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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor
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Fantasy novel no typical fairy-tale

Classic fantasy stories have been popular for years. The very word ?fantasy? brings lavish visions of magic, intrigue, and mystical beings to mind. Diana Wynne Jones? Howl?s Moving Castle, for instance, lures readers into believing that it is just another teen fiction fantasy novel. But the 2001 release is simply marvelous.

Howl?s Moving Castle follows Sophie, a humdrum young woman who lives in the magical land of Ingary. She has nothing better to do except talk to hats in her hat shop, until the spiteful Witch of the Waste interrupts her life by transforming her into an old hag.

As an elderly lady, Sophie goes off in search of the Witch to cure the spell. In her journey she comes across the moving castle, home to the dreaded Wizard Howl. The castle is a frightening, four-towered fortress that hurries about the countryside scaring innocent people to death.

Quite randomly, Sophie decides to invade the household, become Howl?s cleaning lady and harass the fire elemental that enables to castle to move.

The plot of Howl?s Moving Castle is unlike any other fictional spin on magic. It is very much a fantasy story but the characters are in fact charmingly weird, but memorable.

Howl himself is, perhaps, the best example of a strange, charismatic character. He turns out to be a vain young man who spends hours in the bathroom to spruce himself up, and who is very fond of throwing tantrums.

Despite these qualities, the creation of his personality is a surefire way to get readers interested. It is almost impossible not to like this story, no matter how hard one tries to find fault with it.

As each of the novels? protagonists is plunged into strange, imaginary situations the reader comes to appreciate their warm, odd personalities.

For example, the novel matter-of-factly notes that Sophie, as the eldest of three daughters, is unlikely to achieve anything significant in life. This path continues as the characters seem to think that it is perfectly logical to catch a shooting star.

The plot may sound off-putting, but the silly, happily-ever-after ending is a definite way to slap a smile on anyone?s face. Though the entire tale seems more like a play with obviously fabricated circumstances, it works for the overall setting for the story. The entire cast of characters gives life to the book, creating an uncanny likeability factor.

Howl?s Moving Castle and its sequel, Castle in the Air, are published in paperback by HarperCollins Publishers and are both available at most bookstores for under $7. For more information, visit www.barnesandnobles.com. Disney has also scheduled at June 17 release for its verson of the novel. Go to disney.go.com/disneypictures/castle/ for more information.

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