The Mob Clem Martini

Default Smiles Some day we really will have to do a mid-week post which is just pictures of nice covers. Because this one has a nice cover again. … I… might have bought the book just because I thought the cover was cool.
Default Sharky He brought it to the counter because it was cool. We took it back home because it sounded promising.
Happy Smiles And it WAS! I told you not to doubt me!
Default Sharky He’s going to be insufferable about this for a week.
Default Smiles Now guys. I want you to imagine you’re all crows. If you want to be more specific, right now you’re the ‘Chooser’, which basically means you make the decisions. Does that sound stressful? Because it is. Not only is there a good chunk of your clan who doesn’t think you’re cut out to make the decisions, but the life of a crow is about to get very hard. Winter isn’t quite as gone as everyone thought, and now there’s a ton of squabbling crow families you have to keep together as it starts to get colder and colder.
Surprised Sharky First order of business: Find shelter. Second: Stop everyone from fighting. Third: Avoid terrifying cats. Fourth: Don’t die, oh God, don’t die we’re all going to die.
Sad Smiles 2 That… that is a very accurate summary of the problems. Yeah. The cats here are pretty creepy. But what do you expect when the main characters are traditionally cat food? If you’re looking through their eyes, cats are going to be creepy.
Happy Sharky2 There’s a couple of books on our list that really let you see the world through an animal’s eyes. And I don’t mean just having everyone be animals, but they function like humans and wear clothes and swing around weapons. Really animals. Animals with their own way of thinking and having little to no idea what these crazy humans are even doing. It’s very surreal but entertaining to look at ourselves from another point of view, especially when, as crows, the main characters have no idea what the humans are saying, so we don’t either. Add to that, you really get to immerse yourself into crow culture. How they function as a group, the tensions between families, their folktales. Yeah, crows have their own folktales. It doesn’t go into a whole lot of cultural detail but there’s enough to give you a taste of it, and really feel you’re in a whole new place without it turning into out and out fantasy.
Happy Smiles Not that animals swishing around cloaks and spinning words isn’t amazing. But it’s fantastic to see the level of creativity that goes into giving these animals a unique world without having to make them like humans. Just throw up your hands and say ‘okay cool, I guess I’m a crow now, teach me the ways of our people’.
Sassy Sharky The only time I found it hard to suspend my disbelief was when there’s a long list being recited about crows who’ve died and are being remembered. That’s a heavy moment and all, but I got really distracted by the fact that all the crows have names starting with K. You notice that from the start of the book, but seeing so many names together in a list just looks… weird. To me, anyway. I kept wondering what happens if you run out of names and still have kids to name. Do we get a situation like in ‘The Guardians’ where there’s a whole family of Williams? To the book’s credit, that was the only time I started to overthink.
Default Smiles He didn’t get much chance to. This is fairly short book, with a nice dusting of ‘how crows live’ before things shift into incredibly stressful territory and frankly sometimes brutal territory and stay like that for the rest of the plot. Personally I’d have liked to hang out with the crows in peaceful times a little while longer. But again, that might have just led to more chances to think too hard about what’s going on.
Happy Sharky Honestly I’d like to know more about the crows too.  There’re two more books in this series, and for once we’re reviewing the first one without knowing anything about the others. Haven’t been able to find them. I definitely want to, even if I do end up overthinking. There’s just something incredibly… well I won’t say fun because the crows certainly aren’t having fun in all this stress, but there’s something incredibly great about seeing the world through strange eyes.
Surprised Smiles I’m just going to say it now, books with animals as the main characters are always worth reading at least once, whether they’re animals as animals, or animals as people. What’s weird is how brutal the fighting is when the characters are animals, and the stories somehow get away with it much more than if it was people. I’m pretty sure the highest death tolls and most detailed fight scenes (or distressing deaths) in all the books we’ve talked about so far, are the ones with fluffy animals as the characters.
Happy Sharky But what’s great is that animal books always have something new to enjoy, no matter how small. And… well, animals hanging out and having arguments. That’s such a fun concept in and of itself. It definitely gets more fun when they’re more on the people end of the scale. Animals as animals is always more serious and heavy, but really amazing for exactly those reasons.
Happy Smiles What we’re trying to say is-
Happy Sharky2 Animals.
smiles-intensifies ANIMALS!


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