The story of Abdullah and his rescue mission is so fun it’s unreal. I picked this book up because it was recommended by Jo, or rather, she wanted me to read it and review it. Diana Wynne Jones is quickly becoming an author I wish I had discovered in my childhood.
The story begins by introducing us to Abdullah, who is slightly reminiscent of Aladdin, they look the same in my mind at least but that may be the effect of too much Disney as a kid. Abdullah runs a carpet stall in a market but he’s a notorious daydreamer and dreams of finding a beautiful bride. His father’s family however, have other plans. They plan to marry him to two fat cousins because of a prophecy made at Abdullah’s birth.
Abdullah buys a magic carpet and that’s really when the story gets interesting. He meets a princess, tells her a made up life story, the princess gets kidnapped, and Abdullah has to go find her.
On his adventure, he meets a soldier, a genie, a cat called Midnight and her kitten Whippersnapper, plus Lettie Hatter and The Wizard Suliman (they’re married now, Lettie’s pregnant) and they all help him get to the Castle In The Sky where his princess is being held captive.
As is my usual aim in these reviews, I try to keep them spoiler free so I’ll only mention this next part as a side note for you all. While this book is set in the same universe as Howl’s Moving Castle, Howl and Sophie only make very brief appearances. Michael is only mentioned and you don’t see too much of Howl’s castle either.
That being said, the last quarter of the story is set in Kingsbury (and above it). The king is mentioned but again not really seen, not that he played much of a role in the last book, and we learn a great deal more about the world in which Howl and Sophie now live.
All in all, this book is probably one I would have read to death as a kid and is likely to be a good story for 10-15 year olds, after that I can see interest waning in it.