Castle in the Air
by Diana Wynne Jones
The sequel to Howl's Moving Castle
is, again, a funny, romantic adventure. You won't be disappointed if you were hoping to see Sophie, Howl, Calcifer, and other favorites from the first book again. But be warned, all is not as it seems, and their entrances into the story line may surprise you.
It begins in the far away land of Zanzib, which is like what they used to call the Orient--a 1001 Arabian Nights kind of place. The hero is a handsome young carpet merchant named Abdullah who daydreams that he was born a prince, was kidnapped, and was raised by the carpet merchant who, in real life, was his father. He also daydreams, among other things, that he falls in love with the most beautiful princess in the world.
One day a mysterious man sells him a magic carpet and the next thing he knows, all his dreams--good and bad--are coming true. And then some. For just when the lovely princess Flower-in-the-Night is about to elope with him, she is abducted by a giant winged djinn right before Abdullah's horrified eyes.
Abdullah, partly to escape Flower-in-the-Night's furious Sultan father and partly to rescue the love of his life, flees from Zanzib and gets tangled up with a genie in a bottle. (I had always thought djinns and genies were the same thing. Shows how much I know.)
What with one thing and another, Abdullah finds himself in the magical land of Ingary, traveling with a scoundrel of a soldier, two cats, a cowardly genie, and a flying carpet that likes to be flattered. And then he goes to visit the Royal Wizard and the excrement really hits the air circulation device.
Once again the happiness of several couples, and the fate of more than one powerful magical being, hinges on what Abdullah does in a castle on a cloud, full of kidnapped princesses, guarded by 200 "angels of the lower air," and controlled by not one but two wicked djinns. With the same old magic and a lot of new magic too, it's more fun for anyone who loved Howl's Moving Castle--including me.
Recommended Age: 12+
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