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American Hippo

(River of Teeth #1-2)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,190 ratings  ·  264 reviews

In 2017 Sarah Gailey made their debut with River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, two action-packed novellas that introduced readers to an alternate America in which hippos rule the colossal swamp that was once the Mississippi River. Now readers have the chance to own both novellas in American Hippo, a single, beautiful volume.

Years ago, in an America that never was, the Unit

Kindle Edition, 301 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,190 ratings  ·  264 reviews

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Spencer Orey
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two short hippo cowboy novellas. There were hippo cowboys. It was awesome.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I kept hearing about the first novella in this collection, River of Teeth, last year but just finally got to it in this grouping.

The backbone of these two novellas and two short stories ("Winslow's Problem" and "Nine and a Half") is an idea that never happened, but almost happened in the United States - hippopotamus ranching. It was originally proposed to Congress as a solution for meat production and to also cut down on the water hyacinth that was clogging waterways. It sounds crazy, but that's
Dannii Elle
American Hippo combines together the two novellas in the River of Teeth series, River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow.

River of Teeth started with the very implausible concept of hippos roaming the Louisiana marshland. Despite the apparent impossibility of this image, the basis for this notion came direct from reality and was once a proposed strategy to dually provide a protein source for those living in the vicinity as well as the hippos themselves aiding in clearing the weeds that lined the waterw
NAT.orious reads ☾
ok, excuse me but how (hoooow) could anybody possibly resist something with a hippo on the cover? Damn right, not at all.
Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)
4 Stars

*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

You know how some books constantly tell you how awful a character is, and said character constantly broods about how awful they are, but then the character never actually does anything awful?

American Hippo is not that book.

Within the first chapter, our protagonist, Winslow, slit a man's nostrils and put a knife through his eye without hesitation when the man insulted his hippo and then tried to atta
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, alt-history
This book (consisting of two novellas and some short stories, all set in the same world) had an incredibly cool premise that I thought it failed to deliver on. Did you know the American government once seriously proposed the idea of importing hippos from Africa to the Louisiana river basin and farming them on ranches? I certainly didn't, but this book is set in a world where that happened and the protagonists are 19th-century hippo riders and ranchers. Kind of like a cowboy story, but in the swa ...more
American Hippo is a bindup of the two novellas (River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow) plus two new short stories set in the same world, and I loved all of it! This is a rolicking adventure with a cast of characters as oddball as they are diverse, and it was a whole lot of fun.

Apparently, at some point in (actual) American history, there was a proposal to solve a meat crisis by introducing hippos to the Louisiana marshes and raise them for meat. Now, this was a terrible idea for a lot of reasons a
lucky little cat
Rampaging feral hippos in the old West & on the Mississippi.
How can you resist?

Newborn hipster Fiona at the Cincinnati Zoo, what a cutie

Whoakay, I finally got around to reading the alt-history American Hippo duo and it's a hoot. We get

💠A smart, fast-moving, engrossing plot involving a team of hippo-wranglin', cowboy-hat-wearin' outlaw heroes who regularly swap dead-accurate ironic wisecracks. And who are justifiably proud of their clever hippo steeds.

Adult Fiona rec
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
7.5/10, round up to 4/5 stars.

American Hippo is a collection of two novellas and two vignettes telling tales of a...hippo cowboy, Houndstooth and his crew/acquaintances/colleagues. It's more a disparate bunch of people who tenuously know each other through rumour, and yes sometimes old relationships. The first novella starts us out with Houndstooth rounding up his crew for a caper, nay, operation, in which they divest the swamp land of Mississippi of their hippo problem. Which immediately goes t
Cupcakes & Machetes
I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

River of Teeth
Imagine 1800s America, where instead of horses, cowboys and outlaws rode hippos. Oh yes, sweet gentle fiends, hippopotami. The most dangerous creature in Africa is intentionally brought to the United States as an alternative meat source during a meat shortage. But Americans always take things one step further, and now they’re also used as mounts. Of course, someone always has to fuck something up
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Within two pages, two adult gentlemen were discretely hooking up; within 20 we'd met a non-binary character who, over the course of the book (originally two novellas) isn't once misgendered. Oh, and there are also hippos EVERYWHERE. I mean, how could it get anything less that five stars? ...more
Rod Hemingway
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A weird, but enjoyable book. It has quirky characters including a French lady, a guy who is the best hippo breeder in the West, a Hispanic assassin, and a gender neutral explosives expert. It is all set in an alternate timeline where an (actually) proposed hippo importation idea happened in order to ease the meat shortage in the US. An entertaining read. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Feb 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Came for the hippos. Stayed for the queers. Quit after the first novella because of the violence. Nevertheless, a very fun time.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reread of River of Teeth and first time reading the other stories.
Feral hippos, hippo wranglers, and a grand caper... Ehm.. Operation.

