Castles and Crucibles and Paranormal Things

(It's too bad there's no other words for Paranormals that start with the letter 'C'. It would've been an alliteration. :D)

Now, on with the show- There's been a lot of studying, French, snow, Christmas decorating, more brownies, and everything else lately, but I've managed to read three awe-inspiring books that I just need to write about here!

Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

It's a classic in a way that the Princess Bride is a classic. Both are not said by literary critics that they're classics or anything, but they just are. Almost everyone knows about the books, and mostly everyone has read them (or in PB's case, the author himself declared it a classic). I read the Princess Bride earlier this year, but I've already told my story with that in another post. This post (or this spot in this post) is all about Howl's Moving Castle. This is another book that I've never bothered to pick up despite everyone else doing so, and oh my goodness, I should really stop listening to myself when it comes to books!

Howl's Moving Castle is a completely charming and whimsical story. All characters are extremely likable and the situations they end up in are hysterical. I found that the Wizard Howl is a lot like Gen from the Queen's Thief series, which is not a bad thing at all. I have a soft spot for Gen and, let's just say that Howl came very close to replacing him. :P (Howl was a contestant in the final battle of the YA Fantasy Showdown-against Gen!-so I knew he was special. Hehe) The other characters- Sophie, Michael, Calcifer, Percival, Lettie, and the rest all had their own charm and wit like Howl. The romance was sweet, and the action enthralling. The beginning might be a bit slow for some (I admit that it was for me), but as soon as the story really starts (with Sophie getting turned into an old lady), it all became rollicking, good fun.

I adore this story so much that I don't even feel like watching the film version! It's shocking to me because I've never let my love for a book get in the way of watching a film. Hm.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

It's a play, and a good one at that too. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it's one of the best plays ever written, although I'm not one to judge as I'm not a particularly voracious script reader.

In fear of spoiling anything, I don't want to say too much about it, but I will say that The Crucible takes place during the Salem Witch Trials and it's intense. We had to read this- correction- act it out everyday in class, and that got quite interesting as we went on (and all our acting skills improved*). It was sort of like reading the Book Thief in that they were both painful to read (in a good way of course!), but whereas with the Book Thief, I started sobbing uncontrollably when I finished, with the Crucible, I just got angry and ended up ranting to my friends for a while (I'm sorry, guys!). I'm quite over the ending now, but it still makes me sad/mad whenever I think of it and how unfair it was to everyone else who were actually living in Salem during that time.

The play is fantastic and I recommend it to all. No doubt, it'll make mostly everyone unhappy or furious, but the dialogue and characters are great. Each person has a different motivation for their actions, and their motivations shape the whole story. The conflicts within every character is interesting to look at and the conflicts make the play a truly fascinating look into the Witch Trials. Miller did change several historical things, like the ages of characters, to fit the central conflict, but I believe that everything else is quite accurate. If you do read this, get some friends together and read this out loud or really act it out. It's so much more fun that way. :)

Quick note: Some themes might be too much for younger readers, so I would say that this play is strictly for readers and actors 13+.

Paranormalcy by Keirsten White

All the other reviewers wrote their reviews for this book that it's a fresh take on the paranormal genre, and it is! It's completely different from all the vampire/werewolf novels out there and reading it is like taking a breath of fresh air on a wonderful Spring day. Paranormalcy's not plot-heavy; it's a light and breezy book, though still very gripping. What I really enjoyed about it was the writing. Kiersten White's/Evie's voice felt very real to me and not at all contrived. It's hard to explain, but it was something I liked a lot about the book.

I know that my review for Paranormalcy is shorter than the other two reviews, but don't let that fool you! I loved it as much as I did the others. :)

Ahh. So my reviews are over. Hope you enjoyed them, and hope you check out the books/play I pointed out. Although none of you might need my opinion of Howl's Moving Castle or Paranormalcy (they're loved enough as it is), the Crucible is seriously worth reading. Anyway, this December look out for hopefully more recipes, more reviews, and oh hey...even maybe a audio review or two (or though that may start next year). :)

Also a very urgent question: Does anyone know the proper code to put snow on your blog?! I've been trying all day to find some codes, but none of them are working! Maybe blogger just hates me at the moment.

* But I learned that monologues are really not my thing.


  1. I love Howl's Moving Castle and Paranormalcy! I haven't read the Crucible, but my school's drama club did just put on a play based on the story.

  2. Heyy, you made a comment like 2 minutes after I posted. You're quick. :D I wish my school would put it on the Crucible....