Friday Faceoff – There was once a princess who lived in the highest tower…


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week we are looking at covers featuring castles and I have chosen Howl’s Moving Castle by the awesome Diana Wynne Jones.


howlsmovingcastle3This is one of the early covers on the Greenwillow Book edition of 1986. It effectively captures the zany humour and amazing imagination of the author.



howlsmovingcastleThis offering again reflects the humour and quirky storyline and was brought out by Greenwillow Books in 2012. I really enjoy this one – it draws me in and makes me want to read it.


howlsmovingcastle1This offering, produced in 2009 by Harper Collins, seems to be the adult version for those who don’t like to be seen reading children’s books. I think it’s rather cluttered and trying a bit too hard to appear cool and quirky, despite the attractive colours.



howlsmovingcastle2This Spanish cover, produced by Berenice in 2007 nails it, as far as I’m concerned. I love the steampunkish echoes that work well with the tone of the book and the detail is a delight, while the muted colour palette gives the cover a punchy different look, when surrounded by the often lurid colours used for many children’s books. What about you, which one is your favourite?

24 responses »

    • It certainly wouldn’t be my choice – but I’m glad that it has struck a chord with someone because it is attractively done. And of course, my perspective is skewed as I’ve already read the book:)

  1. I love the Spanish one. The version I’ve got is a different one again, it features Howl more prominently than the castle. The copy of House of Many Ways I have is the 2009 HC one.

    • Yes… it’s a series that seems to have had many iterations. There were a number of other covers I would have liked shown, but the quality of the image wasn’t good enough, sadly. A wonderful book, though…

  2. You know this is my favorite thing on your blog! 🙂
    I try not to read any input from anyone else and just look at the covers and make up my own mind. I have to say the first one, I completely missed that it was a castle. The second one I really like because I can tell it’s a castle and it’s moving. The third one, I don’t see a castle at all which I guess is the point because it’s for adults who don’t want to be seen reading a children’s book, but, I don’t like it at all. Usually, there’s only three covers, so I was going to go with number two when I scrolled a bit more and found number 4 and I love it!!! It’s clearly a castle and it’s clearly on the move and I just love the look of it. When I read your description about it being steam punky, I thought, that’s it, it’s got that steampunk look which I really love anyway! So, #4 it is!!

    • So glad you like this regular post, Wanda:) It tends to be the one I get most fun putting together, too. And I’m glad that without knowing the book, you came to the same conclusion I did. Have a great week-end.

  3. Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh! This is one of my favorite books of all time! WHEEEEE!


    All that said…

    Those initial covers are neat, but not my favorite, and you’re right–that large-text cover seems geared at older readers, and is very, very cluttered. The steampunk styles of the Spanish cover reminds me of the Studio Ghibli film’s castle…wonder if these two came out at the same time…

    Honestly, I rather like the 2nd one best–it’s the only one with Sophie on the cover as that curmudgeonly old lady. There’s something awesome about a little old lady waving a cane at an enormous moving castle, because you just know she don’t take shit from nobody. 😉

    • And that’s why I LOVE this particular post – because opinions vary so widely on what makes a great book cover:)). Many thanks for popping in and taking part – I KNEW you were special before you revealed your inner fangirl for Diana Wynne Jones, and now I know why. Have a great Sunday!

  4. Well, I love your choice of book – and I agree with your cover although I do have a bit of a penchant for the second one as well. I did think about this one too for this week’s theme – the name is just so spot on after all!
    Great choice
    Lynn 😀

    • Thank you, Lynn. I NEARLY went for the N.K. Jemisin – which would have made the hat-trick! Ah well… there’s something somewhere about great minds, isn’t there?

  5. Wow. My vote goes to the Spanish cover at the end. It’s really well done, from the quality of the illustration to (like you had pointed out) the color palette.

    Which reminds me: I still need to read this book…. *blushes*

  6. I’ve never read the book, but I’ve watched the Japanese adaptation of it, and the Spanish cover makes me feel they really wanted to convey the mood of the animation (it’s steampunkish as well) and appeal to its fans more than other readers.
    Also, being an adult, I like the Harper Collins one, but the second one is also nice. I guess of all of them I only don’t feel convinced by the first one. It does feel out of our times. 😉

    • An apt observation:). I hadn’t been so aware of the distinct fashions in book covers, until I started following this meme. Researching various books to cover the theme has brought home to me just how much covers are of their time. But I reckon this must be something you already know about…

      • I probably know as much as you do. I’ve been researching covers and design for a while with a thought in mind that I might self-publish one day, but I haven’t gone really deep into the topic. First I need to finish my project. 😉

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