River of Teeth

River of Teeth

Book - 2017
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In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true. Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two. This was a terrible plan. Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.
Publisher: New York, NY : Tor, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780765395238
Characteristics: 175 pages : illustration ; 21 cm


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LPL_KimberlyL Jan 13, 2018

A ruthlessly fun novella with a diverse cast of characters, and an original premise that is actually based on historical fact. Did you know the United States government at one point thought about importing hippos to raise in the marshlands of Louisiana to use as meat?!!! This book is Sarah Gailey... Read More »

175 pages. An adventurous alternate history of 1890's America where feral hippos run wild in the marshlands of Louisiana, this novella features a diverse cast of characters.

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Sep 29, 2018

This alternate history isn't written for the historian but rather for the fan of pulp Westerns who'd rather not deal with the casual racism and sexism of the classic pulps. As a novella, it's about the length of a classic Louis L'Amour paperback, and although it has a lot of the upsides of a Western--duels in gambling halls, telegrams from lone federal agents, double crosses and revenge plotted over decades, broken hearts and whiskey and trusty steads with names like Betsy--weirdly enough, I found myself wishing for more description of atmospheric landscapes. That's just one small gripe, though, and not enough to keep me from saying that I quite like this book!

OPL_AutumnH Apr 08, 2018

How can you not pick up an alternate history hippo western? Especially when it's a shorter novella. I loved that the main cast of characters was so LGBTQ diverse (including a gender neutral character who uses they pronouns). The plot felt secondary to me, but it was worth reading for the hippos and the characters.

Apr 06, 2018

Not suitable for children or young adults

JessicaGma Feb 26, 2018

Hippos, a caper (operation) and an awesome cast of characters - this is a brilliant little novella worth picking up. Much like the Sin du Jour series, this has great promise, and is a heck of a lot of fun!

alburke47 Feb 22, 2018

I decided to read this book thinking it would be fun. Cowboys and Hippos? What could possibly go wrong? Famous last words...

Happily though, the author nailed it, crafting a funny and exciting tale about a team of cons executing a caper, no hang on, an operation (in-joke) to blow up a gate to force a mass of feral hippos to migrate into the southern US. Seriously.

The story is short, but rattles along at a rapid pace (like a charging hippo). The characters are likable (or booable), ringing true to the "Old West" era and the plot has some nice twists and turns to keep you on your toes. It's a real page turner, the kind of "one more chapter" book that deprives you of sleep, makes you miss your stop or late for an appointment. It also makes me want to ride a hippo.

Definitely somewhere in the 4-5 star region, and worth a read if you're in the mood for something different. Oh, and make sure you read the timeline at the end.

Jan 19, 2018

The wild west has moved to the South in this alternative history where escaped hippopotami have claimed parts of the Mississippi and they are deadly to say the least. Called to the scene by the U.S. government on a secret mission to be hippopotami wranglers are a rag tag bunch of outlaws, thieves, assassins and explosive experts. Suspend all disbelief and enjoy the ride of this fast paced tall tale where you are never sure who is really working together and who might have some alternative motives.

SCL_Justin Jan 18, 2018

River of Teeth is kind of an alternative Western featuring swamps instead of lonely plains and hippos instead of horses. It's a novella so it isn't much of an investment in time, and for that investment you get a pretty fun caper. It has a bit of an Ocean's Eleven vibe to it as the team is assembled, the clever plan is executed and then everything goes wrong. It's fun but slight. I'll read the sequel.

LPL_KimberlyL Jan 13, 2018

A ruthlessly fun novella with a diverse cast of characters, and an original premise that is actually based on historical fact. Did you know the United States government at one point thought about importing hippos to raise in the marshlands of Louisiana to use as meat?!!! This book is Sarah Gailey's wildly imaginative take on an alternative wild west where feral hippos terrorize the Mississippi.

(For confused readers, the usage of "they" in the book is a gender-neutral pronoun for a character who identifies as neither male, nor female.)

AnnabelleLee27 Dec 20, 2017

An original and rolicking alternative history/adventure mash-up with a definite Western flair set in 1890's Louisiana based on a real (but never realized) idea to import hippos for ranching to the Mississippi. The cast is diverse & intriguing - I especially liked the character Hero (presented without specifying gender & by using the singular they pronoun) and their developing relationship with the British-Korean cowboy Winslow. Although this book is the 1st in a series, it ends far too abruptly leaving the reader unsatisfied and frustrated. I would have loved for the author to take more time to develope and explore all the characters (including the stereotypically one dimensional villian) and the atmospheric setting. Still, this is an unexpected, fun, and quick read!

BostonPL_LauraB Nov 29, 2017

Novellas are hard to rate for me because they never seem fleshed out enough, and this was true for this novella. As bonkers as the idea is (and that it stems from an actual bit of history that almost happened), I was excited to see where it went, but I think I wanted a lot more backstory on the "world" and the characters and didn't get much. If I read the second novella, that might help, but this one didn't leave me with the urge to pick up the next one.

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