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 :, Tom Douherty Associates,, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765395238
0765395231
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 175 pages : map ; 21 cm

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From Library Staff

June Book: The first ever hippo western. 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... Read More »


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Katie_Dublin
Oct 24, 2020

A fun, fast-paced hippo caper.

Hillsboro_JulieB Mar 25, 2020

I loved the characters in this story. The narrator was skilled at imbuing these well-written characters with their various personalities and accents. With cool confidence in their own skills and an ease with one another (taken with a grain of a salt, don't hurt to be wary), these mercenaries gather to perform a caper - excuse me, not a caper, an OPERATION - along with their hippos. Full of surprises, this story left me wanting more of the same.

e
evanbrow
Jan 16, 2020

While the premise is fun and engaging (What if the United States had domesticated hippos?), the characters and plot felt so artificial that I never fully engaged with the story, despite how fun it felt. There are too many introductions, twists, and deaths to land with sincerity in a story so short. Maybe it would have worked better in a longer novel?

a
Arthur_of_Camelot
Jul 15, 2019

This book was so much fun! The premise might seem a little absurd, but it's surprisingly easy to believe and go along with once you get started. They're basically cowboys riding hippos instead of horses, and sometimes the hippos eat people.

SCL_Angela Mar 29, 2019

A western - with hippos! So much fun.

r
rixonkj
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.

h
hartleym66
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.

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