Dystopian novels are all the rage right now, but I had no idea this would be the case when I first started brewing up Witch Crag, maybe six years ago. The first spark came from something a Polish friend told me. Apparently, during the witch hunts that swept through Europe in the seventeenth-century, a high, forbidding mountain in Poland became a place of refuge. Women accused of witchcraft would flee to it to escape death, and then naturally the mountain became a place of terror in the popular mind, because 'witches' lived there. And it was in the 'witches' interest to try and add to the frightening stories, to protect themselves .... I loved that idea, and the thought that girls and women fleeing to the mountain would have to be so brave, because they'd be scared of 'witches' too. Until they arrived.
It may start dystopian, but I hope Witch Crag ends on a very utopian note. It's all about people's minds cracking open, to see clearly at last.
Witch Crag has been shortlisted for the Southern Schools Book Award and the Angus award. Whoop & fingers crossed!
A dystopian novel with heart, perfectly paced and with a brilliantly charismatic heroine. Sunday Telegraph
This dystopian novel is quite a departure for Kate Cann, whose books are usually firmly centred in the here and now. She distils exciting stories from everyday life. Her numerous fans can rest assured though, that Witch Crag retains a great deal of Cann flavour. It's exciting and pacy and flows beautifully. And Kita makes for a typically Cann-esque spirited heroine. Even in this devastated world, there is room for a girl who any boy would be lucky to get, not a girl who wants to be lucky enough to get a boy. I love characters like Kita.
So, and of course, I'm recommending Witch Crag, both to fans of future catastrophe novels and to Kate Cann's regular readers. It has more than enough to satisfy both groups: credible, well thought out worldbuilding; a strong and feisty female central character; a little bit of romance but not too much; great pace and tension. What more could anybody want? www.thebookbag.co.uk
Witch Crag stands head and shoulders above other books in its genre. Although this is one of many recent novels aimed at teenagers to portray a dystopian future, Kate Cann’s world somehow seems very fresh. Kita, the central character, is another welcome addition to the pantheon of strong female protagonists. She lives in an austere and male-dominated hill fort where the shepherding inhabitants are forced to focus entirely on survival, at the expense of relationships, creativity or any kind of enjoyment ....
One of the strengths of Witch Crag is that Kate Cann’s vision of the future is so immediately believable and understandable that she does not have to waste much time on exposition. Witch Crag draws the reader very rapidly into its plot, and as the reader is introduced to other features of this environment—the patriarchal horsemen, the intriguing witches of Witch Crag, the farmers, and the inhabitants of the ruined city—it becomes all the more absorbing.
Witch Crag displays its author’s obvious talents. Kate Cann has created a thrilling and intelligent story with an inherent message about sustainable living and numerous memorable and colourful characters.
One of the most refreshing things about Witch Crag is that it is one of the few recent books in this genre that is not obviously setting itself up for a sequel. Kita’s story has a completeness that is rewarding, although more books set in this world would be welcome, given the rich and engaging vision of the future Kate Cann has created. Strongly recommended for readers aged 12 and over. www.theswallowsnest.net
Kita must make a choice. Survive in a life she will hate forever, or run away and almost certainly die. Death is a risk she's willing to take. But there's more to it than that. Soon, Kita will find herself fighting for the very enemy she was trying to escape.