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The Haunting Of Alaizabel Cray Hardcover – August 1, 2004

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The Last Ever After
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 9-12. In Wooding's alternative, Victorian London, a new plague is underway: an infestation of demonic creatures known as wych-kin. Thaniel Fox, a 17-year-old wych-hunter who calls forth both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Indiana Jones, spends his time reducing wych-kin populations with methods that combine magic, superstition, and good old-fashioned gunslinging. After stumbling upon an obviously traumatized young woman on one of his expeditions, he swiftly discovers that she has escaped from the clutches of a powerful cult called the Fraternity. The connections between Alaizabel's plight, rising numbers of wych-kin, and the Fraternity's plans are revealed by tantalizing degrees, as Thaniel; Alaizabel; Thaniel's guardian, Cathaline; and several colorful allies join forces to combat evil on a terrifying scale. This is dark fare, often graphically violent (a Jack-the-Ripper-type serial killer plays a role), but not gratuitously so. Wooding delivers characters to care about, including strong-willed and capable young women, deliciously scary bogeys drawn from world legend and lore, and philosophical underpinnings suggesting an imagination heavily steeped in Tolkien and Pullman. Though the action bogs down a bit in the middle as Wooding assembles his cast of good guys, the atmospheric scene setting and attention to chilling detail ensure his hold on fantasy enthusiasts. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 970L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books; First Edition edition (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439546567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439546560
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. J. Jones on June 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Chris Wooding's award-winning "The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray" is a masterful gothic thriller aimed for teens that had me on the edge of my seat in horrified suspense and action. Wooding creates in this novel an alternative Victorian London where 17-year old which-hunter, Thaniel Fox, must fight an apocalyptic evil known as the whych-kin. It is on one of these hunts that Thaniel saves Alaizabel Cray, a lovely girl that happens to be possessed and holds the key to an evil occult's plans to take over the world. Wooding is a master of suspense, creating scenes that will make you wince with glee and shudder in fear. His characters are believable enough that you will root for them in their troubles and the plot is very intricate but not that much as so you won't become confused. Not to be missed by those horror/gothic/mystery/thriller lovers out there. I only recommended this book though to those above thirteen as there are light elements of horror, murder, the occult, and prostitution. But, these somewhat grotesque themes do not take away from the sheer delight and suspense that I received as I read this book. Not to be missed!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you enjoy the atmosphere and imagination of Philip Pullman, Garth Nix or Philip Reeve, then you're sure to like Chris Wooding; one of the handful of fantasy-authors who (by some miracle) does not feel the need to fill their fantasy worlds with elves, dwarfs, wizards, dragons and every other fantasy cliché that's been done to death since Tolkien published "The Lord of the Rings". As a lover of fantasy myself, I find the sheer lack of originality of many fantasy-authors and the resignation of readers to go on reading these books anyway a constant source of depression. The flimsy excuse of both authors and readers seems to be: "all fantasy is like that."

Reader, it is not.

Some authors are willing to explore new territory, and Wooding is one of these. "The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray' is set in an indefinable time-period of London: it appears to be mid-19th century, but events are occurring that bear no resemblance whatsoever to our historical knowledge of the period. The city is haunted by creatures known as `wych-kin', a variety of monstrous and grotesque creatures that prey on the city's inhabitants. The only defence against such mysterious and deadly beings are the `wych-hunters', such as Thaniel Fox and his mentor Cathaline Bennett. They live turbulent, dangerous and (more often than not) *short* lives as they hunt down and destroy the wyches, driven by a desire to rid their city of the supernatural infection that is slowly eradicating the world.

Thaniel is a seventeen year old wych-hunter, partnered to Cathaline since his father's death (who was also a hunter). Together the two scout London, finding new methods to destroy the wych-kin and keep the citizens safe, whilst remaining on the outskirts of society.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I hate reading and I have never heard of Chric Wooding, but while at my school's library I saw this book on the shelf. It had never been checked, so I thought I might as well check it out myself. THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK! I love the action, the characters, and the story in general. This book's story is like it came from a video game, and that really drew me in. If you are looking for something good to read, GET THIS BOOK!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Fiendishly Bookish VINE VOICE on June 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
London has been over-run by Wych-kin for twenty years or so after the bombing by the Vernichtung. The city's residents have lived as prisoners terrorized by the nebulous and nefarious Cradle-jacks,Drowned Folk, Wights, Chackh'morg, Rawhead and Bloodybones, Deildegasts,The Hallow Ghoul, The Draug, and Stitch-Face.

Ultimately at the heart of the evil and the spawning of the Wych-kin lays the Fraternity, a coven of immense power-enough to summon a beast that will lay waste to London and next...the World. It is an invokation twenty years in the making and they will not let anyone stand in their way...

In the midst of a growing terror emerging from the bowels of the Old Quarter, Thanial Fox Wych-Hunter, Cathaline Bennett, Alaizabel Cray and a rag-tag force embark on a journey to save London by unraveling the sinister core of the Fraternity, and battling spirits enshrouded in the twilight world of their fading city. Hope is against them amid the crimson vortex of a evil so deadly, one could only hope they succeed.

Chris Woodings, "The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray" is a densely textured vision of apocalyptic London, rife with archaic symbolism and verbiage that weaves an intense page turning journey of wonder. The most brilliantly imaginative, well-written piece of fiction that has been emerged in years-Let Wooding's Alaizabel set a new standard of writing that can only improve like the finest of wines. Worthy of 6 Stars!Copyright(c)Nicola Mattos
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elena on May 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Chris Wooding has created an intricate world full of believable mosters (both wych-kin and human) that will appeal to readers of fantasy and horror alike. The characters can fall a little flat, and Alaizabel, the so-called heroine of the book, seems incredibly wimpy and helpless to me (despite being described as strong and courageous within the book), but the unique setting interesting plot more than make up for any character shortcomings. The plot moves along at a very nice pace - fast enough to keep the reader interested, but slow enough that we can pause to take in the intricacies of the alternand ate history-type world as well. The ending climactic sequence especially is a page-turner that will keep readers up way past bedtime. "The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray" is definitely worth checking out.
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