Don’t you wish you had a house with secret or hard to find rooms? Everyone does right?
Charmain lives in the same land as Howl and Sophie. She is from a well-to-do family and her mother despises magic. She thinks it’s common. Charmain has never really learned to do anything for herself. Things happen fast and suddenly Charmain is going to be in charge of house-sitting her uncle’s magical house while he’s with the elves getting some medical work done.
The house appears small at first, but it’s not. It turns out the house is quite large. A person just has to step a certain way to find how to get rid of the rest of the house. There are magic instructions left everywhere by Uncle William. Soon another person shows up, named Peter, but this is only after Charmain encounters a Lubbock on the hill behind the house. Lubbocks are very dangerous and try to kill anyone they see, unless they want to lay their eggs in that person, then, you know, they keep that person alive so he can be devoured by the hatching Lubbockin. If the eggs are laid in a woman, the woman gets a rather weird-looking baby that has a purple hue to it. Charmain narrowly escapes all of this herself.
She loves books and has volunteered her services at the castle where the king is cataloging all of his books with his daughter Princess Hilda. There Charmain is thrown into even more things. The king and the princess are looking for something. It turns out they don’t have a lot of money and they’re trying to figure out why.
Sophie shows up and she’s supposed to help as well, but she brings two small children with her. One is Morgan and the other is named Twinkle. Twinkle is obviously Howl in disguise. Calicifer is there as well. He’s taken up residence in the various castle fireplaces.
Meanwhile back at uncle William’s house, Peter is trying to clean the place up and do magic. It turns out he’s not very good at magic, but he can clean. He goes searching for the king’s gold as well. William’s house is really a lot bigger than anyone could have thought. The more things are discovered the more things point to the next heir in line to the throne, a nasty nephew of the king. It turns out Peter is someone different from who he had expected himself to be.
What I liked
This book was definitely intriguing to read. While I have heard of creatures that have characteristics like the lubbock, I’ve never actually heard of a lubbock. From a quick glance at an interview of Diana’s that I read, the lubbock was her creation. I think it’s neat that Diana imagined up this creature, even if it is a bit gross.
I liked the idea of a house being bigger on the inside, like a Tardis. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like that? You could let people think that you lived in a little shack so they wouldn’t try to sell you all kinds of things and then your house could have everything on the inside.
Charmain is a likable enough character. I like how she likes books and she’s not overly friendly. I like the fact that the dog is enchanted. Who doesn’t want an enchanted dog? Having an enchanted dog probably means lots of unique problems to go along with all the good aspects of having an enchanted dog though.
What I didn’t like
I thought the book was good for the most part. I do kind of feel that Diana should have kept with Howl instead of writing about everyone else and making Howl more a side character, but it’s Diana’s book and she can do what she wants with it. I also realize had Diana followed Howl firstly instead of everyone else, she probably would have created a cult of Howl followers/worshipers in the same manner that there are Harry Potter followers and Sherlock Holmes followers. Liking Howl Pendragon would have been a thing.
This lubbock thing sounds really gross. I kept imaging a giant weird thing with wings and it looked like that shopkeeper thing from The Phantom Menace, I forget his name, in my head. I’m not overly fond of gross-looking things or gross-sounding things.
I found this to be quite an interesting and enjoyable book. It’s sad that there aren’t any more Howl stories.
If you had the ability to make your house bigger on the inside how many rooms would you have and what kind of rooms would you have?
If Howl was your husband would you put up with the nonsense of him turning himself into a child?
calcifer, charmain, diana wynne jones, house of many ways, House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones, house that is bigger on the inside, howl, howl pendragon, lubbock, missing gold, princess hilda, sophie
Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Jones-Diana Wynne, Mystery, Young Adult