Abdullah is a carpet merchant who dreams of being an exiled prince who meets a beautiful princess. But when he buys a flying carpet, and all his dreams start coming true, he quickly realizes dreams of adventure are much harder in reality. And when the princess he loves is kidnapped by a djinn, he seems to be the only person interested in rescuing her. From his home in the desert city of Zanzib to the northern streets of Kingsbury, Abdullah chases after her. . .
Where Howl’s Moving Castle is a skewering of traditional European fairy tales, Castle in the Air is a retelling of Aladdin. Or more precisely, Aladdin as it might be if the flying carpet were a beaten up rag, the genie horribly bad-tempered and prone to making every wish as disastrous as he can, and Aladdin himself a rather ordinary (if very polite) young man increasingly put out by the difficulties in rescuing his beloved Flower-in-the-Night.
As a standalone, I like it, though it isn’t my favorite Jones book by far. The ties to the first book come very late in the story, and in a surprising way, and Howl, Sophie, and the other familiar faces are very minor characters next to Abdullah and his quest.
Overall this is a decent read, though not much good if you were hoping for a lot more Howl. I rate this book Recommended.