The two sequels to “Howl’s Moving Castle” which I read back in the spring: as I had another DWJ coming up on the TBR, I though I had better read these so I didn’t get confused. They do reduce a Pile on the TBR at least!

Diana Wynne Jones – “Castle in the Air”

(7 April 2020)

The first sequel to Howl and at first you don’t think it has anything to do with that book, although being set in the same world, with the setting being in the southern, flowery languaged world taken out of the Arabian Nights, incorporating genies and magic flying carpets (there is mention of slaves in the book, but they not seen as a good thing or a bad thing, not sure about that but it was published in 1990 originally). We follow the fortunes of Abdullah, a poor carpet-seller, whose dreams literally start to come true, a welcome respite to the alarming girls his stepmother is trying to marry him off to (a bit of fat-shaming there, too, see above, but not a common DWJ thing at all). I liked Abdullah’s flowery language which works on some things but not others and everything always unwinds according to logic, you can trust her for that. Good escapist reading when house-sorting.

Diana Wynne Jones – “House of Many Ways”

(7 April 2020)

Lacking the slightly dodgy ideas of the above, I think a stronger book. We are in the North this time, and Charmain is sent to look after her great-uncle’s mysteriously shape-shifting house; she is not that well-fitted for the job as knows nothing about housework. She’s a resourceful and brave heroine who gets stuck in but also always has her nose in a book – and it’s when she applies for a job in the King’s library that things really start to hot up. There’s a great gender-fluid dog character (who comes through OK) and the characters from Howl are more in evidence here, as is Jamal and his dog from the previous book. A madcap adventure but everything again works out logically in the end.

I am glad I got and read these two as I wanted to know what happened next!

I’m currently reading Paul Magrs’ “666 Charing Cross Road” (only in the daytime!) for my Magrsathon and Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth UviebinenĂ©’s “Slay in Your Lane” which is shocking and upsetting but necessary reading. I’ve not read as much as I thought I might in my week off but haven’t done too badly, as I also read Stephen Rutt’s “Wintering: A Season With Geese” for Shiny New Books and have started James Suzman’s “Work” for Shiny, too.