I know it sounds strange, but I usually don’t try to analyze the title of a book until I’m finished reading it.  Then, knowing how the book begins, proceeds, and ends, I try to determine if I like the choice in title.  For example, THE HUNGER GAMES worked for me.  The whole book is about these gladiatorial survivor games, so the title isn’t misleading.  Plus, it’s catchy enough to snag my interest if I don’t have any prior knowledge of the book.  THE GRAVEYARD BOOK worked for me too.  Like I said in my posts when I analyzed this book, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK feels like a string of individual stories about a boy who lives in a graveyard.  The title is very general and in this context, it works.

I’m bringing this up because I think that the title of THE HAUNTING OF ALAIZABEL CRAY (HAC) by Chris Wooding does the book a disservice.  First of all, Alaizabel isn’t really haunted; she’s possessed.  In fact, because Alaizabel is stronger than the spirit within her, it’s an unsuccessful possession.  Wouldn’t that have been a cool title?  THE FAILED POSSESSION OF ALAIZABEL CRAY.

However, my objection to the title isn’t because it could have been cooler or because it isn’t completely accurate.  I object to this title because it set up false expectations for the plotting of this book.  After reading the title, I believed that the thrust of the story was going to be about the supernatural threat to the heroine and how she ended up haunted.  It turned out that Alaizabel’s troubles only spanned about half of the book.  The real plot was about a secret Fraternity in London and their goal to bring about the apocalypse.

I will make this confession:  this book didn’t draw me along and make me need to know the ending.  I kept reading because of the great individual scenes (I think I mentioned a fantastic scene between Alaizabel and the serial killer, Stitch-face.  There’s also a pretty exciting knife fight.) and the super/icky/cool monsters.  The imagery for the grand finale of the book was spectacular.  In addition, when wych-kin overrun London, there are a series of short scenes that gave me chills.  But these events are secondary to the main plot line, which was not particularly surprising or revealing.  Like the characters, where the lead players were a bit of a snore, the primary plot of THE HAUNTING OF ALAIZABEL CRAY was borderline predictable.  On the other hand, the side stories, like the serial killer Stitch-face and the London citizens who are victims of the wych-kin, are chocolate-covered deliciousness.

That’s my take on the plotting for THE HAUNTING OF ALAIZABEL CRAY.  Even though I feel like this book is a little slow and the plot isn’t driving, I still made it to the end without any trouble.  A big reason for that was the writing style…which I will tackle on Monday.  Have a wonderful weekend!

The super-creepy artwork is by Shain Erin (seriously, this artist makes constructs really messed-up dolls that are icky and awesome.  LOVE it.) and I found it on flickr.

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