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Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones
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Castle in the Air (1990)

by Diana Wynne Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Howl's Castle (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,987822,902 (3.86)112
  1. 40
    House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Also features Howl, Sophie and Morgan
  2. 30
    Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Also features Howl and Sophie
  3. 20
    The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley (bmlg)
    bmlg: playful fantasy with Arabian Nights themes
  4. 20
    The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye (mybookshelf)
    mybookshelf: Similarly whimsical interpretations of the difficulties of being a princess.
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» See also 112 mentions

English (81)  German (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
Castle in the Air is the underrated companion novel to Diana Wynne Jones’ beloved Howl’s Moving Castle. While the setting and characters are mostly different, Jones’ clever, albeit short, addition of the characters from the first novel, provide value to an already strong standalone plot. The novel follows Abdullah, a young carpet merchant in the neighboring country of Zanzib. When he comes into the possession of a flying carpet, his once mundane life turns upside down as his lofty dreams rapidly start coming true.

The novel is a fun, wide-sweeping romp through Zanzib, a land ripe with genies, pirates, and djinns, and the already established country of Ingary. The main character, Abdullah, while a daydreamer, works very hard and has an active imagination which never fails to entertain. The companions he meets during his journey are just as interesting. A belligerent genie who twists others’ wishes to his pleasing, a cat-loving soldier from the nearby country, Strangia, and a mother cat and her kitten are just a few of the many travelers Abdullah befriends along the way.

Similar to Howl’s Moving Castle, magic also plays a significant role in the novel, although there is a larger emphasis on the exotic, particularly prophecy. Both Abdullah and his love interest, Flower-in-the-Night, live under the constant pressure of prophecies made at their births, which add an element of mystery to the plot. Will their prophecies come true, and if they do, will they play out in predicted ways?

Surprising twists and turns are a common element in Jones’ work, so expect a few throughout this novel too. The plot and timeline are very straight-forward, but don’t let their simplicity fool you.

If you love Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer from the first novel, there will be moments where you will wish they appear more often. Don’t get frustrated when they don’t appear right away. Most importantly, don’t put the book down for this reason! I promise their eventual appearance will be worth it.

Diana Wynne Jones’ Castle in the Air is a rollicking adventure filled with new faces and familiar friends. As Abdullah sets out on his quest of discovery, keep your mind open to the peculiar. You may learn a thing or two. ( )
  Codonnelly | Jun 24, 2019 |
A quick and charming book that kept me guessing. Unfortunately, I did not relate to Abdullah as much as I did Sophie in Moving Castle. ( )
  aspirit | Mar 6, 2019 |
DWJ Book Toast, #7

Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite fantasy authors, growing up and now, and I was saddened by the news of her death. I can't say I'm overcome with emotion - as personal as some of her work is to me, its not like I knew her after all - but I wish I could put into words how I feel about her no longer being out there, writing new adventures and laughing at all of us serious fans thinking so hard about her words when we should simply get on with the business of enjoying them.

And that's...what I'm going to do. She's left behind a huge body of work, a large amount of which I haven't read yet, so I'm going to reread all my old favorites (and hopefully some new).

It's very silly of me to want Diana Wynne Jones to have done something typical or expected, especially knowing how the Chrestomanci books go, but when I started reading 'Castle in the Air' all I wanted to read about was Sophie, Calcifer, Howl and the rest. This dimmed my appreciation for Abdullah and the Zanzib setting at first.

So don't worry if you're a little impatient like me, Sophie and the rest come along. Jones writing from the perspective of someone new to experiencing magic works out a whole lot better than picking back up with the old characters immediately, who would have identified too much for the reader too fast.

A fun installment for sure, but the prophesied love story just doesn't do it for me. Fate is a powerful motivator, but I think Jones' characters are best when they have more leeway to make their own decisions.

Howl

Next: 'The House of Many Ways'

Previous 'Howl's Moving Castle' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
3.5 stars. It's a good book, I just wanted more Howl and Sophie, and Calcifer. ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
Just as fantastic as the first one. ( )
  picklefactory | Jan 16, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craig, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Jos. ACover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viitanen, VilleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Far to the south of the land of Ingary, in the Sultanates of Rashpuht, a young carpet merchant called Abdullah lived in the city of Zanzib.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0064473457, Mass Market Paperback)

Abdullah was a young and not very prosperous carpet dealer. His father, who had been disappointed in him, had left him only enough money to open a modest booth in the Bazaar. When he was not selling carpets, Abdullah spent his time daydreaming. In his dreams he was not the son of his father, but the long-lost son of a prince. There was also a princess who had been betrothed to him at birth. He was content with his life and his daydreams until, one day, a stranger sold him a magic carpet.

In this stunning sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones has again created a large-scale, fast-paced fantasy in which people and things are never quite what they seem. There are good and bad djinns, a genie in a bottle, wizards, witches, cats and dogs (but are they cats and dogs?), and a mysterious floating castle filled with kidnapped princesses, as well as two puzzling prophecies. The story speeds along with tantalizing twists and turns until the prophecies are fulfilled, true identities are revealed, and all is resolved in a totally satisfying, breathtaking, surprise-filled ending.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:19 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Having long indulged himself in daydreams more exciting than his mundane life as a carpet merchant, Abdullah unexpectedly purchases a magic carpet and his life changes dramatically as his daydreams come true and dangerous adventures become daily fare.

» see all 5 descriptions

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