Book Review: Castle in the Air

Castle in the Air
Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I adore this book! The first book in this trilogy was fantastic and I had high expectations for this one too, and I was not disappointed. I love the old-fashioned fairytale style!
At first, I was wondering, “Where are Sophie and Howl? I want Sophie and Howl.” but they came into the story just perfectly later on, and I was so pleased.

This book follows the magical adventures of Abdullah, who is a carpet merchant. When he buys a magic carpet and falls in love with the Sultan’s daughter, you think you’re in for an Aladdin retelling, but the story is so much more than that. Abdullah travels north to Ingary, where the first book was set, and meets a magical cat, an irate genie, power-hungry djinns, an old soldier who is not who he seems to be, wizards, witches, and an alarming amount of princesses.

There are so many twists and turns in the plot that I was gasping over something wild in every chapter. I especially loved all the revealing of mysteries at the end! No one is quite who they seem to be, and I was surprised by all the revelations and resolutions in the last chapters.

I love that Abdullah is a day-dreamer. He spins all these fantasies in his head, but when they start coming true, he doesn’t know if he’s dreaming or awake or just going insane! He is deliciously humble and polite, and I love how he appreciates other people. He really sees the good in others, and praises them for it. But he also sees the bad, and sarcastically addresses that too.

Flower-in-the-Night is such a needed character in this book, because she’s intelligent and take-charge, but also sweet and innocent. She gets things done, thinks logically, but has a tender heart too. Her boundless curiosity and her willingness to learn are what make her such an effective leader. She commands respect and affection.

I’m so glad that Abdullah, rather than feeling threatened by Flower-in-the-Night’s skills, is appreciative of them, and admires her all the more for her strong attitude. Their relationship is so perfect, despite (and maybe because of) their insta-love, fairytale romance.

The fast pace of the story kept me reading quickly to see what wacky, unexpected thing is going to happen next!
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