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Discussion Module

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray
by
Chris Wooding

Publishing Information: Orchard Books: New York, 2004
ISBN: 0439546567 / 0439598516(PB)
Pages
: 292 p.
Ages: 12 & Up

Summary:
In a world similar to Victorian London, Thaniel, a hunter of deadly, demonic creatures called the wych-kin, takes in a lost, possessed girl and becomes embroiled in a plot to unleash evil on the world.

Subject Headings & Major Themes:

Ethics        
Friendship Great Britian - History FictionHorror/Fantasy
London (England) - History Fiction
Personal Growth
Psychology
Responsibility
Science vs. Belief Systems
Scientific Investigation
Supernatural Fiction
Trust
Victorian England - Fiction

Awards:
School Library Journal Best Books, 2004
Smarties Award (Silver), 2004
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2005

BookList, August 1, 2004, p. 1925 (Starred Review)
School Library Journal, August, 2004, p. 132

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. What is worse, the real or the imagined horrors in the book?
  2. After reading this story, how did you feel about the city of London?
  3. Contrast the characters of Cathaline and Alaizabel.
  4. Can Thaniel trust that the spirits who possessed Alaizabel are truly gone? What do you do when you are not sure whom you can trust?
  5. Before the true character of Cradle Jack was revealed, how does he compare to Jack the Ripper?
  6. Describe how something like this could happen today. Who would you think an equal of a wych-kin hunter would be in today's world?
  7. Describe how you would visualize our world today if the demonic overthrow was successful.
  8. What would it be like to be controlled the way Alaizabel was?
  9. How much of our lives do you think are under self-control?
  10. Do you agree with Dr. Pike, "Mankind is not yet mature enough to take responsibility for its mistakes"?

Related Websites:
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Guide (www.buffyguide.com) - This unofficial site contains a complete, detailed guide to all episodes of the hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Visit this entertaining, informative resource and chat with other Buffy fans, join a discussion forum, and do a keyword search within the Buffy and Angel databases.

The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (www.csicop.org) - began in 1976 and is a non-profit scientific and educational organization that encourages the critical investigation of paranormal claims. CSICOP is comprised of a network of people including scientists, academics and science writers, who objectively examine claims of the paranormal and disseminate factual information about results to the public.

Dreamscapes (www.mysteries-megasite.com/main/bigsearch/apparition-1.html ) - Search a databasewith over 100,000 links to worldwide mysteries of every kind. From acupuncture to zombies, crop circles to killer bees, and yetis to whirling dervishes, this site contains a complete A-Z subject guide list and its own search engine.

Encounters (tlc.discovery.com/tlcpages/encounters/encounters.html) - This is a commercial website maintained by The Learning Channel and contains a schedule of upcoming shows and air-dates for UFO features and the best of alien science. Read the alien dispatch and check out the alien agitators featuring information about current activists in UFOlogy.

Literary Gothic (www.litgothic.com) - The Web's premier guide to all things concerned with literary Gothicism, which includes ghost lore, Gothic fiction, novels and supernaturalism literature. The site is maintained by Jack Voller, an Associate Professor of

The Shadowlands (theshadowlands.com)This site is dedicated to informing visitors on such subjects as ghosts, aliens, UFOs, mysterious creatures like Bigfoot and sea serpents, and other unsolved mysteries.

The Urban Legens Archive (www.urbanlegends.com) - The Urban Legends Archives were started in 1991and are categorized into subject headings ranging from animals to death, food to movies and politics to songs.

Read-a-Likes:
Abhorsen by Garth Nix, 2003
Body of Christopher Creed
by Carol Plum-Ucci, 2000 (2001 RITBA Nominee)
Book of Dead Days
by Marcus Sedgwick, 2004
Daughters of the Moon series by Lynne Ewing, 2000-2003
Dead Girls Don't Write Letters
by Gail Giles, 2003
Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, 2000
Haunted by Meg Cabot, 2003
The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman, 1995-2000
The Last Universe by William Sleator, 2005
Midnight Predator
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, 2002
Mortal Engines
by Philip Reeve, 2003 (2006 RITBA Nominee)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, 1997
The Pearl of Anton
by Gene Del Vecchio, 2004
Predator's Gold
by Philip Reeve, 2004
Sabriel, Shade's Children by Garth Nix, 1995
Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, 2001 
 
Sons of the Dark Series by Lynne Ewing, 2004-

Other Books by the Author:
Crashing, 1997
Broken Sky #1, 1999
Broken Sky #2, 1999
Broken Sky #3, 2000
Broken Sky #4, 2000
Broken Sky #5, 2000
Broken Sky #6, 2001
Broken Sky #7, 2001
Kerosene, 2002
The Skein of Lament Part 1 , 2003
The Skein of Lament Part 2, 2005

About the Author:
Chris Wooding was born on February 28, 1977 in Leicester, England, an ex-mining town. In his youth, he enjoyed fantasy devouring the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card.

As a teenager he realized that he wanted to be an author himself. He began writing at sixteen and got himself a literary agent at age eighteen. His first novel, Crashing, was accepted for publication a year later and soon after was released for publication.  

He studied English Literature at the University of Sheffield, England Now, at the age of twenty-seven, and living in London, he has published sixteen books. He also has several short stories in print. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray won the Silver at the Smarties Award, and he has written a screenplay for a movie version of the book.   His seventeenth book The Skein of Lament part 2 came out in May 2005.  

Wooding likes backpacking, touring with his band, horror movies, and listening to ska music.

| ©2004 - Rhode Island Teen Book Award Committee | Aaron Coutu, Chair