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Castle in the Air: 08/17/06

Castle in the Air

I keep wanting to call Castle in the Air, the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky. I think this is because I have seen and enjoyed Hayao Miyazaki's 1986 film Castle in the Sky and of course his 2005 adapation of Howl's Moving Castle. Castle in the Sky, however, is inspired not by Jones's books but by one of the lesser known chapters of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.

I have to admit that I haven't finished reading Howl's Moving Castle but I have read enough to get a general sense of how the character dynamics differ in the film and the book. In reading the sequel I found that the characters acted more like they do in the film than they do in the first book. Sophie is more self confident, Howl is less arrogant and Calcifer is more playful. Michael is not in the second book so there is nothing to compare.

Here is my BookCrossing review:

After awhile I found Abdullah's flowery speech annoying. I suppose Jones was trying to make him sound exotic but a little bit of it goes a long way. Abdullah's dialogue is over-kill.

Setting aside the problems with Abdullah, it's a cute story that lets fans of Howl's Moving Castle revisit the characters but from a new perspective, that of a carpet salesman from a vaguely Arabian (think more of 1001 Arabian Nights than an actual Arabian country) country. So of course there are Djinn, and a genie in a bottle and a magic carpet. There are also two demon cats who can make themselves larger. And somewhere in the confusion is Howl, Sophie and Calcifer. Figuring out where they are is the really fun bit of the book.

Had Abdullah been written with greater care I would have rated the story a 10 out of 10. I enjoyed the story of a carpet seller going to an exotic land to rescue a princess with the help of a ex-soldier but Abdullah's flowery language gets in the way of the story's flow.

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