Abdullah is a carpet merchant, he buys and sells rugs in his humble stall and is content in his life (as long as the family of his father’s first wife can stop meddling). One day he buys a carpet. Nothing unusual about that, except the carpet is a magic flying kind. Now he begins his adventure; the carpet takes him to a beautiful garden where he meets and falls in love with a princess; she’s abducted by a beast; her father blames Abdullah and imprisons him; Abdullah escapes, loses the carpet, and gains a grumpy genie in a bottle; the genie sends him to a dishonest soldier for help rescuing the princess. And there are cats. Don’t forget the cats.
This is a wonderful story. The adventure begins immediately, and just like her other tales you don’t know which way the story will spin or who is going to be doing something they shouldn’t.
Of course, silly me, I skipped this book initially and read House of Many Ways. That probably explains why I had low expectations (House of Many Ways was lacking for most of it until Sophie and Howl and Calcifer appeared). I thought Castle in the Air was a stand-alone with no Sophie or Howl or Calcifer, so when they appeared (YAY!) I was ecstatic. But before they made their appearance I was happy. The story is great, fast paced and flowed effortlessly. I liked Abdullah, though I disliked his dislike of cats and the culture around getting married in his homeland, he was a very polite and unassuming character.
Actually, the more I think about Abdullah, the more I realise he wasn’t actually a fully fleshed out character. Ha. That makes things different. Apart from saying he’s polite and an eloquent speaker, I didn’t get much of a read on the guy. I do have to say it was strange for the princess to fall in love with him so quickly.
It’s the story. That’s what makes it. And the rest of the characters with their flaws and little habits (that genie and his habit of turning people into toads, priceless).
I really did love the story and want so much to read it again. In fact, I should go back to the beginning and read Howl’s Moving Castle and do them all in order this time.