The Mob

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Clem Martini
Bloomsbury
0747575789
Jan 2006
The Mob is the story of a flock of crows that have gathered for their annual meeting. The multitude has come together for play, pairing off and the general hubbub of family reunions.

Clem Martini introduces us to the lore of the crow clans, a clash between strong-willed youngsters and more conservative elders as well as the Chooser, the slightly bedraggled elder selected to guide the flock.

Sadly The Mob � the first part of a trilogy The Crow Chronicles � isn�t one of the happiest meetings as a series of battles with a group of local cats cause chaos and social upheaval that threatens to divide the flock.

The review copy promises Watership Down with crows and it�s a tough comparison, particularly given that fluffy bunnies automatically attract more sympathy than cackling crows.

I finished this book two weeks ago and I�m still ambivalent about the whole experience. Parts of it irritated me intensely but there�s also some fine writing, particularly in the climactic tunnel scenes.

One sign that I wasn�t fully engaged is my annoyance at the fact that all the characters� names start with a K � all very nu metal and initially at least quite confusing. I don�t recall all the rabbits in Richard Adams� story having names beginning with R.

I�m also unsure who it�s aimed at. The start of the book is very slow although there�s a burst of crow lurve and some nice touches about how a girl crow observes human behaviour, which might appeal to a female readership. At the same time the end of the book is more violent and action focused and reads as if it�s aimed at a male readership.

Ultimately I feel a potentially good idea hasn�t been served well by the way it�s been published. I recall Watership Down as a chunky read, with pretty small type, a single volume that recounts a series of episodes in the establishment of a new burrow.

According to Amazon there are 480 pages in the current Penguin edition of Watership Down while The Mob is just 236 pages with a fairly hefty typeface and generous leading. It recounts a single eposide in the life of the flock leaving you feeling short-changed by the current vogue for publishing franchises.

I don�t know how long parts two and three of the Crow Chronicles will be but had the whole tale been published as a two-parter or even a single volume then the early slow pace of The Mob might have worked well as the lead in to a more textured story.



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This page contains a single entry by Alastair Ray published on February 8, 2006 9:32 PM.

Mixed Magics was the previous entry in this blog.

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