Stardust, by Neil Gaiman – A pretty interesting, if sometimes confusing, journey through the realm of Faerie with the half-fay Tristran Thorn. I think some of the confusion is done on purpose, to give the impression that Faerie is a complicated place where nothing is as it seems, and everything has a magical back story. The main plot was actually fairly simple, and the twist as far as Tristran’s marriage was rather predictable, but the connection to the Lords of Stormhold was a nice touch. I will say that, having read American Gods before this, I don’t know that I really have a sense of Gaiman’s writing style. There are themes that he’ll frequently address, but I’m not sure there’s anything in the actual writing that stands out. But then, since he obtained much of his fame in graphic novels, maybe that makes sense.
Castle in the Air, by Diana Wynne Jones – This is a sort of a sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle, in that it takes place on the same world and the main characters from that story make appearances, but the focus is on a carpet salesman named Abdullah from this world’s equivalent of the Middle East. In a tale with heavy Arabian Nights influence, Abdullah uses a magic carpet and an ornery genie in a bottle to save the princess of his dreams from a powerful djinn. The story was rather more straightforward than its predecessor, while still incorporating the same sorts of character and plot twists.