Totally awesome!
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
seems readers get a hootenanny of a good time from these hippo tales or they'd rather they weren't ever written... i am a huge fan of them, and i am not entirely sure why... they're just lots of fun i guess.. yes, there are weak points to the 2 novellas for some, and i won't argue them, but the idea is so fascinating what's to complain about... the writing is fresh and romp-y and smartassed and cheeky and rollicking... there surely needs to be more hippo going on, more how-hippos-got-here histor ...more
Neil Plakcy
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Quite an odd story. Even though it's the first book, I felt like I was plopped in the middle and there were confusing things about the characters and the situation. I plowed through because I was interested in the world and the ideas, but ultimately wasn't very satisfied. ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
River of Teeth: 3.75
Taste of Marrow: 3.75
Worth Her Weight in Gold : 3.00
Nine and a half: 3.25
Dec 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I was a fair way into this before I realized this is the same author as Magic for Liars which I wasn't really taken with. I like this better, though like most reviewers that is more about the crazy it-almost-happened setting.

This really happened: in 1910 the US was suffering a meat shortage. The traditional cowboy-era style of range grazing cattle had overgrazed the entire US. A huge new wave of immigration was hitting the US. One crazy Congressman put forth the idea: the US Congress should pony
Books That Burn
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
American Hippo is a fun and bloody duology of heists and rescues while riding hippos in an alternate version of the 19th century USA. I love the full story as collected in this book. Anyone who has already read River of Teeth could read the short stories at any point since they’re prequels, but they would lack context without having read the first novella so they’re well-placed at the end of the book. The two novellas really are two halves of a whole and I’d recommend this to anyone interested i ...more
A lightweight travel read about a gang of fearless hippo-riding heroes wrapped up in hijinks involving land, money, casinos, and babies in an alternate timeline of the American South where most of Louisiana is given over to swamps and feral hippos. The historical fact behind the stories—that the US once almost started a sideline in importing hippos as meat animals in the 19th century—is almost as great as the stories themselves. Lots of queer and POC characters, and the first time I’ve read a bo ...more
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021, 4-stars
I just cannot with this. A western that takes place in an alternate America with hippos in the Mississippi? And a main character who is the hippo-equivalent of a cowboy? And a caper featuring a crew of diverse, bad ass weirdos with nefarious skills and deadly secrets?

I needed very little convincing.

And, from the moment I began reading, I also started telling everyone I know about this. It's just too unique and wild a concept not to share. (So far, I've successfully convinced three people to star
Well this is a delightful, bloody, romp! I'm shocked that this isn't more popular. It's made up of two novellas and two (very) short stories so it's a very quick read. Novellas can feel underdeveloped, but these absolutely don't. Gailey is brilliant at capturing character in just a page so that you feel that you know the cast instantly and the world is in the vein of a western, just...with hippos (who are themselves tremendous characters). If that wasn't enough, the action is non-stop with twist ...more
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on real life ideas to introduce hippos to the US, this alternate history is a queer Western --- but with hippos.

It was all kinda over the top, overly dramatic, but also funny and action-packed. I also rooted for the very diverse characters, especially non-binary Hero. I also loved the hippos.

Entertaining, a bit weird, like a Western but queer and with Hippos. I like.

4 stars
Ashley (Tiny Navajo Reads)
American Hippo is one of the best novella sets I have read. It takes us back to a time when the possibility of having hippos in the great Mississippi River as a way to combat an invasive plant species as well as provide another source of industry to the United States. An interesting time when hippos could have swam the Mississippi.
Matthew Buletti
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
With such rich characters and a gift for writing dialogue, as well as dialect, Gailey has issued a tale for the ages. If you love complicated protagonists and plot twists that snap your neck, this is the book for you. Humor is the foundation of a good novel, and this one has it in spades.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is so delightfully ridiculous. Hippo riding cowboys.
This collection blew past all of my highest expectations. You might not know it yet, but I promise you need these alt-history stories of hippo cowboys in your life.

Full review to come.
Take the Old West, replace the horses with hippos and make it hella queer. Yes? Yes! These stories are so much fun and this is probably the first book I've read that goes out of its way to do nonbinary characters right. ...more
Judy Lesley
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillian-Tor/Forge for a digital galley of this collection.

This is a collection of two novellas by Sarah Gailey, River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow. If you read the novellas when they were released you will find the only new items here are two very short stories using the same characters from the novellas. First is Winslow's Problem where Winslow Remington Houndstooth has just committed a robbery and needs to make a getaway on his hippo, Ruby, but she just won't get
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa
What if the US had decided to import thousands of hippos in the 1850s to feed a growing population, and basically turned the Mississippi into one big hippo-friendly marshland? (As indeed they almost did, albeit 50 years later.)

What if the Cowboy was replaced by the Hopper - a hippopotamusboy, with wellingtons instead of cowboy boots?

And what if a ragtag bunch of pansexual misfit conmen and assassins found themselves caught up in the inevitable power struggle over just who makes money off this,
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Other books in the series

River of Teeth (2 books)
  • River of Teeth (River of Teeth, #1)
  • Taste of Marrow (River of Teeth, #2)

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