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The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray
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The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  2,592 ratings  ·  221 reviews
The Alienist 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, an
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Paperback, 292 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Point (first published January 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Alexis
Apr 19, 2009 Alexis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Navah, my brother, fans of weird fantasy
I really enjoy reading Chris Wooding's novels. There's always something very dark and weird to the worlds he creates, and it makes the stories edgy and exciting. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is no exception.

Set in an alternate universe of Victorian London, there are more than just famous serial killers (in this case, it's Stitch-face) to worry about. Ever since the city was bombed, wych-kin have been appearing in the Old Quarter. They kill, possess, steal babies, and just generally do bad stu
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Kim
Oct 17, 2007 Kim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young Goths, fans of Lovecraft and "The New Weird"
Another unexpected wonder by Chris Wooding. In an alternative Victorian London, young Thaniel Fox hunts wych-kin, the spooky beings who haunt the Old Quarter. While hunting, he encounters the beautiful Alaizabel Cray, who is possessed by a spirit that makes her an attraction to all sorts of wych-kin horrors. In solving Alaizabel's mystery, Thaniel and his mentor Cathaline become discover a secret society that is threatening not only London, but humanity itself. This atmospheric tale is perfect f ...more
Becky
I was browsing the YA section of my local library and I stumbled across this book. Or maybe I should say that it called out to me. The blurry cathedral on the cover just promised to be dark and mysterious. I'm a sucker for dark, broody, creepy, gothic (etc) type stories, and this delivered just that.

I haven't read anything by Chris Wooding before, in fact, I'd never even heard of him until I picked up this book. As soon as I'm done writing this review, I'm going to be adding his other books to
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Jason
4 Stars


The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding is a fun, fast, and action packed gothic horror novel that is done up in a steampunk like London. Wooding has created a cast of likable characters and put them in a really cool urban fantasy setting. Thaniel, our main protagonist is a young man that is a Wych-Hunter by trade. He is the son of England’s most renowned Wych-hunter, and has had to try and live up to his father’s legacy. This novel centers on a mass murder named Stitch Face, a l
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Malissa
I'm maybe a bit below four stars on this one, but I'll round up because my teen book group really seemed to like it, and teen appeal counts for something with YA lit.

In general, this book held my interest well. It was pretty original, and the writing is decent. Toward the end, though, it seemed to get a bit heavy handed with the philosophical aspects of the story. I like the idea that the witch-kin (ghoulish beings of all sorts) come from the dark part of human minds, but to say that they come
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Aly (Fantasy4eva)
So I'm actually not going to rate this book until I've finished my review. I've had a lot of mixed feelings about this one. Normally I would just decide whether a book is good or not, but for some reason I just couldn't decide this time around. I felt maybe reviewing it would finally bring me to a conclusion. The problem might have been that I actually found the main characters bland. Whilst the ones that stood out were the bad creepy ones, and you know when your preferring the bad guys over the ...more
Amanda
15 Jan '12
Still shrieking, she saw the thing lurking in the shadows of the corner of the room, visible only in the murk of sleep-fogged eyes. Naked, twisted, an old, old crone with her long straggly hair cloaking her bent body, she crouched on all fours with hooves for feet and a long tail twitching behind her.

If you liked the Bartimaeus Trilogy, or if you thought The Mortal Instruments was good - or, in my case, had good ideas but failed to deliver, then go give The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray
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Sesana
It's kind of strange that I would end up reading this book right after I finished playing Dishonored. Like Alaizabel Cray, Dishonored is set in a vaguely steampunky/Victorianish city, infested with hungry rats and being devastated by a mysterious plague. I couldn't help but picture parts of the Wooding's Old Quarter as looking like the Flooded District of Dishonored. But if the developers of Dishonored took any inspiration from this book, that's where it ended. In Dishonored, magic is very thin ...more
Michelle
This one's a keeper. Some books just hit you in the first few pages, and you know deep in your gut that you've stumbled on a true find. Wooding has crafted a gritty, atmospheric fantasy set in the Old Quarter of London. Thaniel is a wych-hunter; he hunts Cradlejacks, monsters who steal babies. He protects Alaizabel who is mysteriously possessed and a magnet for evil creatures. The tools of a wych-hunters trade are well-detailed, and it's a pleasure to read such a well-thought out form of magic. ...more
Sawler
I never expected any anticipation of a pleasurable read from this book. I was bored and I was in dire need of buying a book and I came across this book by Chris Wooding and it was on sale at that time. A book below ten bucks is what I consider a sure buy with no regrets, which is why I didn't shed a tear when I bought The Da Vinci Code. So, I bought it and let it collect dust on my bookshelves for a while until the day I was urged to read it. I finished the book in one sitting and at the end of ...more
Saralibrary
I found this book on a steampunk list, but don't be fooled. It's not steampunk; in fact, it's more Lovecraftian horror, by which I mean lots of creepy creatures and not much soul.

