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Friday, September 25, 2009

After finishing reading Howl's Moving Castle, I wanted to re-read Castle in the Air. It is an unusual sequel, because the characters we know from the first book are in disguise (by magic of course, in this case not their own) when we first meet them in this story, and even that is not right away. We actually follow a day-dreaming carpet merchant named Abdullah, whose fairy-tale daydreams start coming true after he buys a magic carpet-- he meets a beautiful princess, he ends up wandering in the desert and runs into the villainous bandit he dreamed up, and ends up on a quest to rescue the princess he loves. Of course, his daydreams literally are coming true because a djinn has overheard them and is playing a bigger game.

The djinn Abdullah runs into is capturing princesses at the bidding of his evil half-brother, who has stolen his life and compels him to serve him-- but at the same time the good djinn is having a lot of fun leaving behind jilted lovers everywhere he steals a princess, hoping someone will find them and make things interesting. The princesses are every sort, and really not quite to the evil djinn's liking-- a very young one who throws tantrums and screams, an older, practical one, and Abdullah's beloved, who is very intelligent and reasons and argues until she gets what she wants.

It was fun to read this book again with Howl's Moving Castle fresh in my mind, and also remembering in advance who the disguised characters are. This time I was paying more attention, and noticed there were clues-- like the first time you see Howl, he yells at everyone and the verb used is actually a version of his name. It’s also great to see a little more of Sophie coming into her magic (still conversational and natural, talking life into things), and to see a glimpse of what married life is like for Howl and Sophie (lots of arguments, and with their magic that must make things interesting-- it's hard to imagine it would ever be dull around them).

Title: Castle in the Air
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Date published:1990
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: sequel to Howl's Moving Castle
Number of pages:298
Notes:second reading


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