Castle in the Air
Goodreads ratings
3.89 / 5

"Castle in the Air" Summary

By Diana Wynne Jones

fantasy | 298 pages | Published in NaN

In which a humble young carpet merchant wins, then loses, the princess of his dreamsFar to the south of the land of Ingary, in the Sultanates of Rashpuht, there lived in the city of Zanzib a young and not very prosperous carpet dealer named Abdullah who loved to spend his time daydreaming. He was content with his life and his daydreams until, one day, a stranger sold him a magic carpet.That very night, the carpet flew him to an enchanted garden. There, he met and fell in love with the beauteous princess Flower-in-the-Night, only to have her snatched away, right under his very nose, by a wicked djinn. With only his magic carpet and his wits to help him, Abdullah sets off to rescue his princess....


Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young carpet merchant finds himself caught up in a magical adventure filled with genies, flying carpets, and a quest to rescue a princess.


In "Castle in the Air" by Diana Wynne Jones, readers are transported to a whimsical world filled with magic, adventure, and enchantment. This captivating novel follows the journey of Abdullah, a young carpet merchant, as he embarks on a quest to rescue his true love from the clutches of a powerful djinn. With its richly imagined setting and engaging characters, "Castle in the Air" is a thrilling and heartwarming tale that will captivate readers of all ages.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in the magical land of Zanzib, a place where carpets can fly and genies grant wishes. Abdullah, a humble carpet merchant, dreams of finding his true love. One day, he purchases a magic carpet that unexpectedly whisks him away to a beautiful garden where he meets and falls in love with a princess named Flower-in-the-Night. However, their happiness is short-lived when Flower-in-the-Night is kidnapped by a powerful djinn and taken to a faraway castle in the air.

Determined to rescue his beloved, Abdullah sets off on a perilous journey across the desert, encountering numerous obstacles and fantastical creatures along the way. With the help of a talking cat, a magic carpet, and an assortment of peculiar characters, Abdullah must navigate treacherous lands, outwit cunning foes, and unravel the mysteries surrounding the castle in the air.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
AbdullahA young and courageous carpet merchant who embarks on a quest to rescue his true love.
Flower-in-the-NightA beautiful princess who is kidnapped by a powerful djinn and taken to a castle in the air.
HasruelA mysterious and enigmatic genie who possesses great powers and secrets.
SophieA headstrong and resourceful young woman who befriends Abdullah and aids him in his quest.
The CatA talking feline companion who provides guidance and assistance to Abdullah throughout his journey.

Summary of Different Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1: The Magic Carpet

Abdullah purchases a magical carpet and discovers its ability to fly. He is transported to a beautiful garden where he meets and falls in love with Princess Flower-in-the-Night.

Chapter 2: The Kidnapping

Flower-in-the-Night is kidnapped by a powerful djinn and taken to a castle in the air. Abdullah is determined to rescue her and embarks on a perilous journey across the desert.

Chapter 3: The Talking Cat

Abdullah encounters a talking cat who offers to guide and assist him on his quest to rescue Flower-in-the-Night. The cat reveals that there is more to the castle in the air than meets the eye.

Chapter 4: The Desert Journey

Abdullah and the talking cat traverse the treacherous desert, facing sandstorms, bandits, and other magical creatures. They encounter a group of genie hunters who are also searching for the castle in the air.

Chapter 5: The Enchanted City

Abdullah and the talking cat arrive at an enchanted city, where they encounter peculiar characters and learn more about the secrets of the castle in the air. They must solve riddles and navigate hidden passages to proceed.

Chapter 6: The Battle with the Djinn

Abdullah confronts the powerful djinn in the castle in the air, using his wit and the help of his newfound allies to outsmart and defeat the djinn. Flower-in-the-Night is finally rescued, and they all escape the castle.

Main Events

  1. Abdullah's purchase of the magic carpet and his encounter with Princess Flower-in-the-Night.
  2. Flower-in-the-Night's kidnapping by the powerful djinn.
  3. Abdullah's journey across the desert with the talking cat as his guide.
  4. The encounters with various magical creatures and obstacles along the way.
  5. The arrival at the enchanted city and the unraveling of the secrets surrounding the castle in the air.
  6. The final battle with the djinn and the rescue of Flower-in-the-Night.

Themes and Insights

The Power of Love and Determination

"Castle in the Air" explores the transformative power of love and the strength of human determination. Abdullah's unwavering love for Flower-in-the-Night drives him to face numerous challenges and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in his quest to rescue her.

The Importance of Friendship and Trust

Throughout his journey, Abdullah forms unlikely friendships and alliances with the talking cat, Sophie, and other characters. These relationships demonstrate the value of trust, cooperation, and the support of others in overcoming adversity.

Embracing Adventure and Taking Risks

The novel encourages readers to embrace adventure, step out of their comfort zones, and take risks in order to achieve their dreams. Abdullah's courageous decision to embark on a dangerous quest highlights the rewards that can come from venturing into the unknown.

Reader's Takeaway

"Castle in the Air" is a delightful and enchanting novel that transports readers to a magical world filled with adventure and wonder. Through its engaging characters, thrilling plot, and insightful themes, the book encourages readers to believe in the power of love, friendship, and determination. It reminds us that with courage and perseverance, we can overcome any obstacle and find our own castle in the air.


"Castle in the Air" is a captivating and imaginative novel that will captivate readers of all ages. Diana Wynne Jones weaves a spellbinding tale filled with magic, romance, and adventure. Through the journey of Abdullah and his companions, readers are reminded of the transformative power of love, the importance of friendship, and the rewards that come from embracing adventure. With its richly imagined setting and engaging storytelling, "Castle in the Air" is a must-read for fantasy enthusiasts and lovers of enchanting tales.

Castle in the Air FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Castle in the Air'?

    The genre of 'Castle in the Air' is fantasy.

  2. Is 'Castle in the Air' a standalone book or part of a series?

    'Castle in the Air' is the second book in the Howl's Moving Castle series, but it can be read as a standalone.

  3. Who is the author of 'Castle in the Air'?

    'Castle in the Air' is written by Diana Wynne Jones.

  4. What is the main storyline of 'Castle in the Air'?

    The main storyline of 'Castle in the Air' follows a young carpet merchant named Abdullah who finds himself caught up in a magical adventure when he buys a magic carpet that takes him to faraway lands.

  5. Are there any recurring characters from the first book in 'Castle in the Air'?

    Yes, some of the characters from 'Howl's Moving Castle' make appearances in 'Castle in the Air', but the focus is on new characters and their own adventures.

  6. Can 'Castle in the Air' be enjoyed without reading the first book?

    Yes, 'Castle in the Air' can be enjoyed as a standalone story, but reading the first book, 'Howl's Moving Castle', provides additional background and context.

  7. What age group is 'Castle in the Air' suitable for?

    'Castle in the Air' is suitable for readers aged 12 and above.

  8. Is 'Castle in the Air' a sequel or a prequel to 'Howl's Moving Castle'?

    'Castle in the Air' is a sequel to 'Howl's Moving Castle' and continues the story in the same universe.

  9. Is there any romance in 'Castle in the Air'?

    Yes, 'Castle in the Air' features romance as one of the elements of the story.

  10. Does 'Castle in the Air' have a happy ending?

    You'll have to read 'Castle in the Air' to find out!