Chris Wooding began writing at the age of 16, and his first novel Crashing was published when he was 19. Since that time, he's written dozens of novels in several genres, notably the award-winning The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray; Poison; Storm Thief; the Malice series; and the graphic novel, Pandemonium.
Gr 6 Up-This imaginative and descriptive work of fantasy and fear opens with a seabird crashing into a window, dying, and being picked up by a golem named Vago. Rail and Moa are ghetto teens. Rail has taken the girl under his wing and taught her to be a thief, although stealing pains her sense of morality. They live in a land ruled by a totalitarian government led by the Protectorate's Patrician. The Protectorate is meant to protect the citizens of Orokos from Revenants, ghosts that take over people's bodies and kill everything they can. Lysander Bane has a ruthlessly unquestioning dedication to order and law. But order is elusive in Orokos, where at any time a probability storm can occur. Children can turn to stone, people turn into cats, left-handers become right-handed. Rail can no longer breathe by himself but needs a respirator. The plot is complicated and there are many characters and types of creatures to keep track of, but Wooding does a masterful job of tying everything together. Ultimately, the golem interacts with Rail and Moa, who unlock the secrets of the probability storms and the Protectorate. All ends on a hopeful if uncertain note. Characterization is deft, and teens will relate to both Moa and Rail. The concept of the probability storms is fascinating and lends a constant sense of danger and menace. The golem is unlike any in literature; the description of what happens to him in the end is heartbreaking yet encouraging.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.