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Reviews for Cat's Cradle: Witchmark

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Rich English Atmoshere.

By:Mike McGovern, Cold Lake, Alberta
Date:Friday 20 June 2003
Rating:   8

Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark is a beautifully textured adventure steeped in the English tradition of Welsh and Celtic lore. One can almost feel the moistness of the moors, the chill of the fog, and the strangeness of this most ancient land and its secrets coming right through the pages.

This is the England that J.R.R.Tolkien had in mind when he wrote "The Lord of the Rings;" the quaint little village of Tir na Nog and its sleepy inhabitant seem remenicent of the Hobbit town, which Tolkien based on an old English mill he had seen; the quest the Doctor and his freinds are sent on also has a vaguely Tolkien-ish ring to it.

The entire story literally breaths with English resonance, the landscape having a wild, untamed aspect to it - even though civilization has obviously been creeping in. The only real drawback I can find is that several of the later elements in the tale are not developed fully.

The brash warrior who eats the foul-tasting dragon skin is a loud-mouthed, yet cheerful, buffoon, and I thought the story could gain quite a bit of character from adding him into the Doctor's quest. Sadly, this was not to be.

Several excellent characters who could really have made the story swing are dealt with seperately, ending their roles well away from the Doctor and the main action. The bit with Goibhnie, however, is handled with sufficient grace, and the story holds together well enough.

"Witch Mark" is certainly more cheerful in tone than several of the books that came before it. It comes as a breath of fresh air right when one really needs it.

"Revelation," for example, by Paul Cornell, marks the point when the books became really dark and twisted. "Revelation" still leave me with an awful feeling inside, a really depressed and heavy feeling that "Witch Mark" thankfully takes away. Cornell's story, however, was destined to become something of the norm for Doctor who tales. It is such a strange story, so disjointed and cruel to the characters, that I could not finish it for a whole year.

Cornell's modern form of experiemental writing is really dark and dull, and all the slacker punk bits of Ace as a teenager are just the kind of things I try to escape from when I read a Doctor Who book. I blame Paul Cornell entirely for the miserable state 1of many of the Doctor Who stories that came after "Revelation", since his foray into experimental techniques opened the door for a whole bunch of miserable amateur writers, who probably couldn't write an old-fashioned Terrence Dicks thriller even if their lives depended on it.

Witch Mark, in summation, is a small, much appreciated blessing. The cover, also, is fantastic. Best TARDIS portrait I've seen for many a year.

Well written and very Welsh

By:Daf Keyse, Wales
Date:Thursday 30 November 2006
Rating:   9

A book which sets the scene almost perfectly - definitely get the feeling of the Welsh village it's set in as well as the local countryside. The only English feel at all in the book is the language it's actually written in.

The writer managed to build up a feeling of a Quest but kind of let the book down towards the end.

I personally think this is the best out of the Cat's Cradle series, which really cannot be classed as a series because there was no major plot item that occurred in the 3 books - unlike the Timewyrm series.

Definitely buy this one though!

A fun read.

By:Mark List, Midland, United States
Date:Saturday 6 March 2010
Rating:   7

This story was pretty well written. The imagery was good and well thought out.

I thought that this story was well thought out and kept my attention. However, I am still not sure how the Cat fit into the last 3 books.

This would have been better as a stand alone story than trying to be the conclusion to a "trilogy" of stories that didn't really have anything to do with one another.


By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Monday 12 December 2022
Rating:   6

The third and final of the Cat's Cradle series, Witchmark starts well enough with a mystery or two - a crashed coach full of unidentified bodies and large amounts of cash, a small town in northern Wales where centaurs and giant wolves appear from nowhere, mysterious locals, and a broken down TARDIS in need of some off time to recover. Once the book starts moving the plot, it does not go so well for me. It seems a bit underdeveloped and rushed. The plot devolves into two standard motions going in rather predictable ways - one is the journey to the wizard's tower, and the other low-rent X-Files. The plot is basically a way to shoehorn heroic fantasy into a science-fiction box. The ending is rushed, really rushed, with many loose ends. We don't truly learn what happened to Hugh and Janet, or to the Doctor and Ace clones, or even why there were Doctor and Ace clones in the first place. We don't know how The Doctor knows to call Bathsheba "Bats." We don't learn what has happened to the four Earthlings who crossed over to Tir na n-Og.

Additionally, this novel doesn't really wrap up the 'Cat's Cradle' arc. That arc has been problematic given that it is hardly a presence in any of the three novels. The silver cat is some sort of virtual avatar indicating danger to the TARDIS? That is about all I got out of it. The three novels do not in any way link together apart from the almost non-present cat.

One positive of this novel is that Andrew Hunt writes the characters of The Seventh Doctor and Ace well. In this novel, they look after each other. We do not get any of the Ace moaning and shouting that dogs so many of the Seventh and Ace productions. Hunt gives us reason to believe that Ace really likes traveling with The Doctor.

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