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Title: House of Many Ways
Series: World of Howl #3
Author: Diana Jones
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
From Wikipedia & Me
Charmain Baker has led a respectable, and relaxing sheltered life. She has spent her days with her nose in a book, never learning how to do even the smallest household chores. When she suddenly ends up looking after the tiny cottage of her ill Great-Uncle William she seems happy for the adventure, but the easy task of house-sitting is complicated by the fact that Great-Uncle William is also the Royal Wizard Norland and his magical house bends space and time.
Though she is supposed to clean up the mess William has left the house in, Charmain knows next to nothing about magic, and yet she seems to work it in the most unexpected way. The house’s single door can lead to almost any place – from other rooms like the kitchen, to faraway places like the Royal Palace, and even other time periods. In her first days in the magical house she ends up looking after a magical stray dog named Waif, encounters a horrible lubbock, has to share a roof with a confused young apprentice wizard named Peter, tries to work some spells from William’s library, and deals with a clan of small blue creatures called Kobolds.
When Charmain is caught up in an intense royal search to remedy the kingdom’s financial troubles, she encounters Sophie Pendragon, her son Morgan, a beautiful child named Twinkle, and their fire demon Calcifer. One of the messes Twinkle gets Charmain into results in Twinkle climbing onto the roof of the Royal Mansion. She is soon involved in curing the kingdom of its ills and rediscovering the long-lost mystical Elfgift.
Calcifer destroys the Lubbock, Howl turns the Lubbockin (children of the Lubbock) into tiny versions and Waif eats them, as she turns out to be a magical dog and the Elfgift. She is bonded to Charmain, who it looks like will be the next royal wizard after her ever so great Uncle William passes on. Peter turns out to be the next heir of Norland and all the missing money is found, making Norland solvent again.
This was pretty good, rather good in fact, but there was something missing that I can’t put my finger on that made me give this 4 stars instead of 5. Pretty much what I’ve written about Howl’s Moving Castle and Castle in the Air still apply here, but something didn’t quite fill me perfectly up.
Other than something that I can’t even describe or figure out, this was another fantastic entry in the World of Howl series. Reading this trilogy so close together has been a very enjoyable experience and I don’t regret it one bit. I’ve tried other DWJ books and they didn’t really work as well for me, so I’m going to just wish there were more Howl books and leave it at that.
Having such success with this does make me wonder what other middle grade books I should try. I don’t know if I’m brave enough or willing enough to attempt that though. I think my best bet is to just relish what I’ve read here and leave it alone. No need to get greedy.