Magic carpet chase \\ cold mist above desert dunes, \\ courtyard made of clouds.
#HAIKUPRAJNA — Castle in the Air [Book Review]
Castle in the Air, the second book by Diana Wynne Jones in her Howl’s Moving Castle series, follows another charming cast of characters with Abdullah, his friend Jamal, Jamal’s dog, a magic carpet, a Soldier, mother cat Midnight and her kitten Whippersnapper, a genie in a bottle, djinns, angels and strong princesses who avoid the helpless damsel in distress tropes.
A cool part of this world, which helped to distinguish the books in the series, was how the names of other locations change depending on which kingdom or country one was within, such as Ochinstan being Ingary. The cast of Howl’s Moving Castle was also hiding among these new members from Zanzib; I will avoid spoilers because I had a lot of fun trying to figure out their disguises, but Sophie’s peculiar brand of magic was still prominent and well used throughout the story.
Abdullah used his polite flowery morals as his magic charm while living the life of a carpet merchant.
He was sold a magic carpet by a djinn in disguise, and the carpet carried Abdullah, as he slept, to where the Sultan kept Flower-in-the-Night, his daughter, locked away. Their romance, along with Sophie and Howl’s, felt authentic, real and charming; Flower-in-the-Night’s keen intelligence and dry wit were great trade-offs from Sophie’s in the protagonist duo.
Flower-in-the-Night was stolen, among all the other princesses across the world, and taken to the eponymous castle in the sky by a giant djinn, where Abdullah was blamed but he escaped with the carpet to embark on a dreamlike journey to rescue the missing princesses. I want to reread these books soon in order to absorb just how much thought went into little things like the thief Kabul Aqba; the plot threads were woven together and were resolved or explained with complete satisfaction.