The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding

October 1, 2009
Chris Wooding, the author of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, is an award winning author of numerous gothic books. He does a great job of jumping right into the story and keeping the readers hooked until the last word of this dark, scary novel. The book has a twisting plot with characters that fit the role perfectly and Chris Wooding knew exactly how to weave it all together when he wrote this novel.

The novel takes place in a dark version of London and there are demons, also known as wych-kin, running loose throughout the city. London has become a deadly place to be when the sun goes down because that is when they appear. The citizens, “…knew better than to remain there after the sun had dipped beneath the skyline; not if they valued their necks, anyway.” (Wooding 1) Chris Wooding does an amazing job of pulling you directly into the setting with his vivid imagery so that you can experience the book on a whole new level. Wooding gives you an idea of Old London by describing the torn down buildings, the spooky weather, and even the citizens habits of protection to give the reader an idea of just how deadly the city has become. It is up to the rare wych hunters like Thaniel to rid London of all evil before the city gets run over with masses of demon-like creatures.

Chris Wooding does a great way of describing the characters and making them life-like and easy to relate to. He gives the background of all the important characters so that the reader can understand their actions and reactions throughout the book. Thaniel, who is the main character, is described by Wooding as a normal seventeen year old boy with a twisted profession. He hunts wych-kin, or demons. Other than his twisted profession Wooding does an excellent job of relating Thaniel to the target age that this book is aimed at. Thaniel, like some teenagers, feel lonely because their parents have passed away and they are being taken care of by another guardian. Thaniel’s, “…father was gone now, like his mother before him.” (Wooding 21) Thaniel’s father, who was his idol, passed away after his mother and now Cathaline, “…Thaniel’s mentor during the latter years of his apprenticeship as a wych hunter, and a friend ever since.” (Wooding 13) was looking after him. I like all the characters in the novel because Wooding makes it seem like I know them personally because of their reactions to the events that happen in the novel closely resemble to what mine would be if those events happened to me. The author also uses a unique and different point of view when someone gets murdered in the novel. When someone is about to die he gives the reader a little background of the victim and then explains thoroughly how the victim dies. He does this in order to give the reader an idea of the identity of the victim so the reader will not be lost. I find this method to be a great way to shift perspectives from the actual characters of the novel to just the innocent bystanders that fall victim to the wych-kin.

The key to this stories plot is literally inside a girl. Alaizabel, who is discovered by Thaniel on a hunt, holds the key inside her unknowingly and has to find a way to destroy it in order to keep a gate between the world of wyches and the real world shut. Thaniel, Cathaline, Alaizabel, and several other unexpected acquaintances will have to work together if they want to keep London a human dwelling city. They go in where no ones ever been before and they will try to do what was thought impossible. Did Thaniel succeed? Was Alaizabel able to complete her own mission? If you want to know if Thaniel succeeds then you’ll just have to read through this adventure for yourself.





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