Friday, 12 October 2007

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray

I've now finished the third of my RIP II challenge books, the YA adult book, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, by Chris Wooding.



Compared to some of my other latest reads this was a very easy read indeed. Not simple... I don't mean that... just incredibly readable, 'a page turner' as they say.

The story is set in London but not a London that we know. It's Dickensian in nature but there are some nasty things coming out of the woodwork at night, the wych-kin, literally the stuff of nightmares. Thaniel Fox is a wych-hunter, a good one. He's tracking down a cradlejack one night when a terrified girl, Alaizabel Cray, literally runs into his arms. She has no idea who she is or where she's come from but it's clear she's been abused by someone and is being haunted. Gradually the story emerges, she has some connection with The Fraternity, an evil, secret society made up of some of the well-to-do and most powerful people in the city. So what's going on? Whatever it is it seems it might spell the end of London as a city and life as they know it, and Alaizabel is the key to unlocking the mystery and saving them all.

As I said before, this is a page turner. A rollicking good yarn which is nice and spooky, pacey, and well told. It's YA so nothing too horrible (thank goodness) and I seemed to detect a slight touch of Cthulu Mythos about the tale too. The Dickensian aspect of the city was more than a little attractive to me - I love a good 'seedy, 1800's London' yarn and here it was well done with even a crime element included with a serial killer at large. So this is a real mix... historical/horror/crime etc. And it works! I loved it and will read more of Chris Wooding's work if I can find it. In fact he has a new book out on the 18th. of this month, The Fade, which sounds like it might be really good.

9 comments:

Kay said...

This sounds really interesting and I am always on the lookout for new books to suggest to our teens and tweens that come into the library (and not just the kids, adults too). Thanks for sharing your experience of it. I'll have to go look this up and see if we own it.

Bookfool said...

Ooooh, that sounds like loads of fun! I'm scratching the title down, thanks. Extra thank-yous for throwing in the information that it's not too horrible because it's a YA. I'm nightmare prone.

Cath said...

Kay: I would say this was a book that was very suitable for age 14 upwards so I hope you managed to find it. I'm thinking it might be a little too obscure for your library to own it though - but I might of course be quite wrong!

Bookfool: I'm not nightmare prone (sorry to hear that) but I do dislike books with a lot of blood and gore... and descriptions thereof. I like a more gentle horror story, or the old fashioned Victorian sort where they don't go in for that kind of thing, leaving it to the reader's imagination.

Kay said...

Cath, I'm pleased. Our library has several copies of this book. None at my branch but several at other branches. I'll have to place it on hold and try it. Thanks again for mentioning it!

DesLily said...

I'm with you Cath on the more victorian when it comes to blood and gore lol.. there's much to be said about imagination! Not the least of which might be that we most likely won't imagine anything more than we can handle!

Nymeth said...

I've been curious about this book ever since I first heard about it, which was some years ago. I've read some mixed reviews in the past, but yours definitely makes me want to give it a try.

Cath said...

Kay: Excellent! I'm really pleased that one of your local branches has the book.

deslily: I'm glad you're with me on the blood and gore issue. Not necessary, imo, and even more so when it comes to movies. No thanks...

Nymeth: Most people seem to like the book, I talked to my daughter about it today and she said she liked it a lot too. Worth a look, imo. :-)

Robin said...

I haven't heard of this author, but this sounds really interesting and like something I'd enjoy. Thanks!

Court said...

Oh my gosh. That sounds really really really good. I'm going to have to read add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the great review!