Review: Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones

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Publication: 1990
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Pages:  285 pages
Source: Amazon
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, YA, Magic
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤

“I never said my wishes were supposed to do any good,” said the genie. “In fact, I swore that they would always do as much harm as possible” (Jones 102-103).

I have gone on and on about my love for Howl’s Moving Castle on here and my bookstagram (my non HMC obsessed followers must be SICK of me, though bookstagram is the place where I’ve found many of my fellow HMC lovers). When I found out that Howl’s Moving Castle was a series, I knew I had to read the rest of the series as quickly as possible, I needed every little Howl thing I could set my eyes on.

That was a year ago.

Yes, I bought the series last year with the plan of re-reading Howl’s Moving Castle and the other two books in the series but other things got in the way. The biggest thing was that I had a big reading slump, which I did thankfully get out of, but by that point I had too many books from the library that needed to be read.

Anyways, that’s a long way of saying that the Howl’s Moving Castle series got pushed to the backburner, but I’m happy I can finally read them now!

Castle in the Air follows the young carpet merchant Abdullah of Zanzib who can’t stop daydreaming about a more exciting life for himself, one away from carpets, the Bazaar, and his father’s first wife’s relatives. His life takes an unexpected turn of Fate when a strange man comes to the Bazaar and prompts Abdullah to buy a magical flying carpet which in the night takes him to the beautiful Flower-in-the-Night. But on the night they plan to elope she is taken by a powerful and fearsome djinn and it is up to Abdullah, his new friend a Strangian soldier, an unhappy genie, and two cats to get the princess back.

Castle in the Air is much different than Howl’s Moving Castle and in many ways is more of a companion novel than a direct sequel. We are in a new setting with new magic and different magical beings like djinn’s and genie’s, but eventually we do find our way back to Ingary and other familiar settings from the first book as well as some familiar faces along the way.

As always, Wynne’s stories are full of magic both literally and metaphorically. The magic in Castle in the Air is very different from Howl’s Moving Castle but gives reader’s an idea of how vast and complicated it is in the world she’s created. I loved seeing it’s dimensions, and loved seeing Wynne’s signature cleverness hiding throughout the story only to be revealed in the very end.

As much as I love the first book Howl’s Moving Castle I really hope more people become aware of the other books in the series because (so far) they seem to be amazing and perfect companions/sequels to the first. It’s definitely different, but I fell in love with Abdullah, Flower-in-the-Night, the soldier, Zanzib, and everything the story had to offer just as I did with HMC. It’s a beautiful story that only makes me more confident in including Wynne on my list of favourite authors.

Oh Diana Wynne Jones, you made me fall in love with your writing with the forever lovely Howl’s Moving Castle and you keep that love growing with every book of yours I find. It will be a sad sad day when I’ve read all your works, but the blessing in that is I can always read them all again.

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