Thursday, May 11, 2017

#Fantasy Review: River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

River of Teeth is is a fantasy that's a bit odd, but in a very, very good way. What Sarah Gailey has crafted here has all the hallmarks of a vintage Western, but one where everything is just . . . well, a little bit off.

In a slightly different American of the early 20th century, a group of rustlers and rogues set out to orchestrate the biggest cattle rustling gig in history - except these cattle are man-eating hippos, and the cowboys are hardly your typical Western heroes.

One of them is a flamboyant Englishman; one of them is a retired demolitions expert of indeterminate gender; one is a sweet-spoken BBW thief; and one is a very pregnant assassin. Only one fits the stereotypical mold, a hard-drinking cheat of a gambler, and as the gang's only white man . . . well, he doesn't stick around for long.

The story is a heck of a lot of fun, swapping Western deserts for Louisiana swaps, cattle and horses for hippos, and dusty little towns for elaborate riverboats. The dialogue is witty and fun, the narration perfectly pulpish, and the action intense. There's even a bit of shark-like drama, with feral hippos lurking just beneath the surface, ready to rip men apart and devour them for dinner.

I would be tempted to describe it as an Oceans 11 style Western caper except, as Winslow constantly reminds us, “it’s not a caper; it’s an operation.” What River of Teeth is, it's safe to say, is a diverse bit of alternate history fun, complete with some monstrous mayhem, and even some satisfying explosions.

Paperback, 152 pages
Expected publication: May 23rd 2017 by Tor.com

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

5 comments:

  1. I enjoyed it. Then proceeded to Google the real life proposal that gave the story its spark and found that interesting as well.

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  2. I hope to read this over the weekend, it sounds original and lots of fun. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. I have plans to sneak this one in in between a couple of heavier reads this month. Looks like a fun little excursion to enjoy on the side, and I do love the sound of those satisfying explosions.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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  4. I love the cover and the plot is certainly different. I haven't quite decided on whether to read it or not yet. If there are plenty hippo attacks I might be tempted...

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  5. This one sure looks and sounds fun. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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