Lisa Wolf's Reviews > Fevre Dream

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
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's review
Apr 18, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: couldn-t-put-it-down, historical-fiction, vampires
Read from June 15 to 19, 2012

In case anyone had any doubt, George R. R. Martin is amazing. This is the first non-Westeros book of his that I've read. Suffice it to say, the man has talent.

Written in the early 80s, Fevre Dream is as much historical fiction as it is horror. I loved the atmosphere of this book. Martin lovingly details the world of riverboatmen and their steamboats. With the main action occurring in 1857, Fevre Dream paints a gorgeous picture of an historical time full of adventure, competition, beauty, and corruption. Woven into the main suspense and action of the story is the flavor of the southern towns along the Mississippi, the ugliness of the slave states, and the looming threat of war. Not only that, but Fevre Dream captures the rise and fall of a particular time in the evolution of technology, the heyday of the riverboats and their eventual passing into history.

Main character Abner Marsh is one hell of a captain, a huge ugly man who loves nothing more than a fast, beautiful side-wheeler on the river. When the enigmatic Joshua York offers Abner the opportunity to build and command the boat of his dreams, at the price of asking no questions and obeying his dictates, it's too sweet a deal to pass up, and a powerful partnership is formed.

Of course, if you read the blurbs, you'll know that this is a vampire story, but Martin plays all sorts of games with vampire mythology. The vampires here are not what you might expect, and the rules are quite different than in a more traditional vampire tale. In some weird ways, I was reminded of Octavia Butler's Fledgling, although the books are more different than alike.

Fevre Dream is full of memorable characters, from the despicable Sour Billy Tipton to tough Hairy Mike. George Martin excels at making his characters, no matter how minor, come alive.

I enjoyed Fevre Dream, start to finish, and recommend it highly.
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