Reviews for House of Many Ways


Booklist Reviews 2008 May #2
*Starred Review* It's been a long time coming, but Jones has finally returned to the madcap world of Howl's Moving Castle (1986) and Castle in the Air (1991) with an equally rollicking, enchantment-filled tale. Although the Wizard Howl (this time in the guise of an irritating, lisping little boy); his feisty wife, Sophie; and Calcifer the fire demon play important roles, the story centers on Charmain, a bookish teen. When Charmain's great-uncle William, the king's Royal Wizard, falls deathly ill and is taken in by elves for a cure, Charmain is sent to look after William's house, which is, indeed, a house of many ways and rooms and magic within. She begins reading William's books and discovers that she has inherited some of his gifts. Enriching this elaborate and satisfying comic fantasy are some delicious characters, including a little dog named Waif, who seems to be guarding Charmain; young Peter, who arrives to become the wizard's apprentice; the elderly king and his mysteriously vanishing treasury; the evil heir-apparent; and a fearsome creature called a lubbock. Long-standing devotees of this richly textured world, as well as new fans (who may have first encountered it through the 2005 animated film of Howl's Moving Castle), will find that their third visit fulfills every expectation. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
There is a light quality to Jones's fairy-tale lands that makes them sheer confectionery. Add to that her inventive plotting and you have a buoyantly entertaining read that takes you, in this case, to High Norland, a country adjacent to Ingary, site of Howl's Moving Castle (rev. 5/86). Charmain Baker, brought up to be "respectable" and to avoid domestic chores and magic, becomes guardian of Great-uncle William the wizard's house while he is off being healed by elves. New to housekeeping, she and the wizard's apprentice Peter are hopeless at dishes, cooking, and laundry -- and even more challenged when it comes to angry kobolds and a malicious lubbock who threatens to take over the country. Thanks to her job as library assistant to the king, however, Charmain finds a way to solve the threat to High Norland and bring back its long-lost protective Elfgift. Although Jones is less attentive to character here than she is in her best works, her comic pacing and wit are amply evident. Enchantress Sophie and Wizard Howl of Howl's Moving Castle make a short (for those who love them, too short) appearance. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #3
There is a light quality to Jones's fairy-tale lands that makes them sheer confectionery. Add to that her inventive plotting and you have a buoyantly entertaining read that takes you, in this case, to High Norland, a country adjacent to Ingary, site of Howl's Moving Castle (rev. 5/86). Charmain Baker, brought up to be "respectable" and to avoid domestic chores and magic, becomes guardian of Great-uncle William the wizard's house while he is off being healed by elves. New to housekeeping, she and the wizard's apprentice Peter are hopeless at dishes, cooking, and laundry -- and even more challenged when it comes to angry kobolds and a malicious lubbock who threatens to take over the country. Thanks to her job as library assistant to the king, however, Charmain finds a way to solve the threat to High Norland and bring back its long-lost protective Elfgift. Although Jones is less attentive to character here than she is in her best works, her comic pacing and wit are amply evident. Enchantress Sophie and Wizard Howl of Howl's Moving Castle make a short (for those who love them, too short) appearance. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 2008 May #2
Snark and affection abound in a colorful world filled with unfortunately dyed laundry, enormous kobold-built cuckoo clocks and horrifying cooking experiments. This third book in the Howl's Moving Castle (1986, etc.) series introduces Charmain, a crankily respectable girl in the kingdom of High Norland. Charmain's parents forbid anything that isn't ladylike or elegant (including cooking, tidying, magic and playing with other children). When Charmain is volunteered to housesit for sick Great-Uncle William, a wizard, she finds herself thrown into a muddled and magical international incident. Charmain's exposure to sorcerous power and national intrigue interest her less then the smaller but more personal growth opportunities available: befriending a wizard's apprentice, acquiring her first dog, learning how to do laundry. Sulky Charmain develops into a crotchety protagonist capable of empathy and self-sacrifice but still a fully realized crosspatch who comes into her own in a convoluted climax that is trademark Wynne Jones yet holds together unusually well. Fan-pleasing series regulars Howl, Sophie and Calcifer play major roles, but this joyfully chaotic tale stays Charmain's--and a good thing, too. (Fantasy. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

