House of Many Ways



by Diana Wynne Jones

Published 2008

In this sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle (following, it appears, Castle in the Air),  a young girl heads off to house-sit for a relation (by marriage) whom she has never met.  Of course, it turns out that the relation is a wizard and his house is, to say the least, a bit unusual.  As with Castle in the Air, old friends return (Howl is, if possible, even more annoying in this book than the first) and complicated plot twists abound.

While I really enjoyed this book, I will say that the villain, a strange creature whose name I can’t remember, really gave me the weirds, as it reproduces by inserting its eggs into innocent passersby (usually they are not even aware that this has happened).  If the egg-host happens to be male, the young hatch from the eggs and kill the host while emerging (!?!?!?) and if the egg-host is female, she gives birth in a  normal fashion, except instead of having a baby, she has a humanoid version of this creature.  And there’s just something about having some strange monster lay eggs in you when you don’t even know it that seems extra gross to me.  So I didn’t like that.

But the humor was strong and the dialogue delightful.  And, per usual when reading a Jones book, I could barely put it down.  4/5.