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Castle in the Air (Howl's Castle Series #2)

Castle in the Air (Howl's Castle Series #2)

4.3 63
by Diana Wynne Jones

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Abdullah the rug merchant leaves his humdrum life far behind when he purchases a threadbare magic carpet from a mysterious stranger. Almost immediately, Abdullah is whisked off on a series of adventures that bear an uncanny resemblance to his own daydreams. He meets the love of his life only to have her kidnapped by a fierce djinn. With the help of the magic carpet--and an ornery genie--Abdullah sets out to rescue his bride-to-be. His travels take him to the fairy tale land of Ingary, the setting of this novel's predecessor, Howl's Moving Castle. As usual, Jones has constructed a wonderfully complicated plot, chock-full of magical mayhem. However, while her other interconnected novels ( Charmed Life , The Magicians of Caprona and The Lives of Christopher Chant ) can be read on their own, the final third of Abdullah's story is likely to confuse readers not already acquainted with the characters introduced in the first book. Those familiar with Ingary will welcome the chance to return and catch up on the doings of its exuberant inhabitants. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Although called a companion book to Howl's Moving Castle, this story is more rightfully a flight of fancy inspired by The Arabian Nights. Abdullah, the likeable young hero, is a rug merchant, a spinner of extravagant words, and a dreamer who finds himself in possession of a magic carpet capable of fulfilling his wildest fantasies to a point. The always on-the-cusp desire-fulfillment is the point of Wynne-Jones' teasing fable. Constantly pressed and stretched, Abdullah is given the opportunity to grow into the sort of hero who finally deserves his excellent destiny. The cast of characters includes good/bad djinns, a sardonic cat-loving mercenary soldier, a wish-subverting genie, a truly frowzy dog and, of course, Abdullah's princess, Flower-in-the-Night. Wynne-Jones takes evident delight in playing the puppet master tugging all the strings of her story till they finally manage to include not only her Sophie and Howl, but also their stolen castle. The end result is a charming, fluffy romance surely capable of prolonging the life of the unnamed Scheherazade narrating the tale. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-- In this sequel to Howl's Moving Castle (Greenwillow, 1986), Jones once again exercises her talent for humor in a lively fantasy adventure. It is not necessary to read Howl first; the story stands strongly on its own. In fact, fans of Jones' earlier book may be puzzled at first as to what the connection could be . . . until they glimpse hovering on the horizon a castlelike cloud . . . or is it a cloudlike castle? At any rate, the story begins as Abdullah, a humble carpet merchant in the marketplace of Zanzib, acquires a flying carpet and lands in the midst of a series of fantastic adventures. The cast of characters includes an evil djinn, beautiful princesses, a genie in a bottle, women-turned-cats, and soldiers-turned-frogs. This is the Arabian Nights with a twist. Readers may be breathless from the rapid changes of scene and quick pace of events, but they won't put down the book until they figure out all its secrets. --Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Howl's Castle Series , #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.76(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

In which Abdulla buys a carpet

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. As merchants go, he was not rich. His father had been disappointed in him, and when he died, he had only left Abdullah Just enough money to buy and stock a modest booth in the northwest corner of the Bazaar. The rest of his father's money, and the large carpet emporium in the center of the Bazaar, had all gone to the relatives of his father's first wife.

Abdullah had never been told why his father was disappointed in him. A prophecy made at Abdullah's birth had something to do with it. But Abdullah had never bothered to find out more. Instead, from a very early age, he had simply made up daydreams about it. In his daydreams, he was really the long-lost son of a great prince, which meant, of course, that his father was not really his father. It was a complete castle in the air, and Abdullah knew it was, Everyone told him he inherited his father's looks. When he looked in a mirror, he saw a decidedly handsome young man, in a thin, hawk-faced way, and knew he looked very like the portrait of his father as a young man, always allowing for the fact that his father wore a flourishing mustache, whereas Abdullah was still scraping together the six hairs on his upper lip and hoping they would multiply soon.

Unfortunately, as everyone also agreed, Abdullah had inherited his character from his mother-his father's second wife-who had been a dreamy and timorous woman and a great disappointment to everyone. This did not bother Abdullah particularly. The life ofa carpet merchant holds few opportunities for, bravery, and he was, on the whole, content with it. The booth he had bought, though small, turned out to be rather well placed. It was not far from the West Quarter, where the rich people lived in their big houses surrounded by beautiful gardens. Better still, it was the first part of the Bazaar the carpet makers came to when they came into Zanzib from the desert to the north. Both the rich people and the carpet makers were usually seeking the bigger shops in the center of the Bazaar, but a surprisingly large number of them were ready to pause at the booth of a young carpet merchant when that young merchant rushed out into their paths and offered them bargains and discounts with most profuse politeness.

In this way, Abdullah was quite often able to buy best-quality carpets before anyone else saw them, and sell them at a profit, too. In between buying and selling he could sit in his booth and continue with his daydream, which suited him very well. In fact, almost the only trouble in his life came from his father's first wife'srelations, who would keep visitinghim once a month in order to point out his failings.

