Compared to some of my other latest reads The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding was a very easy read indeed. Not simple... I don't mean that... just incredibly readable, 'a page turner' as they say.
The story is set in London but not a London that we know. It's Dickensian in nature but there are some nasty things coming out of the woodwork at night, the wych-kin, literally the stuff of nightmares. Thaniel Fox is a wych-hunter, a good one. He's tracking down a cradlejack one night when a terrified girl, Alaizabel Cray, literally runs into his arms. She has no idea who she is or where she's come from but it's clear she's been abused by someone and is being haunted. Gradually the story emerges, she has some connection with The Fraternity, an evil, secret society made up of some of the well-to-do and most powerful people in the city. So what's going on? Whatever it is it seems it might spell the end of London as a city and life as they know it, and Alaizabel is the key to unlocking the mystery and saving them all.
As I said before, this is a page turner. A rollicking good yarn which is nice and spooky, pacey, and well told. It's YA so nothing too horrible (thank goodness) and I seemed to detect a slight touch of Cthulu Mythos about the tale too. The Dickensian aspect of the city was more than a little attractive to me - I love a good 'seedy, 1800's London' yarn and here it was well done with even a crime element included with a serial killer at large. So this is a real mix... historical/horror/crime etc. And it works! I loved it and will read more of Chris Wooding's work if I can find it. In fact he has a new book out on the 18th. of this month, The Fade, which sounds like it might be really good.