Basically, that's the problem with this book. The characters are fairly one-dimensional and you never get close enough to them to really invest in their story. The description and detail in the book is great, but when more time goes into describing the wych-kin than the characters reaction to them, you're in trouble.

For
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Photina
Photina Haumschilt
Genre: Horror

Thanial Fox is a seventeen year-old wych-hunter. London has been plagued with wychs and dark creatures ever since The Vernichtung. While on a hunt for a Cradlejack Thaniel finds what he thinks to be a creature crouched in a corner half-crazed. He soon finds out that the "creature" is really Alaizabel Cray and that she has been possessed by an old wych spirit. With his mentor and friend, Catheline, they all set out to find answers and fight the creatures that keep p
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colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
3.5

The writing in regards to place and the general happenings of the story in this alt-reality Victorian London Lovecraftian type creep-fest is good - it's very atmospheric and there were definitely moments where I found myself reading with wide-eyes and a quickened heartbeat, unconsciously holding my breath. Not much gore, which is good, but definitely some creep factor going on.

I didn't feel that the characters were developed quite as well as the world, though, and I was a bit unhappy that Tha
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Diana
This came highly recommended from someone at work, but it just couldn't sustain my interest - I was reduced to skimming my way throught the final third to see what happens. The concept of an alternate Victorian reality is definitely an awesome one, but it wasn't always executed well. Its Jack the Ripper figure, for example, ultimately had little to do with the integral narrative, not to mention the fact that I was highly disappointed at not discovering the murderer's identity. Why is it that neo ...more
Rebecca
The book is set in the mythical London of the Industrial Revolution with wych-kin, which are basically the legends of years and years made real. There are candle-jacks and ghouls prowling the abandoned and dark streets of all the major cities in the world. And there are Wych-Hunters who spend their nights hunting these horrid things down and killing them. Of course, there is also a secret society that is planning on summoning some sort of Lovecraft-esque old god, and our heroes must stop them.
T
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Kezle
Nitpicky Reviews

Warning: Probably contains some minor spoilers.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray. Where, oh where did you go wrong? It started with so much promise. An interesting premise, cool monsters, and hints at a darkening Gothic atmosphere. What was not to like? I was going to give it four stars.

That was the start, my mistake was to keep reading.

So just like the book, let's start with the good bits. We have Thaniel, wych-hunter extraordinaire at only seventeen, and Catherine, friend/mentor/w
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April
This book was written by the same author as Poison. It is very Gothic. Well written, but super scary, and frankly not one I would recommend. It is a young adult book as well, but I don't think that it should have been. It seemed more adult themed to me. Certainly no nudity, or cursing, but the subject matter was very dark, and I did not like the feel of the book.
Sabrina
An absolutely atrocious piece of literature. I'm baffled by the high reviews.

Writing Style: The writing was okay, It really wasn't the main problem. It needed to include more detail, but it was okay.

Plot: What plot? This book was all over the place. There was literally no interesting storyline. It was an absurd cult with an octopus (I'm not even joking) as their symbol that wanted Alaizabel. Why... I don't even know, and frankly, I don't even care.

Characters: UGHHHHH! The characters were flat an
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Doris
This book completely redefined my view of fantasy. I love how instead of using Harry Potter style magic, they took the superstitions and ran with them. The creatures that Chris Wooding invented are beyond any stretch of my imagination. I've been to England before, but I have to say that this time I didn't want to come back home.
Angela
Left unfinished. Just couldn't get into it. I was hoping for something creepy, intriguing. It was a bit too predictable and easy.
Arminzerella
Thaniel, wych-hunter, discovers a girl who appears to be quite mad, while he is chasing down a Cradlejack (one of the wych-kin) near the Old Quarter in London. He brings her home with him and treats her cuts and bruises, gives her a meal and allows her to rest. When she wakes up, she only remembers bits and pieces of her life, and her name – Alaizabel Cray. It soon becomes apparent that she’s possessed by some nasty spirit, and that she’s part of something much more sinister – something to do wi ...more
Kristina
cross-posted from Book Haven

