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The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray [Paperback]

Chris Wooding , Edward Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 May 2002
It happened after the Vernichtung-the war left the city damaged, bruised, battered, its people shattered and battle-scarred, and open to a terrifying retribution...Foul things lurk within the labyrinth of the Old Quarter, and those who venture out a night are easy prey. Prey for the wolves and murderers that stalk the crooked streets, and for creatures far more deadly-the wych-kin. But evil diguised is deadliest of all. And behind the facade of wealth and charity that surrounds the uppermost levels of society lies a terrifying pact with the wych-kin that threatens humankind's very existence. At the heart is the beautiful, vulnerable, enigmatic Alaizabel Cray-key to the ultimate evil. Chris Wooding weaves an utterly compelling story set against a vividly imagined cityscape. You will be drawn irresistibly into its cobbled lanes, where the darkness awaits.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic; New edition edition (17 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439994527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439994521
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 662,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, by Chris Wooding, is a challenging, complex and utterly intriguing novel that grips with spine-chilling certainty from the very first page.

Set in the dark streets of London after the Vernichtung, a war that left the city and its people damaged and rotten to the core, the enigmatic Alaizabel Cray wanders alone and vulnerable amid the debris. As she wanders through the labyrinth of the Old Quarter, touching people with beauty while holding the key to the evil all around, Alaizabel crosses the thresholds of the souls that lurk in the darkness...

