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Castle in the Air
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About the Author

In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011) wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards--and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter--her books are filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy.

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Abdullah the rug merchant leaves his humdrum life far behind when he purchases a threadbare magic carpet from a mysterious stranger. Almost immediately, Abdullah is whisked off on a series of adventures that bear an uncanny resemblance to his own daydreams. He meets the love of his life only to have her kidnapped by a fierce djinn. With the help of the magic carpet--and an ornery genie--Abdullah sets out to rescue his bride-to-be. His travels take him to the fairy tale land of Ingary, the setting of this novel's predecessor, Howl's Moving Castle. As usual, Jones has constructed a wonderfully complicated plot, chock-full of magical mayhem. However, while her other interconnected novels ( Charmed Life , The Magicians of Caprona and The Lives of Christopher Chant ) can be read on their own, the final third of Abdullah's story is likely to confuse readers not already acquainted with the characters introduced in the first book. Those familiar with Ingary will welcome the chance to return and catch up on the doings of its exuberant inhabitants. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Gr 6 Up-- In this sequel to Howl's Moving Castle (Greenwillow, 1986), Jones once again exercises her talent for humor in a lively fantasy adventure. It is not necessary to read Howl first; the story stands strongly on its own. In fact, fans of Jones' earlier book may be puzzled at first as to what the connection could be . . . until they glimpse hovering on the horizon a castlelike cloud . . . or is it a cloudlike castle? At any rate, the story begins as Abdullah, a humble carpet merchant in the marketplace of Zanzib, acquires a flying carpet and lands in the midst of a series of fantastic adventures. The cast of characters includes an evil djinn, beautiful princesses, a genie in a bottle, women-turned-cats, and soldiers-turned-frogs. This is the Arabian Nights with a twist. Readers may be breathless from the rapid changes of scene and quick pace of events, but they won't put down the book until they figure out all its secrets. --Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library

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