sophie's role in the story. Charmain was a tough character to like, at least for me. I felt some relation to her, since we are both clearly obsessed with books, but her Attitude (with a capital A) is tough to get past.

Howl shows up in this novel as Twinkle, a 7-or-so year old boy. Howl's reasoning is that he wants to investigate and go unnoticed... as well as to relive his childhood. His lisp is just one small part of the overall hilarity, and I certainly don't envy Sophie having to take care of him. I know Charmain was the main character... but I loved the side characters way more, and therefore paid more attention to them than the main character.

The mystery and adventure in this novel is well done, though it seems a lot happens in the end, all at once, while there is plenty of time in the middle where little happens. Pacing could have been better, but this book was still excellent and entertaining, just not as much as its predecessor. So if you want an excellent book, read "Howl's Moving Castle".. and read this one if you need more magic and Howl.

Cover Lovin': Works well with the story. Definitely a good cover choice for this book.

Recommendation: For young adults and adults alike that enjoy a really good fantasy story. Something to suggest to younger teens. Definitely recommended to read book one, "Howl's Moving Castle," first!

Final Rating:  FOUR out of FIVE (4/5). Good, definitely not as good as the first, but it was still an engaging read.

Have you read "The House of Many Ways" by Diana Wynne Jones? Share your thoughts in the comments! Want a copy? Get it from Amazon.com!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~