Thursday, March 05, 2015

Day 64 of Feminist Joys: Reading Dianne Wynne Jones's Howl's Castle

I’ve been reading some awesome books lately, but this one is special. It’s a fantasy romance novel that uses many established tropes — a wicked wizard (who isn’t really wicked), a wicked witch, three sisters, a moving castle, a wicked (not really) stepmother. The heroine spends too much time  believing in tropes herself, and this book is all about doing what you want to do rather than what’s expected of you — a lesson her sisters figure out much faster than she does. It also comments on how it might be a relief, in a way, to grow old: young pretty girls get a lot of attention, while old women are often either invisible or feared. Old women can act as they like and not be reviled as a young girl would be.

There’s a quite satisfying mystery too, and a very melodramatic climax complete with a Bollywood style family reunion. If you like fantasies and/or mysteries, try this out. I didn’t like everything about it, but it was a very fun read with no nasty misogyny to turn me off.

(Don't read Castle in the Air though, which is the next in the series. It's full of vile fatphobia and is also quite boring.)

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