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The Mob: The Crow Chronicles, Book One

by Clem Martini

At the reunion of the six great clans of the Crow Family Kinaar, Kalum, their official historian and storyteller, chronicles recent tragic events. In true bardic style, Kalum leads his fellow crows through the story of the difficult flight to the family’s gathering tree, the vindictive attack of a ferocious local cat, and the subsequent death of Klea, a newling. The hot-headed actions of young Kyp, avenging Klea’s death, propel the family toward disaster as Kyp is evicted from the gathering for organizing a mobbing of the cat. But when the Kinaar are faced with both a devastating blizzard and an attack by the cat and his feline friends, the reckless Kyp ultimately saves the day.

Clem Martini’s The Mob, the first novel in a proposed trilogy, is an ornithological knock-off of Kenneth Oppel’s successful Silverwing. There are too many similarities between the two not to draw comparisons – a central gathering tree, attacks by owls, inclement weather precipitating action, the same kind of intergenerational squabbling, and even the same bumbling romance – and The Mob doesn’t come out the winner. A pretty good action-packed read, it will certainly attract fans of Oppel’s work, particularly boys, but it lacks the same magical imaginative spark. Where Martini shimmers briefly is in his fine retellings of the crow clans’ legends, which lay a neat foundation for the main story, but, ultimately, are not enough to make The Mob unique.

Forthcoming feature film development notwithstanding, Martini will have to take this series in some original directions in his next book if it’s to be anything other than a Silverwing imitation.