Castle in the Air – Diana Wynne Jones
Supposedly the sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Air is a perfect standalone. Originally when I read it I didn’t even realise that the two were related. Imagine my delight and surprise in the last few chapters where characters from Howl’s Moving Castle showed up? But yes, it was only in the last few chapters so don’t go into this one expecting to see a continuation.
In fact, this story is set approximately 3 years after the events of Howl’s Moving Castle.
Castle in the Air follows the adventure of carpet merchant Abdullah to rescue the princess he loves from an evil Djinn. It deals with the same overall theme of fate and destiny and how one can change it if one is determined enough. It also includes the same delightful magic and character descriptions of Howl’s Moving Castle. The magic, however, is based on Eastern lore rather than that of the West – which means magic carpets, djinns and genies. Wynne Jones takes the cliches of all such stories and gives them an original spin.
Like Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Air is a wonderful family read with strong morals about honour, courage and love. Howl’s Moving Castle, however, tops it in my mind when it comes to original ideas and character interaction. Which isn’t really saying much. Howl’s Moving Castle tops most books for me.