Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Review: House of Many Ways

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Hello, readers!  I apologize for my absence, but when a holiday comes around, I tend to get a little busy.  :)  I had intended to post some art that I had done in honor of Easter, but my scanner seems to be broken.  Hopefully I'll be able to get it fixed soon.  

As it is, I have decided to do a book review of House of Many Ways,  by Dianna Wynne Jones, for my friend and frequent commenter- Leilani Sunblade.  

House of Many Ways  is a sequel (actually, three-quel) to Howl's Moving Castle.  It tells the story of young Charmain, a rather feisty and eccentric bookworm, who is charged with watching over her great-uncle William's house while he is away being treated for an illness by the Elves.
While getting used to Uncle William's very strange house, Charmain becomes the assistant librarian to the the king of her home country- High Norland.  It is through this job that she discovers that High Norland is close to bankruptcy, and that the king and his daughter have hired Sophie Pendragon to find the missing treasure.  And, much to our pleasure, Sophie brings her young son Morgan, the Fire Demon Calcifer, and (against her will) her husband Howl, disguised as a child named Periwinkle.
Together with our beloved heroes and heroines, Charmain discovers a plot to take over the kindgom, and the key to saving her country may rest in her hands alone...

Like Howl's Moving Castle, House of Many Ways features a cast of enjoyably imperfect characters.  Not a single one of them is the shining example of how one aught to behave, but they acknowledge this and do their best to put up with each other and function well.
Our new heroine, Charmain, starts out as a spoiled child, but ends up as a responsible young girl, albeit still obsessed with books.  But then, I can't fault her for that, can I?  There are plenty of amusing to downright funny circumstances, as well as a healthy dose of mystery and suspense.  This is a very light-hearted, fun adventure, suitable for all ages.

There are no negatives to this book.  As in Howl's Moving Caslte, the element of magic is present, and at one point, Charmain is seen reading a book called Memoirs of an Exorcist that convinces her that ghosts are, in fact, real, and very unpleasant things indeed.  However, this book is not explored in any way, and it is left up to the reader to decide what this means.

If you are a fan of Howl's Moving Castle, it's sequel Castle in the Air, or of just plain old fantasy, I recommend this book to you.  It is a good, quick read, and very enjoyable, if slightly different than it's predecessor.  

-Rayne Speryll


  1. Yes! I love these books! I haven't gotten around to reading this one yet, but I really enjoyed Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air. This one has been on my to-read list for a while...

    1. I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy of Castle in the Air yet. :( However, I'm hoping that my library will consent to buy one soon. They can't just have the first and third, but not the second! Oh well... patience is the key, it seems. :)

  2. Leilani SunbladeApril 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Thanks for posting the review, Elethia! I have this on request from the library, so I'll be sure to let you know what I think once I read it. (I also have Castles in the Air on request, so I'll let you know what I think of that too.)