----------------------
Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 November/December
Charmain has been volunteered to take care of Great-Uncle William?s house when he has to have lubbock eggs removed. Great-Uncle William is a Royal Wizard and his house is magical, as well as very messy. Enter Peter who wants to be a wizard and shows up to be an apprentice. Peter stays on, and the two of them, along with Waif, a stray dog, work to clean up the house before Great-Uncle William returns. Charmain begins working with the elderly king and his daughter, Princess Hilda, cataloging the royal library. This is the sequel to Howl?s Moving Castle (Greenwillow Books, 1986) and Castle in the Air (Greenwillow Books, 1990), and fans won?t be disappointed. When evil Prince Ludovic reveals himself to be a lubbockin, he turns himself into a rabbit and is attacked and killed by Waif, who turns out to be the Elfgift, guardian of the King. Confused? Magic-lovers and those readers who have been waiting for this next book won?t be! Wynne?s writing style is dry, funny, and filled with twists and turns, a lot like Great-Uncle William?s magical home. Recommended. Tracy A. Fitzwater, Librarian, Crescent School District, Joyce, Washington ¬ 2008 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 May #3

Longtime fans and new readers alike will revel in Jones's self-assured return to the realm she charted in Howl's Moving Castle, a riff on English and German fairytales, and its Arabian Nights-themed sequel, Castle in the Air . When bookish, utterly selfish Charmain leaves home to care for her ailing great-uncle's magical house, she surprises herself by discovering her own hidden talents--and ends up helping save the kingdom of High Norland from the fearsome Lubbock. Brought up by her doting parents to be utterly "respectable" (which in her case translates to being astonishingly useless), Charmain is an unlikely heroine. Yet she easily holds center stage, even when the flamboyant Wizard Howl (of Moving Castle fame) appears midway through the novel. Beguiling enough on their own, Charmain's big and small adventures (bickering with the boy who comes to stay; attempting housework with hilarious results; mediating the disputes of the disgruntled tiny blue men who work behind the scenes) gain an added urgency thanks to the lurking menace of the Lubbock, who is easily among the scariest villains Jones has ever created. A tale to luxuriate in. Ages 12-up. (June)

[Page 54]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 2008 June

Gr 5-10-- Sheltered teenager Charmain Baker is sent by her domineering great-aunt to house-sit for a distant relative, the royal wizard. She finds that his residence has myriad magical rooms and hallways and soon learns that there is trouble in the seemingly peaceful kingdom of High Norland. The treasury is disappearing, and no one knows where the money is going. Princess Hilda invites Sophie Pendragon, the main character from Howl's Moving Castle (1986), to come help solve the mystery, with her husband, Howl, disguised as an annoying preschooler, and the fire-demon Calcifer. A lubbock, one of Jones's more threatening magical creations, and its offspring, the lubbockins, threaten the kingdom, and it's up to Charmain and her nascent magical talents--and her new friends--to save the day. A whirlwind conclusion sets all to rights and leaves Charmain ready to start life outside of her parents' shadow. Sophie and Howl play background roles here, as in Castle in the Air (HarperCollins, 2001), but readers will find Charmain much to their liking as she develops from a girl who is unable to take care of herself into a proactive and adventurous young woman.--Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI

[Page 144]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

----------------------
VOYA Reviews 2008 June
Charmain Baker is a lazy, sheltered girl who retreats into a book whenever life gets too complicated. When she is chosen to look after her wizard Great Uncle's house, she finds herself plagued by piles of work and hampered by a stray dog and a bumbling wizard's apprentice. A magical door in the house leads to many wondrous places, but Charmain is more interested in exploring her uncle's library, where she accidentally discovers her gift for magic. She also volunteers to work in the royal library with the king, who is secretly searching for his missing fortune. Sophie, from Howl's Moving Castle (Greenwillow, 1986/VOYA October 1986), is also on the case, and her husband, the wizard Howl, tags along in disguise with their infant son, Morgan. As convoluted as the plot seems in summary, this book feels less exciting and eventful than its predecessors, although the storytelling is just as charming. What keeps Charmain from being an unsympathetic protagonist is her awareness of her character flaws and her determination to better herself. Readers are likely to empathize with Charmain's bookish desires and applaud her growing competence. Familiarity with the previous two books in the series is not necessary to understand or enjoy this installment, although without it, the characters from the original story seem surprisingly one-dimensional: Sophie is a raging, protective mother and Howl an irritating, lisping child. Although perhaps not Jones's best effort, this novel is a worthy offering from a popular and gifted author.-Tracy Piombo PLB $18.89. ISBN 978-0-06-147796-6. 4Q 3P M J S Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.

----------------------