The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray

4.4 31
by Chris Wooding

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The Alienest meets Dracula in this gripping, gothic-horror thriller from young UK phenom Chris Wooding.

Thaniel, just seventeen, is a wych-hunter. Together, he and Cathaline - his friend and mentor - track down the fearful creatures that lurk in the Old Quarter of London. It is on one of these hunts that he first encounters Alaizabel Cray. Alaizabel is

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The Alienest meets Dracula in this gripping, gothic-horror thriller from young UK phenom Chris Wooding.

Thaniel, just seventeen, is a wych-hunter. Together, he and Cathaline - his friend and mentor - track down the fearful creatures that lurk in the Old Quarter of London. It is on one of these hunts that he first encounters Alaizabel Cray. Alaizabel is half-crazed, lovely, and possessed. Whatever dreadful entity has entered her soul has turned her into a strange and unearthly magnet - attracting evil and drawing horrors from ever dark corneer. Cathaline and Thaniel must discover its cause - and defend humanity at all costs.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

From the UK Reviews:

“One of the most intelligent, atmospheric, and spine-tingling novels published for teenagers in years . . . breathtakingly brilliant.” – The Guardian

“A great and compelling read.” – Time Out

“This book does what only the best teenage fiction can do – an exciting, intriguing, and well-paced novel. Brilliant!” – Children's Bookseller