This is a stunning and unforgettable novel, rich in imagination and executed with a touch of unforgettable class. Reminiscent of work by Joan Aiken and Philip Pullman, there is also an extra dash of pure horror that will send a shiver down the spine, making it a great read for even the most reluctant reader. (Ages 11 and over) --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
The airship lumbered low overhead, its long, lined belly a dull smear of silvery light in the fog as it reflected the gas lamps of the city beneath. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, dark children's adventure 8 April 2003
Perhaps it's becoming overly fashionable to compare children's books with Philip Pullman's work, but it's a valid thing to do in this case: The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is set in a quasi-Victorian London with has something of the flavour of Lyra's world from His Dark Materials, and possibly Sally Lockhart too, though this is a lot darker and more magical. I'm also tempted to draw a comparison with Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines. If any of those works appealed, I think this will too.
The story is set in an alternative London which was heavily bombed by German airships, which somehow unleashed a plague of wychkin - monstrous creatures that prey on the citizens. The profession of wych hunter has thus come to prominence, and much of the book concerns the activities of one of these wych hunters.
Throw in an evil conspiracy, a budding romance between the wych hunter and the eponymous, threatened Alaizabel Cray, some excellent monsters and villains, and you have a mix of adventure and excitement that keeps you turning the pages. Perhaps the most notable thing is Chris Wooding's power of description: it's almost as if the scenes have dripped straight onto the page along with his ink.
The characterisation is perhaps a little weaker. The story is told partly from an omniscient point of view, which sometimes detracts from character identification. Another small flaw was with the ending: one of the protagonists - who appears to be in big trouble - escapes rather easily and rejoins the main group. Once that happened, I felt that the tension slackened somewhat: it's not always a good idea to give the reader what he/she wants :-)
Despite the above quibbles, this is an engaging and exciting read. If I could, I'd award 4.5 stars, because it's not quite up there with Pullman.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow! haunting indeed!! 20 May 2004
I'm a 14 year old who is mad about reading...I'll read almost anything, but this book just amazed me. From the first page, the scene is set with eerie intent, and the plot is tautly woven with plenty of clever twists. It is perfect for people who love macabre stories, and it is definitely a book for adults as well as children.
I enjoyed it so much because of the intriguing plot, but also because of the evil creatures and human beings that the heros must fight. They are created by an intricate and may I say slightly twisted mind! Another point I found intersting was the parallels between this book's post-war world and our own after the first world war. It lends a real humanity to the horror and fantasy, which I think helps you to feel for the characters and understand the events better.
I would be delighted if a second book was written, as their are enough plot threads untied to make a gripping sequel. However this book is excellent just as it is, and i recommend to anyone who wants to try something unusual. "The Haunting" really sums up what I felt as i read this!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb beyond expectation 18 Oct 2004
I wish I could give it 10 stars!! The story is dark, mysterious and full of action. Reading it was like watching a movie directed by Tim Burton, George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg, with dark foulsome enemies, ghoulish creatures and heart thumping actions.
Composing the story to reach the final destination of a single question: What is the purpose of your existence?, it started from some parallel events happening in London, after the Vernichtung (destruction -> a bit like WW). London, in the early Age of Reason, half of its area destroyed and marauded by wych-kins which have the ability and appearance like old lore beasts having been resurrected. Who ere they? Where were they from? What did they want? Why were they only known to exist after the Vernichtung?
In mist of the battle between humankind and the wych-kin, Thaniel Fox, a wych hunter and a son of legendary one, was fighting at the front line, companied by his ex-tutor, the eccentric Ms. Bennet. On one night of his hunting, he met a lost girl, Alaizabel Cray, who seemed mad and disoriented. Starting to feel something for her, Thaniel tried to find out whether she was just mad or there was something going on.
Alaizabel turned out to be the key to the biggest conspiracy that was conspiring to bring the the ultimate evil to earth.
Interweaving with the Thaniel's story is the infamous Jack the Ripper like story. A serial killer who murdered women by night with his surgeon knife. Who was he? Read on and you'll see that every character had a purpose in this story.
What would happen next? Could Thaniel and others intercepted the conspiracy? What was the forces outside their will whose only weapons are coincidences, unlikelihood and happenstances?
Read it, Be amazed by it and Read it over again!!
This certainly won't be the last book I read from Mr. Wooding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
There's a bit of everything in this book. Wych-kin, creatures from nightmares, have invaded London's old quarter. Thaniel Fox is a wych hunter. On the hunt for a CradleJack he meets Alaizabel Cray. She is important to an evil organisation whose plans will bring chaos and destruction on the world. That is, unless Thaniel and his fellow wych hunter Cathaline have anything to do with it. I promise you, this is one of the best books ever!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Bought second-hand, in reasonable condition, and the story has gradually been more and more appreciated by its 18 year-old reader.
Published 8 months ago by Gareth Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent !
Bought this book as i read it a long time ago when i was much younger - still an excellent story!
Published 17 months ago by Amy Bierman
5.0 out of 5 stars The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray
A thouroughly enjoyable read. Although aimed at younger audiences, still a great read for fans of Chris Woodings work. !
Published 19 months ago by Robert
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Very enjoyable supernatural story, based in an alternate steam punk Victorian London. Stands up no matter the reader's age, I first read it as part of a class assignment in... Read more
Published 20 months ago by R. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars very impressive!
What a wonderful book this was! I was hooked from the start, and it just kept getting better and better!

The storyline was captivating. Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2010 by Larewen Evenstar
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book
The book is set in a mid 19th century London, where mysterious, grotesque and deadly wych-kin roam the city and south of the river has been overrun and deserted. Read more
Published on 22 Sep 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I have read this book so many times now. I first read it as a teen and loved it.
I have never had a book that i have leant to so many and they have all bought it... Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2009 by Allana House
5.0 out of 5 stars The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray
Two years ago I read Poison, also by Chris Wooding. I thought it was fantastic so I recently decided to read another book of his. Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2009 by Wooding Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars dark and atmospheric - another Wooding gem!
Chris Wooding's award-winning 'The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray' is an awesome, exciting and darkly atmospheric young adult novel. Read more
Published on 8 Jan 2008 by Toby Andersen
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Dip
I've got to admit I knew nothing of this book before I got it from my school library. It had been a random choice- being late for class I just grabbed any old book. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2004
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