Tuesday, April 13

Chris Wooding: The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray

In an alternate Victorian London a girl is found with no memory of who she is. Obviously of privileged heritage, and suspected insane, her saviours attempt to reunite her with her family. But their attempts to discover her identity, together with her recovering memory, lead them into uncovering a plot so evil it can barely be comprehended.
Understanding the girl is the key to this abominable plan, they seek to keep her hidden. But she is discovered and kidnapped. She manages to escape (with the aide of a serial killer) but too late to save the world.
With the beginning of the end flaring around them, a motley crew embark on a last ditch attempt to put a stop to the devastation. They do but not without loss and the knowledge that the world will never be the same again.
This young adult novel has a vaguely steampunk flavour with strong paranormal elements. The writing is excellent bringing this world to life. The author doesn’t sacrifice atmosphere for pace delivering a sense of urgency bound up with eeriness-not an easy task.
The characters are very well drawn, behaving believably for their age, time and social positioning. The relationships between the characters are complex and add an unexpected emotional layer to this adventure story.
I hope Wooding intends to use this world and these characters again, if not already.-Lynn

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