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The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray Paperback – 17 May 2002
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Top customer reviews
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.
Some of the material may be slightly adult: there are harlots walking the streets along with the wych hunters and cutthroats, but there's nothing that I think would be inappropriate for the average teenager.
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!!!
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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