"But you're not saving any of your profits!" cried Abdullah's father's first wife's brother's son, Hakim (whom Abdullah detested), one fateful day,

Abdullah explained that when he made a profit, his custom was to use that money to buy a better carpet. Thus, although all his money was bound up in his stock, it was getting to be better and better stock. He had enough to live on. And as he told his father's relatives, he had no need of more since he was not married.

"Well, you should be married!" cried Abdullah's father's first wife's sister, Fatima (whom Abdullah detested even more than Hakim). "I've said it once, and I'll say it again -- a young man like you should have at least two wives by now!" And not content with simply saying so, Fatima declared that this time she was going to look out for some wives for him-an offer which made Abdullah shake in his shoes.

"And the more valuable your stock gets, the more likely you are to be robbed, or the more you'll lose if your booth catches fire. Have you thought of that?"nagged Abdullah's father's first wife's uncle's son, Assif (a man whom Abdullah hated more than the first two put together).

He assured Assif that he always slept in the booth and was very careful of the lamps. At that all three of his father's first wife's relatives shook their heads, tut-tutted, and went away. This usually meant they would leave him in peace for another month. Abdullah sighed with relief and plunged straight back into his daydream.

The daydream was enormously detailed by now. In it, Abdullah was the son of a mighty prince who lived so far to the east that his country was unknown in Zanzib. But Abdullah had been kidnapped at the age of two by a villainous bandit called Kabul Aqba. Kabul Aqba had a hooked nose like the beak of a vulture and wore a gold ring clipped into one of his nostrils. He carried a pistol with a silver-mounted stock with which he menaced Abdullah, and there was a bloodstone in his turban which seemed to give him more than human power. Abdullah was so frightened that he ran away into the desert, where he was found by the man he called his father now. The daydream took no account of the fact that Abduffah's father had never ventured into the desert in his life; indeed, he had often said that anyone who ventured beyond Zanzib must be mad. Nevertheless, Abdullah could

Castle in the Air. Copyright © by Diana Jones. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones (1934‒2011) wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books are filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy.

