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

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

by Diana Wynne Jones


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Castle in the Air (Howl's Castle Series #2) by Diana Wynne Jones

Young merchant Abdullah leads a humble life. Or he did until a stranger sold him a threadbare—and disagreeable—magic carpet. Now Abdullah is caught in the middle of his grand daydreams. Waking one night in a luxurious garden, he meets and falls instantly in love with the beautiful and clever Flower-in-the-Night. But a wicked djinn sweeps the princess away right before Abdullah's eyes, leaving the young man no choice but to follow. This is no ordinary quest, however, for Flower-in-the-Night isn't all the djinn has stolen. Abdullah will have the so-called help of the cantankerous carpet, a cranky genie in a bottle, a dishonest soldier, and a very opinionated black cat. Will this motley crew be able to find the djinn's mysterious dwelling and rescue a castle full of princesses?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061478772
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/22/2008
Series: Howl's Castle Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 42,195
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About 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.

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.

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Castle in the Air 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 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!
Crewman_Number_6 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
I was a little disappointed in this book. The story was good, but it was a flimsy attempt at a sequel. When I picked this book up, I did not even realize that it was supposed to be a sequel. The characters from Howl's Moving Castle are not even introduced until you are 3/4 into the book. I was glad that I had previously read Howl, or else I would have been very lost because the characters are poorly developed.It would have been so much better if it had stood as a story in it own right, or fully developed into a proper sequel.
fengshoe on LibraryThing 3 days ago
I loved Howl's Moving Castle and had hoped its sequel was just as good if not better. Unfortunately, that was not the case for me. Castle in the Air is a fun read as well, but is lacking in an interesting main character. You can relate to Sophie and love Howl despite his flaws but Abdullah is flat and annoying compared with the first novel's main characters. If you are looking for a continuation of Sophie and Howl's story, you won't find it. They make appearances yes, but again this story centers on Abdullah and his love for Flower-in-the-Night, who in spite of her silly name is far more interesting then him. Which is shame really since she isn't in the novel nearly as much.In spite of this however, the book is just as funny and entertaining as the first, if not a slower read. What little you do get of Sophie and Howl and other characters from the first book is wonderful and certainly makes the reader wish the book did center on them. I would encourage readers of the first book to read this one because of the cameos which almost makes up for Abdullah.
booksearcher on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Picked this one up to see the how Sofie and Howl turned out and but I must say that while not as engaging as the first book this one was still a good book. More like Arabian nights with fantasy added in but still a great read.
kyira.kalifax on LibraryThing 3 days ago
The book stands fairly well on its own, more so than it does as a sequel. It's connection to Howl's Moving Castle doesn't become apparent until a little over half way through the book. Howl's and Sophie's story takes an unexpected, but considering their personalities not unbelievable, turn that has you chuckling in amusement.
banshea on LibraryThing 9 days ago
Diana Wynne Jones tackles the world of 1001 Arabian Nights in this book, much like her treatment of the Grimm Brothers' stories in Howl's Moving Castle. I was sorely disappointed by this book, as I bought it because it's the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, but the characters I came to love in that book were barely even in this one! I think I would have liked it a lot better if I hadn't had that expectation of it.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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