I absolutely loved the Studio Ghibli version of Howl’s Moving Castle, but I wanted to read the original by Diana Wynne Jones and see which things were different and which were the same. The r/fantasy bingo gave me the excuse I needed to buy it.
Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three, and therefore knows that she is destined to be unsuccessful; everyone in the town of Market Chipping knows that the eldest fails horribly when leaving home to seek their fate. While her younger sisters Lettie and Martha leave home, she works in the hat shop of her late father and stepmother. But then the Witch of the Waste curses Sophie for reasons unknown to her, and turns her into an old lady. To break the curse, Sophie must deal with the heartless wizard Howl who lives in a moving castle, a fire demon and their magical antics.
When I read The City by Stella Gemmell a couple of years ago, I thought it was a standalone. But it turned out there was a ‘sequel’ coming out in 2016, The Immortal Throne, and now I finally got to reading it.
The Immortal is dead, and there is a new Empress who rules over the still rebuilding City, while inside the Palace there are factions within factions, all with their own intentions and goals. The Empress Archange is besieged from multiple sides, and trusts no one. The soldiers of the City are splintered; who to follow now? The Empress who is making many changes she believes will benefit the City, or Marcellus, believed dead by many, who vowed to one day return and set things right? Each must choose a side. But the war is far from over for a barbarian army has amassed to kill every man, woman and child in the City.
Exile’s Gate is the last book in The Complete Morgaine omnibus by C.J. Cherryh, and contains the last adventure of Morgaine and Vanye.
Morgaine and Vanye have ridden through the Gate on Azeroth, and find themselves on another world, once again surrounded by men and qhal, not knowing who they can trust. While they try to find the next Gate to seal, they find resistance, and help, from the unlikeliest of sources.
Vanye and Morgaine have entered a new world, the world of Azeroth, and it is a beautiful one. One without strife, where man and qhal live together in harmony. But unfortunately, this world is about to change for the worse. For they didn’t come through the gates alone. The people of Shiuan have entered this world, and so has Chya Roh, their most dangerous enemy. They mean to take this world for themselves, and Chya Roh has his forces guard the Gate, and search for the one they all hate: Morgaine.