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American Hippo

(River of Teeth #1-2)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  616 ratings  ·  146 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 United States government introducevolume.


Paperback, 301 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  616 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Spencer Orey
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 the
Joseph Spuckler
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction

American Hippo presents an entertaining adventure of an alternative US where the lower Mississippi River has been blocked off in a plan to raise hippos for meat. As strange as this sounds, it almost really happened in the early 20th century. What evolves is a story of revenge, with some very colorful characters who travel on hippos. Its a western with a twist. There are the good guys, who aren't necessarily all that good. The bad guy runs casinos on the river and feeds the rowdy and cheaters to
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 line
NAT.orious reads ☽
Aug 13, 2019 marked it as to-read
ok, excuse me but how (hoooow) could anybody possibly resist something with a hippo on the cover? Damn right, not at all.
Kristen Burns
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 insulte/>
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 immedi
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 recognizes and greets her visiting original ca
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 and th/>River
Rod Hemingway
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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?
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reread of River of Teeth and first time reading the other stories.
Feral hippos, hippo wranglers, and a grand caper... Ehm.. Operation.

Totally awesome!
Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You
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
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.
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, fantasy
River of Teeth: 3.75
Taste of Marrow: 3.75
Worth Her Weight in Gold : 3.00
Nine and a half: 3.25
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
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.
Judy Lesley
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 jus
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matthew Marchitto
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely awesome. The two novellas in this collections, River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, come together to make an amazing book. Filled with bloody violence, heartache, desperation, and hippos, all taking place in the swampy American south. It's a fascinating twist on western themes, and the switch from cowboys to hoppers is well realized. And man, I loved those hippos.

The two short stories, Worth Her Weight in Gold and Nine and a half, flesh out Houndstooth and his relationship with his hippo, and o
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed River of Teeth, thought it was a cool idea, but it didn't just light me on fire. That being said, I never got around to the second novella.

I found this collection and I have changed my views on the story. I much more enjoyed the story told "as a whole piece" and I would gladly return to the world Ms. Gailey created now. The misgivings I had I mostly got over.

This is a viseral violent ride and a lot of fun for some summer reading. check it out.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tor
The premise of these novellas is very interesting and clever - mixing the old west culture and hippos. The first novella was a bit confusing. I couldn't keep the characters straight, except Hero. The second story was better. The characters became individuals and more real. I enjoyed the personalities of the saddle hippos.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful take on a cowboy-style western but set in the bayous and the Mississippi River in Louisiana. Imagine Louis L’Amour with gender-fluid characters and hippos instead of cattle and horses. I loved these stories and the characters that inhabit them.
Searska GreyRaven
I got both of the novellas when they came out, but having them (plus two awesome short stories) in one convenient book was too good to pass up. Just as awesome on a second reading as the first. ^_^
Judy  Monchuk
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
American Hippo is colourful and fast-paced. It's graphic and violent, with snappy dialogue and truly non-traditional characters. To be honest, I often felt like I was reading a TV script.

I was intrigued by the alternate history set up: an America where "hippos rule the colossal swamp that was once the Mississippi River." An intro notes that in the early 20th century, lawmakers came up with an unusual plan to deal with a meat shortage: import hippos that would eat the invasive water hyacinth fou
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There's nothing about this I didn't like. Gailey's writing is engaging and expressive and she can maintain an action movie-like pace with an ease that seems effortless. Her characters are brilliant, and her establishment and maintenance of them - a hugely pregnant deadly assassin, a genderless explosives expert, a cross-dressing con artist and numerous hippos, each with personalities of their own - defies tropes of all types. Of all the Americas-that-never-was (yes, I know) this one ranks right ...more
Get Booked Fans
Episode 129:
4. Hey Ladies,
Thanks for the show; I’m hoping that you can help me! I’m very interested in reading some Westerns because I live in the South-West, but have yet to find anything that works for me.
A lot of the Westerns I’ve encountered seem to be written for and by old white men, and usually involve sexual violence towards women and a vaguely racist protagonist- both things that I would like to avoid.
Do smart, diverse Westerns exist?
So far I have found th
Josephine Quealy
It’s a hippo western set in an alternative 19th century USA. Cowboys riding hippos! What’s not to love?! Get amongst it!
Dang! What a fun read. Gailey did a lot of stuff here that I wouldn't expect to work, but it does, and in such an entertaining way. The two short stories at the end were great, too.
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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)
“The odds in this situation were decidedly not in their favor. They weren’t a fighter. They did poisons and explosives, the weapons of a thinking person.” 0 likes
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