Summary: Howl’s Moving Castle tells the story of young hatter Sophie who is bewitched by The Witch of the Waste into an old woman. She runs away and must live in the Wizard Howl’s moving castle if there is any hope to reverse her spell. It is rumored that Howl eats the hearts of young pretty girls, so Sophie doesn’t think she has anything to worry about because she doesn’t believe she’s pretty. But when Howl falls for her sister Lettie, reversing the spell becomes even more crucial.
My Commentary: I think it’s rather obvious that I chose this book because of the magic that is Howl’s Moving Castle, the movie by Hayao Miyazaki based on this novel. The first half of the book was nearly identical to the movie, which I think made it even more enjoyable because I saw it played out in my head. The major difference between the book and the movie is that the movie was Miyazaki’s way of using his fame to share his anti-war sentiment. On the other hand, the book had nothing to do with war. Rather, it focused on Howl’s womanizing.
Sophie is one of my favorite literary characters. She is absolutely hilarious! Her cantankerous, grumbly old woman attitude made me laugh out loud. Her story line also includes something alluded to in the movie but never fully developed. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that it was a true testament of Jones’s power to make all of the little details count in the end.
I don’t know if I liked the book or the movie better and that’s because they are two completely different experiences. If you have seen the movie, then please read the book, and if you have read the book, than watch the movie; you won’t be disappointed.
Jones created a truly magical world and I am very glad I was transported there for 329 pages. My only issue with this book is I wish it was longer! This is one I can read time and time again and have a different experience each time.
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Summary: Son of Neptune is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series. Unlike the first one, this one follows Percy Jackson. Like Jason, Percy wakes up with mo memory and soon finds the Roman equivalent of Camp Half-Blood. He still fights and acts Greek, and is in pretty much the same situation Jason was all throughout the last book. He befriends Frank, son of Mars (Ares), and Hazel, daughter of Pluto (Hades). Together, the trio goes on a quest to Alaska, aka the Land Beyond the Gods.
My Commentary: If it wasn’t for the amazing ending, I would be disappointed in this book. It was basically the same story as The Lost Hero, but just with doppelgangers. Most of the plot was predictable, especially Frank’s “secret power.” It was meant to be a big looming question, but I immediately figured it out. Rick Riordan also bit off a bit more than he could chew by making Frank influenced by Chinese mythology. The Greek/Roman storyline was good enough. Throwing in another empire was annoying. If he was really that interested in Chinese mythology, he should’ve written a different book (like he did with the Kane series about the Egyptians).
Percy was a major redeeming quality for this book. Even though he was the star of his own five-book series, he didn’t overpower Hazel or Frank. That’s really tough to pull off so I give props to Rick Riordan. It was interesting how he experienced the same memory loss as Jason, but we knew what he was forgetting because of the previous series.
I have mixed feelings about Hazel. She had a really interesting story line because she was supposed to be dead, but sometimes she got a little whiny. She’s from Jazz Age New Orleans, and as a saxophonist I immediately took to her, though I don’t know if the average reader would.
The ending was a stroke of genius. If you can put up with the rest of the book for the ending, then I say go for it. Even though it’s not an amazing work of literature, considering the audience it is meant for it was still pretty entertaining. For me it was a page turner, but not so much for the story, but for the fact that I got to read more of Percy Jackson’s story.
#percy jackson #son of neptune #mythology #roman mythology #greek mythology #one year one hundred books #reading #book #book blog