Saturday, June 12, 2010

Castle in the Air



Living at a place where mostly you see is sand, it's hard to avoid dreaming away in the daylight. Abdullah lived in a country where when you walk out of the city it's the desert in front of you. He is just a carpet merchant and considered as a failure from the eyes of his relatives. Abdullah himself is happy with his business which was was some money left from his late father for him. He manage to get a booth at the Bazaar which is quite nicely situated where it is not too far from the rich people's house. Once in a while he manage to buy carpets from young merchants and sells it as his booth earning a little bit of profit. Most of the day Abdullah can happily daydream away where he is a prince and he marries a princess. Sometimes his father's first wife's relatives would come and complain about how he is a failure but that didn't bother him a bit.

One day Abdullah bought a carpet that was claim to be magical. The owner demonstrated that it could fly and needed to sell because he needed money quickly. Abdullah was suspicious but still the carpet was quite good quality. Abdullah was not able to summon the carpet to even float, he was upset and fell asleep trying. His dreams became wonderful where he went to a beautiful garden. At that garden was a beautiful girl and she thought that Abdullah was a girl because of the sleeping robe he was wearing. Everything felt real to him the next morning he woke up and he realised that the carpet had moved him there while he was sleeping.

Determine to see the girl again Abdullah tried all he could to summon the carpet to fly. That night itself Abdullah went to that garden again and the girl said that her father would marry her to a prince but he aged quite old. He decided to show her all kinds of man around in the world and so he bought every picture of different kind of looking man available. The people in the Bazaar thought he has changed his business into art itself. Abdullah carried all the pictures onto the carpet and went to sleep and after he woke up he showed her all the pictures and she was shocked and accepted that he is indeed a man.

The girl told him that she had a prophecy when she was born and that she was to marry the first man she sees excluding her father. That is the reason why she was only let to be out at night. The girl decided that she would marry Abdullah since he was the first other man that she saw, and so they decided to elope the next night.  In preparation Abdullah sold all his carpets to get as much money as he could and he went to buy something nicer to wear. He also got a haircut. Before he left his relative came and told him that they will reveal his prophecy that was given when he was born.

Abdullah went with him and read the prophecy which was he will be raised above others in this land. And so his relatives know that a great future will come to him and tried to set him up to marry one of the relative's cousins. Those two ladies were fat and ugly and he had to politely reject for he was going for the princess. That night he flew there happily and just about he was going land, he saw with his very own eyes that the princess was kidnapped by a djinn. He was powerless and was captured by the Sultan's guards. The sultan demanded to know where his daughter was and after they found they will fulfill the prophecy and kill him afterwards.

Abdullah manage to run away with the carpet's help and many trial and tribulations came for Abdullah to save the princess. In his journey  he met with interesting characters and met with Sophie and family unexpectedly. Abdullah will find a castle in the air and save his princess for sure.

This book is the sequel to Howl's moving castle (the one that Studio Ghibli made into a major motion picture) written by Diana Wynne Jones. Though Sophie, Howl and their baby only have a few chapters of involvement but it was fun to read how their lives had changed since then. I really like how the author inserted Howl and Sophie as they were from different lands. I really enjoyed this book as there were many trials faced by Abdullah and it was overcame unexpectedly. Although the ending can be easily predicted but how it got there was just interesting and fun. I dare say it's the second best story after Howl's moving castle.

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