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Castle in the Air 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
JoriWinter More than 1 year ago
Many of the other reviewers seem to have discovered Diana Wynne Jones only after watching the animated version of Howl's Moving Castle, prompting complaints about this being insufficient sequel material. Well, if you are a fan of her work, you should know that her sequels are not the sequels of other authors- they fall into the same universe, and cameos of previous characters appear, but it's hardly a chronological storyline. Each new book focuses on new main characters with elements of the old. Consider it as similar to the Discworld series, or Kushner's Swordspoint. As for the book itself, you follow along the not-quite-intrepid carpet-selling hero as he escapes death, bandits, and the sultan, and finds himself caught up in an international struggle to save all the world's princesses from an evil djinn. Meanwhile, he's obsessed with marrying his own princess, the sultan's daughter. She starts out sheltered but beautiful, but along the way both manage just enough character development that you are glad to see their happy ending, which is- again- exactly DWJ's style. Bonus: daydreams can be embarrassing, cats are evil but cute, and the main character develops taste.
Ashlbee More than 1 year ago
What other author would first take you through a war with wizards, witches, and a medieval setting, then whisk you away to a land of deserts and sands where cranky sultans and magic carpets are the norm? And further more, what other author could get away with it? This book is certainly unique. You must approach it with an open mind because if you are looking for a direct sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, then you may be disappointed. While they do tie into each other, it is not until much later in the novel and very little. As s reader I do not enjoy Jone's particular writing style, however I do appreciate it for it's difference and the creativity with which she crafts her plots and stories. Her books are very much event stories. If you enjoy reading a book purely for the events and adventures that take place, you will thoroughly enjoy this! If, however, you are like me and like lots of character development, you may be unhappy. Overall this book is very entertaining, humorous, and completely unbelievable in the most whimsical and enjoyable way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've just started reading this book, and I already love it. I recently finished Howl's Moving Castle and loved that book, too. I noticed a lot of people didn't like this book because it doesn't continue the story of the first book. I think these people need to read The Chronicles of Narnia-ALL of them. They aren't all the same story in the same order, yet they all come together quite perfectly in the end. I love Diana Wynne Jones's style of writing and the way she describes scenes and people. I have a hard time putting it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best from the best. A true work a fantasy woven with plots and morals, and spun together to create the ultimate book for fantasy lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I do admit that I partially picked up the novel because it was the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle,but all the same it was an amazing novel that could have held up on its own! I love the fact that I can relate to Abdullah on so many levels because he's a big daydreamer which gets him in so much trouble.At first I couldn't see how it was the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle,but towards the end it all came together.Diana Wynne Jones wrote an amazing,witty novel which deserves far more stars than I'm allowed to put!!! For anyone who's looking for a novel with humor,a flying carpet,& humor;you can't do any better than Castle in the air unless of course you prefer Howl's Moving Castle!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book, was a great, and adventurous story. If you like fantasy, you will absolutely love this book. It wisks you away to a land of magic carpets, genies, and princesses. It is a love story too, what with Abdullah searching for lost love, Flower In the Night. So, I would absolutely recommend this book, for any child or adult who is willing to read it!
Anonymous 26 days ago
It is Ok. I liked Howl's moving castle better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It takes a while for the characters from the first book to show up, but they do. I actually preferred the earlier part of the story before Howl shows up, as it is this amazing immersion into another culture where you can just feel the magic in the air and I couldn't put the story down even to sleep! The people in this culture don't just accept magic as an ordinary fact of life, they live and breathe and ooze magic through their pores, they are so immersed in it. I've seen a number of reviews that compared this to Aladdin, but there is a whole body of literature out there consisting of hundreds of stories that have nothing to do with Aladdin but do have Arabian images, the Jinn, and magic. What those stories don't have is Diana Wynn Jones' way of pulling you into the story so you feel you've plunked down out of the sky into the setting she's created, and you are right there, in the story with the characters. Her characters become your friends, or they truly annoy you, because you feel yourself living out he story with them. Some authors have great characters, some are great at the story. Diana was a master at both, and I think this story shows her true mastery of this combination more than any other story of hers that I've read. It will really pull you in, so put your expectations for the sequel aside, lean back and prepare for a fun ride into the realm of imagination.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Obviously some of you haven't read narnia because some of the books are totally different but come together in the end. Anyway Diana Wynne Jones is a great author and this novel definitely shows her skill.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bbb57 More than 1 year ago
The first book in this series Howl's Moving Castle is much better, but I still enjoyed the read. It is Harry Potter meets Aladdin, meets the Arabian nights, and a nasty witch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved revisiting all the inhabitants of ingary from howl's moving castle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reminds me of Aladdin with more characters. Very entertaining read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is by all means, THE best book written EVER! I love this book sooooooooo much! I've at leastread the book only like 100 times!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jamespotterwasntaseeker More than 1 year ago
It was an interesting book. I would definitely read it again.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
"Castle in the Air" is Diana Wynne Jones' sequel to her amazingly awesome novel "Howl's Moving Castle." It was originally published in 1990 (four years after "Howl's Moving Castle"). At first glance, this novel doesn't sound like a sequel--it sounds more like a companion book at best--but I promise it does explain more about Howl and Sophie, just not right away and not, perhaps, in the most obvious way. That said, this story is set in the Sultanates of Rashpuht a land far to the south of Ingary (where Howl and Sophie make their home). Instead of a land akin to King Arthur and Merlin, Rashpuht is much more likely to harbor Aladdin and other desert-dwellers. This change in setting, along with a new protagonist, make for the most dramatic differences between "Castle in the Air" and its predecessor. Abdullah works as a carpet merchant in the city of Zanzib. Abdullah's stall may not be as prosperous as his father's first wife's relatives would like, but Abdullah can't stand most of them so he doesn't worry too much. What really bothers Abdullah is the fact that he's selling carpets at all. Abdullah is convinced there is more to life and spends a good deal of his time daydreaming about what his life could be like if, say, he were a prince who had escaped bandits and disguised himself as a carpet merchant before he found his true love. All in all, the young man doesn't give his daydreams much thought until he is sold a mysterious carpet. With the carpet, Abdullah finds that all of his dreams seem to be coming true with alarming accuracy. Whisked to a magical garden, Abdullah meets and falls in love with the beautiful and intelligent Flower-in-the-Night only to have her abducted by an evil djinn. So begins Abdullah's adventure as he and his carpet set off to rescue his true love. This being a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, the plot is filled with charming twists and enjoyable characters throughout. The other great thing about this novel is how much Jones fleshes out the world she introduced in "Howl's Moving Castle." As the novel progresses, readers learn more about the relations between Ingary, Rashpuht, and Strangia (a land that becomes important later, trust me). At the same time, Jones also creates a completely new set of customs and even a new diction for her Rashpuhtian characters which gives the novel an impressive depth. I don't know if this was the intended effect but, even though both novels are written in English, this change in diction also creates the effect that the characters here speak a different language and that, on some level, their customs would be very foreign to those found in Ingary. One of Jones' best inventions is that buyers and sellers in Zanzib always speak to each other "in the most formal and flowery way." This habit creates a lot of conversations that function on a variety of levels much in the same way body language can add to an exchange. At the same time this type of double talk suggests that Abdullah is a shrewder narrator than Sophie might have been at the start of the novel. Abdullah doesn't always know exactly what's going on during the novel, but he always tries to make sure he comes out on top (or at least not on a forty foot pole). On its own, "Castle in the Air" is a lot of fun as far as fantasies go. Read in combination with "Howl's Moving Castle" and "House of Many Ways" (Jones' latest novel feat
SherlinKazi More than 1 year ago
Castle in the Air is an adventurous novel about a young man named Abdullah. He lives his normal life as a merchant which all changes one day when he bought a magic carpet. When he falls asleep at night the carpet leads him to where ever his dreams want. When he went to sleep the next day his carpet placed him in a land where he met a beautiful maiden named Flower-in-the-Night. At first he believes it is a dream but then he realizes it is reality. All of this seems like a dream come true for Abdullah who just wishes for a beautiful bride and a loving family but it all ends when the djinn stole his beloved Flower-in-the-Night. From there his all adventures start. From my point of view this is a great book for anyone who enjoys adventures and fantasies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago