Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters and in Ingary "where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist" everyone knows that the eldest in doomed to fail at seeking their fortune. One day the Witch of the Waste visits the hat shop that Sophie's stepmother runs and turns Sophie into an old woman. Sophie sets off to fix the spell and ends up at the home of the wizard Howl, who has a reputation for stealing girls and their hearts. The book is so famous that I knew before reading it that he was actually a good guy.
I can definitely understand the book's popularity. I adored Sophie from the first page and liked her even more by end. Being in disguise allows her to say thing she can't or won't as a young woman. Michael and Calcifer were awesome. There were a few plot elements that I saw coming - Sullivan being Suliman - and more that I didn't. I was completely surprised when Howl went to Wales and his sister's kids played computer games.
I liked the phrase "if you sit on everything I say." It should become mainstream.
The book reminds of The Blue Castle, which is not fantasy but resembles a fairy tale.
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