Элайзабел Крэй и Темное Братство – одна из моих самых-самых любимых подростковых книг. Это как раз тот самый иллюзорный идеальный случай, когда главный герой вызывает неподдельное восхищение, женские персонажи вызывают симпатию, в мотивацию главного злодея возможно поверить, а второстепенные персонажи не фон, а участники действия. И главное! От приключений героев невозможно оторваться, но еще очень радует тот факт, что все происшествия в книге в конечном итоге оказыв
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Karen
In an alternate Victorian London lit by gas lamps, circled by airships, and plagued by a Jack-the-Ripper-style serial killer, Thaniel Fox is a wych-hunter who relies on an arsenal of wards, rites and charm-strings to rid the Old Quarter of demons. As fog swirls and wolves howl, Thaniel stumbles across a young woman racked with fever and certain to fall victim to wych-kin without his protection. Although Alaizabel appears insane, Thaniel learns she may be possessed by an evil spirit summoned by T ...more
Fiendishly Bookish
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
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Rachael
Oct 30, 2010 Rachael rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes fantasy and dark themed books
This is a AMAZING book! I got it from my schools library about two months ago and finished it 2 weeks ago because of my busy schedule! I would have usually dropped the book since it took so long to read but not with this one! I loved the characters and the vivid descriptions.

Thaniel Fox lives in a futuristic version of London where monsters and witch kin hide in the darkness and attack humans at night, especially in a part of town called the Dark quarter. Daniel is a witch kin hunter, raised by
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J.M.
Dec 19, 2010 J.M. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: supernatural Gothic, Victorian ghosts, witches, warlocks, dark fey, fans of Hellboy, fans of BPRD
Thank you, Chris. After the disappointment that was STORM THIEF, I definitely needed THE HAUNTING OF ALAIZABEL CRAY (THoAC) to redeem my faith in you. Not that I could ever give up on you after "The Braided Path," of course. Every writer has a stinker or two (or more) in their bib. But THoAC is definitely not a stinker; in fact, it's among your best, and a five-star offering as far as I'm concerned. You grabbed my interest with the young wych-hunter, Thaniel Fox, and never let up. I was fully in ...more
Amelia
Originally posted on The Authoress: Book Reviews & More.


A creepy as hell story, but so not my style. There are some authors that can write this really flowery, in depth stuff that I can still connect with, but Wooding was way over my head. Just too archaic for me to really wrap my head around, though there were some moments I could really appreciate—but only for their brevity.
Thaniel drew a pistol, opened it, spun the chamber to check he had a full load of bullets, and snapped it shut.

"My pl
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Laurie
This is Chris Wooding at his best!

Thaniel, a wych hunter, gets more than he bargains for on his hunt one dark night. Looking for a Cradeljack leads him to the small girl Alaizabel Cray. Dirty, tormented, sad, and scared, Alaizabel is taken in by Thaniel for safety and shelter. What Thaniel and his companion Cathalene don’t realize is that Alaizaebel holds the key to the end of humanity. Alaizabel holds the wychkind Thatch, an evil old spirit who teams up with a group of cult members to summon th
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Alyssa
Okay, so this book is predictable and the main characters aren't especially interesting... BUT it also somehow manages to be 4 stars worth of macabre funtimes. I suppose the world-building may have something to do with why I liked this story so much. I loved the semi-post-apocalyptic Victorian London and all of the deliciously chilling critters and side-characters that populated it. At any point in this story, it was clear to me that there was a landscape of potential other stories happening out ...more
Daria
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Chris Wooding grew up in a small town in Leicestershire, where not much of anything happened. So he started to write novels. He was sixteen when he completed his first. He had an agent by eighteen. By nineteen he had signed his first book deal. When he left university he began to write full-time, and he has been doing it professionally all his adult life.

Now thirty-two, Chris has written sixteen b
...more
More about Chris Wooding...
Poison Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #1) The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #2) Malice (Malice, #1) Storm Thief

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“Devil-boy Jack: "A higher power than ours directs us against the wych-kin. There is no turning back."

Thaniel Fox: "There is no higher power, Devil-boy! And I am no-one's pawn, neither man nor wych nor whatever entity you speak of."

Devil-boy Jack: "I do not speak of entities. I speak of the force that created the physics of the universe, the force that makes time flow forward and not allow everything to happen at once, the force that sets the patterns to which the planets turn. Its weapons are coincidence, unlikelihood, happenstance. It is there when a man stops suddenly to pick up a coin dropped by another man ten days before, and the woman who is to be his wife bumps into him, and five hundred years hence their offspring rules half the world. It is there when a chance comment causes a scientist to think, What if...? and ten years later a great plague is cured. It is so vast that what we call chaos is simply another part of its order, with a shape too big to see. It has no name, nor will it ever have, though man may hint darkly at fate and destiny. It is what it is... the pattern. We may choose our own paths, but the pattern is always ahead of us. It is a way. It is the way.”
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