Jen's Reviews > Castle in the Air

Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones
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's review
Apr 24, 2011

it was ok
Read in April, 2011

Castle in the Air is the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, but unlike its predecessor, it starts off in a slow moving way that makes you wonder how the two are related. Despite being exposed to many "flowery language"d tales from the middle east, I found the dialogue in the start of the book to be obnoxious, tedious and did not add to any sense of character development. I honestly expected a better hook from Diana Wynne Jones.

However, once the protagonist leaves his home town - truly his home country - and ventures to more familiar (at least to those of us who have read Howl's Moving Castle) territory, the flowery language becomes less of a chore and the related nature of the two stories starts to appear. Too bad the beginning of the story is so slow moving that it might put off readers from persevering until the "meat" of the tale.

The connection of our fair protagonist with someone from not-quite-Howl's-country would seem to be a good plot device for exposition, but Diana Wynne Jones misses out on several opportunities that would have aided the reader; for example, relating to the rules governing djins and genies. These rules seemed to be assumed to be clearly understood and yet also explain some of the cleverness in the conflict resolution. As I was reading this book away from an internet connection to trusty Wikipedia, I never did feel that the conflict resolution in Castle in the Air was as clever as that in Howl's Moving Castle.

That said, this book was okay. Not great. Not something I'd use as an introduction to the Howl trilogy. But it wasn't horrible. I don't begrudge the hours I spent reading this book. I wasn't put off Diana Wynne Jones's work. I do intend to read the next book in the Howl trilogy: House of Many Ways. I'll let you know if this book is just cursed mediocre because it is the second in the series, as so many second in a series are.

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