The House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

I really liked this sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle.

Chermain, the main character, is a distant relative the Great Wizard Norland, the King’s Wizard. She looks after Wizard Norland’s house and loves reading books and eating yummy food her father bakes.

Wizard Norland’s house is the House of Many Ways. There are certain steps you must follow to get the room you want to. Chermain befriends a dog called Waif, and Peter, Wizard Norland’s apprentice. Then she gets a job at the King’s Library, sorting out documents.

Magical guests arrive at the Palace (Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle). Whilst the King and his daughter are distracted by the guests, Chermain, Waif and Peter discover that the heir to the throne is really a monstrous being. Sophie and Howl also discover this and they make a plan to stop the monster becoming King; Chermain, Waif and Peter get involved.

I really liked the characterisation of Chermain, Waif and Peter. I can’t imagine meeting beings Chermain, Peter and Waif, but the language the author uses to describe them, helped me bring them to life.

“They both look across the parlour to where Mrs Bakers’ daughter sat, deep in a book, as usual, with her long, thin body bent into what sunlight came in past Mrs Baker’s geraniums, her red hair pinned up in a sort birds’ nest and her glasses perched on the end of her nose.”

Wizard Norland is always very friendly, like a jolly grandfather.

Even though this is a sequel, you can read it without having read Howl’s Moving Castle. BJMN

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