Publishers Weekly
"The author sets a riveting pace from the get-go, as a 17-year-old wych-hunter prowls London's Old Quarter in search of a Cradlejack known for taking babies," said PW's starred review. "An imaginative tour de force." Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The shadows and dark alleyways of London are seething with mysterious, frightening horrors that could haunt children in their dreams. The Old Quarter of London creeps with beastly creatures called wych-kin. Townspeople are aware of the unspeakable horrors that stalk London's streets at night, and most hide in their homes and close shop early to avoid inevitable death if one crosses a wych-kin's path. The only ones who can protect the public from these nightmarish creatures are wych hunters. Thaniel is a 17-year-old boy following in his father's footsteps as a legendary wych-hunter. His mentor, Cathaline, helps in his hunts for anything evil that lurks in the shadows. Their lives are changed as they meet a young girl, Alaizabel, who seems to carry a mysterious and frightful past. Soon, the team of three band together to uncover a sinister plot by London's elite that could destroy London, turning power over to the wych-kin. Readers who like a bit of horror and gore along with a good mystery will enjoy this book. While the wording is sometimes overly descriptive and some terms are confusing, high school-level readers should enjoy it. 2004, Orchard Books, 304 pp., Ages young adult.
—Cassandra Haggard
In a gothic-style London straight from Jack the Ripper, steeped in fog and lamplight, teenaged Thaniel Fox hunts creatures of the night with his mentor, Catherine. Using ancient rituals of science and magic, they track creatures like Cradlejacks-"wych-kin" who have made the Old Quarter a perilous place to live. One night Thaniel stumbles across a young woman who alternates between spouting mad gibberish and adopting a sweet nature but who does not remember who she is or how she came to the Old Quarter. Taking her in, Thaniel and Catherine discover that the woman is an escaped sacrifice of a group of men in political and police power known as "the Fraternity" and that they must protect her life at any cost. Joining forces with the Old Quarter's society of vagrants, pickpockets, and magic creatures, they set out both to rescue Alaizabel and to stop the Fraternity from completing its task. This rich story will appeal to fantasy and horror fans alike. It is a natural to get fans of television's Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel into reading true gothic literature and will appeal to fans of Phillip Pullman or other rich fantasy novels. Students already reading Stephen King or other adult fiction will not mind coming back to the teen shelves for this one. Thaniel is a brooding, deep character with more secrets yet to be revealed, and as his sisterly mentor, Catherine balances the tone to make the story accessible to those uninitiated into gothic horror. It has definite messages about religion, magic, and petty political power-and both the scare and the blood make the novel unsuitable for middle school. The ending, which includes an escape by the head of the Fraternity, promises that readerswill see more of Thaniel. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004 (orig. 2001), Orchard, 304p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Hillary Theyer
Children's Literature
The gothic story of Alaizabel Cray's haunting will continue to haunt its readers long after the book has been read. Set in a rather Dickensian alternative London, this is the story of 17-year-old Thaniel Fox, a "wych-hunter," who must solve the puzzle of what is haunting Alaizabel Cray, in order to figure out how to prevent the forces of evil from taking over his world. He knows that if he does not get to the heart of what's happening, no one will. It is a big task for the young man, but he has inherited his father's skills and reputation as the most-talented wych-hunter. Although Thaniel is brilliant at his trade and he pursues the wych-kin with dedication and intensity, the evil spirits are becoming stronger and stronger. The wych-kin, created from the material of Londoners' worst nightmares, were set loose when Prussians bombed the city south of the Thames into rubble. They are creating havoc all over the city and the situation keeps getting worse. Overcoming them seems almost impossible. Thaniel gathers an unlikely bunch of allies and commandeers an airship to get to the center of things, but the odds are against him in this exciting story whose dramatic conclusion will leave readers with much to ponder. Mr. Wooding, who lives in London, has sixteen books and several short stories in print. The 27-year-old author was commissioned to write a screen play for this book that has won the Silver Award of the Nestle Smarties Prize and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. 2004 (orig. 2001), Orchard Books/Scholastic Inc, Ages 12 up.
—Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Jack the Ripper meets the supernatural in this Bosch-like horror tale set in an alternate Victorian London where supernatural "wych-kin" lurk around every corner waiting to prey on humans. Hot on the trail of a vampirelike "Cradlejack," 17-year-old wych-hunter Thaniel stumbles upon beautiful Alaizabel Cray, who unknowingly has been possessed by an "old wych" named Thatch. Determined to rescue Alaizabel from Thatch and the sinister cult responsible for depositing the evil spirit in Alaizabel's body, the innately chivalrous Thaniel slashes and burns his way through a nightmarish city crawling with enough ghastly human and supernatural villains to stock a wax museum. Eerie and exhilarating, this book marks a thematic and stylistic departure from Wooding's earlier, more contemporary teen novels of partying, drug addiction, and pyromania. Instead, he fuses together his best storytelling skills-plotting, atmosphere, shock value-to create a fabulously horrific and ultimately timeless underworld where heroes battle menacing foes to save the world from demonic overthrow.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Readers will get finger cramps from rapidly turning the pages of Wooding's gripping tale, an excellent melange of horror, suspense, and the gothic. Set in a strange, alternative London just 20 years after a German airship fleet humiliated the British by bombing London into submission, the narrative describes a city under siege by wych-kin-supernatural monsters who prey on the human population-and Stitch-face, a weirdly masked serial murderer. Seventeen-year-old Thaniel, on a wych-kin hunt, finds a beautiful young woman, Alaizabel Cray, who has no memory of her past. His efforts to protect Alaizabel uncover threatening, unexplained incidents throughout the city. Complex plotting and structure combine with rich, atmospheric world-building in a fast-paced, tension-filled read. The growing relationship between Thaniel and Alaizabel animates the plot, and the other characters support interest admirably. This brilliant effort will appeal to readers of Philip Pullman, Cornelia Funke, and Christopher Pike as well as to older teen fans of fantasy "new weird" writers like China Mieville. (Fiction. 13+)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.03(d)
970L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

