Witch Crag by Kate Cann
Seamless style and plot-perfection, combined with a bit of symbolic magic in a post-apocalyptic world, really made Witch Crag a great read. Thrown into a mysterious setting at an unknown period, the story unfolds around the character of Kita – a misfit in her society of strict rules, sharp knocks and daily drudgery. The prime objective is ‘survival’ and this, according to the tradition of the Sheepmen, means fight and function.
Kita craves everything she lacks in the cold and dreary hill fort: love, colour, warmth and laughter. She longs for freedom and adventure, but there’s no way out. The solution comes to her from an unexpected encounter with a witch, and together with her only true friends she sets off to find Witch Crag and discover the destiny that awaits her there.
I found Witch Crag constantly surprising as the characters developed and the settings unfolded, never quite taking me in the direction I was expecting. This gave the story a richness and depth that exuded spiritual maturity rather than trite or superficial assumptions. It didn’t just traffic readers to the conclusion that one type of cultural or lifestyle choice was inherently better than another, which it had the potential to do, but rather explored a set of ideas that felt more whole, more wise, more real.
The pace flowed naturally and the language was subtle and engaging, meaning that I was instantly immersed in the novel and was carried by its own momentum to the end. There was power and passion and struggle and suffering on every page, and I loved every minute of it!