There are real and imagined horrors in this book, and I'm not sure which are worse.
Thaniel Fox is a wych-hunter:
It had to be here. It had all the hallmarks of a classic Cradlejack lair. And besides, his intuition crowed at him, you know it's in there. Wych-hunting's in your blood; isn't that what father always said? You've got the wych-sense just like he had. You just know.
It's a dangerous thing, a wych, whatever shape it takes, and it doesn't seem to make any difference how many wyches the hunters kill, they still just keep appearing. If a cradlejack should bite or scratch another person, then he, too, will become a cradlejack. It's a deadly condition. And what do cradlejacks prey on? They steal infants from their cradles, of course.
So who wants to live in London? No-one wants to live in the Old Quarter. The Old Quarter is practically given over to the wych-kin, along with the poor and dispossessed who can't afford to live anywhere else. If you are fortunate enough to live in a more respectable area, north of the river, you still wouldn't wander the streets at night, for fear of what you might encounter. For someone else also roams the dark and foggy streets. Stitch-Face is about his ghastly business ...
It's clear that London needs to be cleaned up a bit. Where to start? Thaniel has a partner, Cathaline Bennett. She's older than him. Actually, she was his late father's partner first, but now she is Thaniel's partner and mentor. But even they are fighting a losing battle, until Thaniel comes across Alaizabel Cray, in the Old Quarter, one dark night.
Thaniel and Cathaline have a hard job trying to find out who Alaizabel is, because even Alaizabel doesn't know. But it isn't long before they discover a sinister link between Alaizabel and the Fraternity.
It's a sinister, ghoulish, ghastly kind of book - and I'm sure you won't be able to put it down. Highly recommended!
John, boy, age 14, from New England, United States, on 27th June 2007. Rating: 8/10
This book was interesting. From the first paragraph I read, I could tell that it would be somewhat good, because of the extremely strong language. It was not a horror story, unlike the review that the librarian recommended it to me gave it. It was not "creeeeeepyyy." It was suspenseful, yes, and the creatures were wonderfully detailed, but, not the horror story I hoped for. (Maybe because the only things I have been reading as of late are Stephen King's finest works.)
corrine hillberg, girl, age almost 14, from halltown/miller, United States, on 20th January 2007. Rating: 9/10
I think the book was very unique and creative, beyond what I would have ever thought myself. i enjoyed the book very much with it's imanginative creativity.
Savannah, girl, age 14, from Toronto, Canada, on 11th June 2006. Rating: 10/10
This is my favorite book of all time and i have read it 3 times in a row! I was searching on Google about it and a book came up called " Alaizabel Cray" and i thought there might be another book or something but every thing came up in French or Germen,but i am keeping my hopes up!!! PLEAS LET THERE BE MORE BOOKS ABOUT ALAIZABEL AND THANIEL!!!! I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT THEM!!!!!!!!!
If you want to buy The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding and help readingmatters, please use these links
If you like the strangely altered world of Thaniel Fox's London, you might enjoy Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials:
Or this hugely enjoyable adventure book by Philip Reeve:
If you enjoy sitting on the edge of your seat with horror, you could have a look at this one by Susan Price:
Or this classic by Mervyn Peake:
One final suggestion, more light-hearted but similar ideas, is this one by Robin Jarvis: