Castle in the Air

Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones I love these books, and after reading Howl's Moving Castle I often quite happily scold myself for not reading them sooner. I can reread them until kingdom come and not get bored of them.

Here there be spoilers and such ~

I won't lie, I was a little hesitant to get into this book. The setting seemed so wildly different from Howl's Moving Castle that I was concerned it would be difficult to get absorbed into the book. Nonetheless, I was eager to read it and got stick after some initial panicking.

I was hooked onto it almost immediately. One of the things I quickly noticed with the first book is that Jones' writing is very easy to get into, no matter your level of experience with reading. It's quirky and colourful, and rarely lets the story dry out. The writing style is slightly more smoothed out and somewhat improved in Castle in the Air, but doesn't lose that ease of enjoyment whatsoever.

Going to start with the cons, as there were only really two I could find:

The Niecebrides - I like seeing characters that aren't fat just for the sake of it, which these two did seem to be. It made me sort of uncomfortable that one of the reasons pointed out for why Abdullah found them so unappealing was simply because Flower-in-the-Night was not fat.

'As for thinking they would make companions for Flower-in-the-Night - phooey! She was intelligent, educated and kind, as well as being beautiful (and thin).'

That's not really a good enough reason for me personally, and reading that really made me squirm a fair bit. It seemed like there was plenty enough to find unappealing about them without bringing body size into it.

The Soldier and his cats - At first they did seem interestingly throw-away, but by the end of the book I just loved how much they did indeed tie in with the story. Despite that, the subplot of them travelling and just trying to get to Kingsbury seemed a tad drawn out, though it was good for getting to know Abdullah better.

I've already mentioned most of the pros I've listed out, but I've yet to mention my favourite:

Sophie and Howl - I loved these two in the first book, and I just adore them in this one. Sophie in particular. She's so hilariously useless with her newborn baby, despite being clearly a great mother in the making, but as he's still just a newborn coming to terms with not being a kitten, she's just so out of her comfort zone. I love that. The first book did imply that Howl was good with kids to an extent - or should I say Howell, as much of that shines through when he's interacting with his niece and nephew.

'Howl seemed more used to holding babies than Sophie was. He rocked Morgan soothingly and stared at him. Morgan stared, rather balefully, back. "My word, he's ugly!" Howl said. "Chip off the old block."'

Sophie and Howl, and now with Morgan, are one of the extreme few cases where I really actively enjoyed a relationship in a story (even though it isn't really shown aside from some hugging, possibly a kiss here or there, can't recall). They're an entirely unconventional family and I just loved reading about them.

I love these books. I'll reread them often I predict, and enjoy them just as much each time. It's completely understandable to see why her books are often called classics. I know I can't get enough of them.