here), Castle in the Air. I was told (by Tvzi) that this one was not as good as the first, somewhat because it didn't contain much at all of Howl. Well that was true... but I actually enjoyed the book quite a lot.
Howl's Moving Castle owes a lot to the classic fairy tale; Castle in the Air draws from Arabian Nights, and reminded me strongly of Aladdin (which is of course the only version of Arabian Nights that I know at all :)) Interestingly enough, at first the kind of proto-Muslim world of the book was bothering me simply because that corner of the globe is not exactly my favorite, but I got over that as soon as I managed to get into the book (I read like two pages every day this week). And then the book got pretty good - it's obviously a total children's book, but the humor is surprisingly adult. The characters are comically pugnacious or silly or logical and there's an almost farcical edge at times. Definitely my sense of humor I think - just kind of straight faced ridiculousness.
And the story moved along pretty quickly, not surprisingly as it was a children's book. There wasn't really any romance in this one, but I wasn't expecting any so that was fine. The characters were.... likeable enough I guess, though there was no one really awesome and the main character was kind of a weakling intellectually and physically - but that was part of the comic nature of the story, I think. And I liked how Sophie and Howl, as well as Lettie and Calcifer were brought in - thought it was cute (and I'm not even going to tell you how, because that would be spoiling :))
So it was pretty fun, easy to read... if you're going to read children's books, Dianna Wynne Jones is a good option :)
Verdict: 5/5 for children's book, 3.5/5 in general (I mean come on, it's a children's book :))
Food: well I'd say straight up candy... but there is that humor poking through... so it's kind of candy with a more sophisticated twist... I'm trying to think of a candy like that though... the truth is, I'm not really one for sophisticated candy at all though :) maybe I'll go with Nips - I always LOVED them when Aunt S. used to have them all the time and I love them still :) (okay I still love a lot of candy but... :))