Charmain Baker is in over her head. Looking after Great-Uncle William's tiny cottage while he's ill should have been easy. But Great-Uncle William is better known as the Royal Wizard Norland, and his house bends space and time. Its single door leads to any number of places—the bedrooms, the kitchen, the caves under the mountains, the past, and the Royal Mansion, to name just a few.
By opening that door, Charmain has become responsible for not only the house, but for an extremely magical stray dog, a muddled young apprentice wizard, and a box of the king's most treasured documents. She has encountered a terrifying beast called a lubbock, irritated a clan of small blue creatures, and wound up smack in the middle of an urgent search. The king and his daughter are desperate to find the lost, fabled Elfgift—so desperate that they've even called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, can the Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer be far behind?
Of course, with that magical family involved, there's bound to be chaos—and unexpected revelations.
No one will be more surprised than Charmain by what Howl and Sophie discover.
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.
Unexpected and Magical
You can never know what to expect in this series, and that is part of the fun. Every time you read through you will find something new and fun. Every sentence seems to have a deeper and comedic meaning that will reveal itself has the story goes on. The book itself is a spell that will grab you from the first page and hold on until the last.
The talented Diana writes another great read
I'm always surprised by how engaging jones makes her fantasy worlds. This book will entertain children and adults alike. The third book in the Howl series, this book can stand by itself regardless of prior knowledge of the characters. If you read it and love it, check out her other books, in particular the Chrestomanci series. Diana Wynne Jones is a great author!
House of many ways
This was a fantastic read I truly love it. It was so hard to put down I read the book in two days yet even that seemed to be to slow for this lovely book. But as a hit for any who want to read this I would suggest that you read howls moving castle first. For howls moving castle is based shortly before this book is to take place. =)