Friday, March 4, 2011

House of Many Ways & Castle in the Air

by Diana Wynne Jones

House of Many Ways
Start Date: 2 January 2011
End Date: 2 January 2011
404 Pages (Paperback Edition)

Castle in the Air
Start Date: 17 January 2011
End Date: 19 January 2011
383 pages (Paperback Edition)

The front and back covers of these two books are very unclear as to what order they're supposed to be read in. (I obviously didn't think to look it up before I read them.) I read House of Many Ways first, and Castle in the Air second, but I found out after finishing both that it was supposed to be the other way around. Not that it really mattered though. Each focuses on a different set of main characters, with Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer as minor characters. These books were a bit disappointing because I was expecting something of the caliber of Howl's Moving Castle, and they didn't quite reach that caliber.

I liked the main character in House of Many Ways, and the story was fun, but it didn't draw me in like I was expecting it to, which was disappointing. However, I liked it better than Castle in the Air, which was not a believable story, even within DWJ's fantasy world.

Castle in the Air was quick and lighthearted, but a bit too perfect for me. It felt like even when something bad was happening, you knew that it wouldn't be that bad because everything always turned out so perfectly. Also, parts of it put me in mind of a Disney movie, especially Aladdin. (The main character has a genie and a magic carpet, and goes to rescue his love, Flower-in-the-Night. Sounds like Aladdin to me.) Of course, there are many other clever and unexpected twists and turns, but all in all, it was a bit too sweet. I'm guessing I'm just out of the intended age group for these books, which is why I wasn't quite satisfied with them.

I'm still writing my group review of everything since January. It's obviously taking a while. I'll try to finish by tonight, but it'll realistically be posted tomorrow.

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