This is marketed as 'a sequel to 'Howl's Moving Castle', but the familiar characters from that book don't make an appearance (well, that we know of) till the very end of the book - so readers who are not familiar with that book will equally enjoy this. It's just sort of that for fans of 'Howl's Moving Castle', there's a bonus at the end!
It's an Arabian-Nights-flavored story of a young Middle Eastern carpet dealer who, against his better judgement, is convinced to buy an allegedly magic carpet. But when he falls asleep on the rug, he wakes to find himself transported to a garden inhabited by a beautiful young woman. At first, he believes it's only a dream - but the carpet's powers of flight are real, and soon he finds himself with an enraged Sultan to deal with, not to mention assorted bandits, a temperamental genie, and more... Familiar elements, but Wynne Jones' wit and style make the story fresh and entertaining.
This is my least favorite of the HMC books. It's basically an Aladinn re-telling with Howl and Calcifer jammed into the corners. It's nicely told, and to my surprise I re-read it all the way through, but I don't think it's fair to bill it as a "Sequel" to Howl's Moving Castle. It's a companion book at best, and it's really not about Howl and his gang. Nor does it have the wonderful all-original feel of the first novel, for the reason mentioned above.
That's not to say it's a bad book. The author simply did a good job of getting me to like the original bunch and I wanted to see more of them, not Flower-in-the-Night.
This review applies to the audio version.
Second in the "Castle" YA fantasy series (the first was Howl's Moving Castle) although we don't actually run into characters from the first book until about the last third of the story. Not really a series, they're just sort of loosely connected. Most of it is about Abdullah, a young carpet-seller in the desert country called Zanzib who daydreams about a life much unlike his own--with himself a prince stolen by evil men and who ends up married to a beautiful princess, and not a seller of carpets besieged by his late father's first wife's nosy family.
Meanwhile, Abdullah is sold a magic carpet by a mysterious stranger, and he finds that when he sleeps on it, many of his daydreams seem to come true as he travels to far-off places--and he ends up in Ingary (the country in the first book) with a magic genie in a bottle and a disenfranchised Strangian soldier and a couple of cats, trying to chase down the Princess Flower-in-the-Night, who was stolen by an evil djinn.
Full of good humor, a good story and some great characters, and very well-read also by Jenny Sterlin. Going to look for the next one in this sort-of series.
"This ebullient follow-up to Howl's Moving Csatle lives up to its predecessor's wacky humor and mysterious goings-on. Jones maintains both suspense and wit throughout, demostrating once again that frequently nothing is what it seems to be. Readers of the first book will welcome the sequel with glee." ALA Booklist
A story which begins far to the south of Ingary with a lovely yet fairly traditional genie and magic carpet beginning, but later on we do revisit Sophie and Howl and the cast of Howl's Moving Castle and the story gets just as wonderfully twisted as before...
Another awesome story by Diana Wynne Jones. I loved her little connections in this book that ties this story to another one of her's. It was such a good read, definitely recommended!