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The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is awe of a tale. It's setting is a Britian not as we know it.It is frighting, but pleasing, exciting with little gleams of the real meaning of this story. Read it, it's great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book it had action and suspense and a little bit of mystery. It was a nail-biter, and some times i got a chill. It was awesome. (maybe a little scary for some)
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is an exelent source of horor and thrills it will keep you on the edge till the very end mr. wooding did an outstanding job
Guest More than 1 year ago
From cover to cover, this story had fast paced action and mystery. I couldn¿t even put the book down during the first few pages. Chris Wooding does a great job at telling the story but also, at the same time mentioning the extras in detail. Just by reading a section of this book you have a picture of what Wooding was imagining. I strongly recommend this book for someone who is looking for a thrill. This is an exciting fantasy and horror story, but also includes plots of friendship. People who get frightened easily should not read this at night. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is a good read for people interested in fantasy, horror, and friendship.
Guest More than 1 year ago
great story! I loved it, finished it in like 3 days! I havent been able to read any more of his, but I will soon. Recommend this book to anybody who likes dark ,mysterious yet at the same time romantic novels!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so ingeniously planned out and written that it should be preferred literature in schools. Probably for the older kids. It seems a little gruesome...but I like that in books it makes them more interesting. I'll have to say, this one was my favorite out of all Chris Wooding's books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title of the book of course refers to a girl who is being haunted. This is the tale of Thaniel and how he tries to save the poor girl with some help while someone known as Stitch face is on the loose. Chris Wooding is a good writer and loved the suspense, I honestly couldn't wait to read what happens in the next chapter. Check out this book if you're looking for something supernatural.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cannot believe how much I enjoyed this book. It was interesting, scary, and, of course, romantic. I highly reccomend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have only read a few chapters so far, but I have found myself unatlerabley engrossed in this riveting novel. I will always be drawn to the suspensful, origional and thrilling literature of Chris Wooding. I recomend this novel to anyone looking for a new classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best that i've ever read in my life. I love the setting, the Old-Quarter London clouded with darkness and evil. It's Gothic and classic, and the plot is original. Wooding is a great writer, he creates images i can see in my head and vivid character emotions. I like Thaniel(he sounds cute, lol) and Cathaline, 'cause of how their wych-hunters and are skilled at tracking them down. Sounds like a job i would take. I totally reccomend this book to anyone who likes adventure with a some romance, though for people twelve and up becasue this book is kinda voilent. Either way, READ it and be amazed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a club at my library, and didn't think I'd like it that much. I was so mistaken. It turned out to be one of the best and most well written books I've ever read in my 16 years of living. It was amazing! Wooding creates a world that feels real. You actually feel for the charactors, good and bad.I was literally upset when the book ended, and the ending was open, but it left room for you to kind of fill in the gaps yourself. And while it did take a few chapters to really get into the book, I am SOOO glad I kept reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
words can't describe how great this book was. I read it from the library, but loved it sooo much I had to go out and buy it. Wooding is a fantastic writer, I love his work! A definite 'must read'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the way the story was written. The creatures,the mystery of the whole thing is incredible the read. I wish there were more books like this. The whole battle between good and evil was played out perfectly. If this was madee into a movie that would be awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe the reason this book is so thrilling is simply due to the fact that it's...chilling. The plot is this: Thaniel is 17 years old, an orphan, and a wych hunter. What is a wych hunter you ask? Why, it is an occupation were one hunts wych kin, of course. Wych kin are monsters that plauge the streets of London, and gruesomly kill, or attempt to kill, or transform any one who gets in their way. Anyway, one day Thaniel is out hunting wych kin when he comes upon a young women who seems mad. He takes her to his house that he shares with Cathline, his mentor, and finds out that the girl's name is Alaizibel Cray. She seems like an ordinary British young lady, with manners, perfect speech, and extrodinary gracefulness. The only drawbck is that she possesed by an ancient evil sprit named Thatch. And an organization called The Fraternity wants Alalzibel so they can extract Thacth out of her. If you have read Wormwood, and enjoyed it, I urge you to read this book, because Wormwood and The Haunting of Alaizibel Cray are similar. I am 12 years old and loved this book! So, if by any chance you are looking for a book that is suspenful, terrifying, and is disturbingly wonderful, this IS a book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ok, i had nightmares for months after i read this book! i couldn't put it down! but it wasn't the common kind of horror thriller you can find anywhere, it was amazing! it kept you guessing until the very end - really kept you thinking days after you finished it. wooding is outstanding at making you feel like you're really there! you really get inside the peoples' heads and feel their pain and fear their fears and love their lovers. he caputures what life is really like so well although its in a world different from our own today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was pretty good. I wish the author had more of an introduction to the main characters though. It seems he smashed several stories into one book. I would like to know what happens to the characters.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
This one was creepy. At times, interesting but still creepy. The writing was also pretty good. Might read more from this author. Still, a read that's perfect for the Halloween mood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is well-written with the perfect balance of horror, magic, adventure, romance, intrigue, mystery, steampunk, and fantasy. I read it years ago in high school and it still stands bright in my memory. I'm so glad to have found it again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is one of Chris Wooding's best books. It contains a very detailed setting, believable characters, and a great plot. I checked this book out at the library and after reading it had to buy it for my own collection. Definitely a five star book.
OceanaFeathers More than 1 year ago
when I read the gondola part (when Thaniel and alaizabel kiss) i ran out the door and screamed! I was sooooo happy. This book is thrilling. there is no "think about readng it." there is only "Heck yah im gonna read it!!!" It is AMAZING!
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