Diana Wynne Jones, “Castle in the Air”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0064473457/ref=benhourigan-co20 (1990; London: Collins, 2001), 285pp. â˜…â˜…â˜… (3 stars)
Pleasant but insubstantial sequel to _Howl’s Moving Castle_, with an _Arabian Nights_ flavour.
This sequel to “Howl’s Moving Castle”:http://benhourigan.com/archives/2005/12/04/howls-moving-castle/ begins at quite a distance from its predecessor’s very English setting in the Kingdom of Ingary. Its hero, Abdullah, hails from a world rich in the middle-eastern clichÃ©s of the _Arabian Nights_, and takes his sweet time making it to an intersection with the characters of _Howl’s Moving Castle_ in Ingary’s capital, Kingsbury.
_Castle in the Air_ has the same whimsical and random air as _Howl’s Moving Castle_, albeit with less sense of their being any substance behind it. There is, however, some beautiful prose, such as this description of the eponymous’ castle’s surroundings:
When the carpet bobbed up lighter and they had a chance to look around, they gasped again. For here were the islands and promontories and bays of dim gold that Abdullah had seen in the sunset, spreading out from beside them into the far silver distance, where they lay hushed and still and enchanted like a vista of paradise itself. The pellucid waves broke on the cloud shore with only the faintest of whispers, which seemed to add to the silence. (215)
It is sprinkled, too, with wry womanly wisdom such as the observation that “men who [eschew kissing and] do nothing but make fine speeches make very poor husbands.” (249) But although the feminine strength of Flower-in-the-Night recalls Sophie’s elderly tenacity in _Howl’s Moving Castle_, this book is far less rich in the wisdom department, and the poorer for being without the earlier book’s romantic triangles.