Castle in the Air
Diana Wynne Jones
Reviewed by Avni Gupta (age 15) for Reader Views (7/08)
When I got “Castle in the Air” in the mail, I was really excited about reading it. I had already read the other stories about Howl and Sophie so I wanted to see what Diana Wynne Jones had come up with this time. She didn’t disappoint! Her book, “Castle in the Air,” was a twist on the normal Aladdin story, with different characters and different places, but all in all the same motive.
This book is all about the son of a late carpet merchant whose name is Abdullah. Abdullah is in love with a princess named Flower-in-the-Night. Before Flower-in-the-Night and Abdullah can get married and run away, she is taken by a djinn who is stealing all of the princesses from around the area. Abdullah then sets off to find his princess and then get married to her. He finds himself in a place far to the north of where he normally lives while he is on the quest to find his princess. There, he meets a soldier who is also a thief who becomes his travelling partner. Along the way, they meet up with a black cat and her kitten. Abdullah knows that there is something fishy about this cat but can’t quite put his finger on it.
The way that this book was written shows you that Diana Wynne Jones was an avid fan of the movie Aladdin. Many of the elements in this book are similar to the Disney movie. For example, in the movie Aladdin, Aladdin finds a magic carpet and a genie lamp. In this book, Abdullah buys a magic carpet and gets hold of a genie lamp. Another similarity between the movie and the book is the fact that they are both set in Middle Eastern places, with deserts and sand all around.
I think that “Castle in the Air” was an amazing read. It was interesting and made it so that putting down the book was hard to do. I think that I would recommend this book to anybody that has read any of Diana Wynne Jones’s other books and liked them.