Published by Tor.com on May 23, 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.
Bantering Books Review
I love hippos! I do! I do! I do!
I didn’t think I would ever love hippos. They’re not cute and furry like cats. Or happy and playful like dogs. But Sarah Gailey’s alternate-history novella, River of Teeth, has forever changed the way I view these amazing, fierce, deadly — and loveable — creatures.
Set in the Louisiana marshlands, River of Teeth is built upon a relatively unknown fact regarding the history of America. Apparently way back in the day, the U.S. was facing a meat shortage and came THISCLOSE to bringing hippos to the country. The plan was to create “hippo ranches” in the great state of Louisiana and to use hippo meat as an alternative food source for Americans.
Obviously, the idea never came to fruition. (Whew!)
But Gailey takes this little piece of American trivia and runs with it . . . creating a fun, fast-paced, action-packed romp through the Louisiana bayou.
And I do mean FUN. I’m talkin’ about gun-totin’, hippo-ridin’ cowboys kind of fun. It’s so unique. I’ve yet to read anything quite like it.
My one issue, though — it’s a little “light.” There’s not much in the way of world building or historical background in the story. Albeit racially and gender diverse, the characters are not fully developed. And neither is the plot. It would’ve served the novella well, if Gailey had only taken the time to flesh the story and the characters out a bit.
You should still read River of Teeth, however. I really did like it –and I do, wholeheartedly, recommend it. In fact, you should know that I’ve already started reading the second novella in the series, Taste of Marrow. That fact alone should tell you something about how much I enjoyed River.
You should even just read it for the coolness factor alone.
I mean — come on! It’s about HIPPOS!