Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray” as Want to Read:
The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,642 Ratings  ·  286 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
Paperback, 292 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Point (first published January 1st 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Rebecca McNutt
Chris Wooding undeniably has a good sense of imagination and fun, and The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is a perfect example of a story that isn't afraid to establish its own rules. Full of suspense, friendship and adventure, this book is both enjoyable and endearing as it shares the life and times of seventeen-year-old Thaniel, a talented "wych-hunter" whose job is full of unexpected twists and turns. At first appearing to be a run-of-the-mill fantasy novel, the book takes a turn for the darkly po ...more
Μαρία Γεωργοπούλου
I couldn't connect with the story...Maybe I'll read it again in the future and find it better....
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
Jun 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 17, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Dec 02, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, it was Young Adult in tone but not pandering. I just read two books of very similar tone to this, and I liked both of them. This one has a very Gothic, Faerie Tale bent to it. Definitely felt Young Adult, like Graceling, but I was engrossed and kept with the characters.

Interesting environment and world (which I was interested in learning more about, sometimes it felt a bit thinly drawn, but the author succeeded in giving me the total creeps a few times with his monsters, so
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 Cr
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, july-2018
This book was one of my favorites in middle school. It was the scariest book I had read and it doesn't disappoint as a reread! I will definitely get my own copy to reread whenever I want soon.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
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
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, young-adult, favorites
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
Aly (Fantasy4eva)
Aug 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Ksenia (vaenn)
В останню неділю березня підтягувала хвости зимового читання. По-перше, то був графічний роман про Крайню Північ і Крайній Південь. По-друге, оце от. Похмура межа осені і зими у Лондоні, соціальне дно та його аборигени, мисливці на нечисть, злі чаклуни, маніяк-вбивця та його косплеєри і атмосфера лафкрафтіанського жаху для молодшого (підліткового тобто) покоління. As is - небезпека суне з моря, пробудження давніх богів та дуже своєрідна стилістика. Причому штиль такий, що вже незрозуміло, плакат ...more
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, steampunk
UKUPNA OCENA (overall rating) - 7/10
Radnja (story) - 7/10
Likovi (characters) - 7/10
Pripovedanje (writing style) - 7/10
Okruženje (setting) - 8/10
Ivz Andonova
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Не бях чела нищо от Крис Удинг до сега, всъщност дори не бях чувала за него, а аз обикновено обичам да се преструвам, че съм чувала за всичко. Но ще ви кажа едно- Крис Удинг е направил това, което Касандра Клеър се опита да направи с "Реликвите на смъртните" и не ѝ се получи особено добре. Историята се случва в една алтернативна версия на викториански Лондон, мрачно и мистично място, където нощта е коварна и непредсказуема, с атмосфера, която може да откриете във филмите на Тим Бъртън. Въображен ...more
2.5 stars. It was not bad, in fact it is a decent, middle-grade horror. If only it has better characters and dialogue to complete the fascinating and meticulous world building, this could be a four-star book.
Shaun Chen
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Steampunk meets horror. YA adventure. Monsters, serial killers, elder gods, and dirigibles! This is one of those books where I can just start listing off a bunch of random things that are cool about it.

For example, the characters:

Alaizabel Cray — she’s cray-cray, but that’s because she’s possessed by the spirit of an ancient wych
Thaniel Fox — our protagonist, a teen gentleman-badass who hunts monsters… and isn’t snarky?? Perhaps that’s the biggest surprise of the novel
Cathaline Bennett — 30-som
Michael Campbell
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
So I first read this book in Middle School, a few years after it came out. I adored it and read it half a dozen times. I tried to get my family to read it. I tried to get my friends to read it. Those who did read it didn't hate it but didn't seem to understand my deep love for the book.

I last read this book probably around my freshmen year of high school. I went through something of a dry spell of reading, only reading the occasional book. When I started reading avidly again, my tastes had shift
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Alice (theseoldbooks)
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This book is good. Scary good. I love it. Take this with a pinch of salt though because I first read it when I was quite young, so rereading it meant a whole lot of nostalgia. It’s absolutely amazing because Wooding has managed to stick so much into such a small book, and do it well.

To summarise: Thaniel is seventeen (prime YA protagonist age) and an orphaned wych-hunter in a steampunk London which is overrun with ‘wych-kin’, (boogie men, zombie things, ghouls, and monsters that steal babies). H
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

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
Dec 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010
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.

Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Chris Wooding did here what Cassandra Clare was trying to do with Mortal Instruments: write a story set in a Big City swarming with evil beasties, centred around the heroic actions of the evil-beastie-hunters. Wooding did it much, much better (and with a lot less would-be incest).

I really enjoyed the fast-paced, suspense-driven plot while being successfully spine-tingled by the scary bits. The carriage-driving serial killer, Stitch-face, particularly sticks in my mind. I'm almost glad I've left
Oct 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Left unfinished. Just couldn't get into it. I was hoping for something creepy, intriguing. It was a bit too predictable and easy.
Seizure Romero
Has a few deus ex machina moments toward the end, but mostly a tale well told.
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-authors
An excellent book, creepy and adventerous
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
spotted on Alyssa's profile
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Flaming London
  • Starcross (Larklight, #2)
  • New Amsterdam (New Amsterdam, #1)
  • O Círculo do Medo (A Saga das Pedras Mágicas, #4)
  • Phantom of Blood Alley (Barnaby Grimes, # 4)
  • Steampunk'd
  • The Women of Nell Gwynne's
  • Empire of Ruins (The Hunchback Assignments, #3)
  • A Manopla de Karasthan (Crónicas de Allaryia, #1)
  • Full Steam Ahead
  • The Bookman (The Bookman Histories, #1)
  • Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (Steampunk, #2)
  • The Light Ages (The Aether Universe, #1)
  • Aftershock
  • Gothic!: Ten Original Dark Tales
  • Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel
  • The Sphere of Secrets (The Oracle Prophecies, #2)
  • Island of Icarus
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-nine, Chris has written over twe
“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.”
“This was London, and you either held on, or fell by the walkside like that fellow had.” 0 likes
More quotes…