Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Fevre Dream" by George R.R. Martin

Sometime after I devoured all of the ASoIaF series, it became clear I needed another George R.R. Martin fix. Given my love for vampires, Fevre Dream was a no-brainer, but ended up being a lot more than I'd come to expect in a historical vampire tale.

Steamboats- something you learn about in history lessons, but come to forget as soon as you close the textbook (unless you live along the Mississippi). I've never read a book that is set almost entirely on a steamboat. I've never wanted to read a book set on a steamboat- I'm not much for boats, period. But somehow, during the course of reading this, I've come to appreciate them- steamboats and I are now on reading terms. Because George R.R. Martin can really change my mind about things like that- his writing (and worldbuilding) is so incredible.

The Plot:
Abner Marsh has lost all his steamboats but one in a freak ice accident, but he soon receives a letter from the mysterious Joshua York proposing a deal to save his steamboat business, Fevre River Packets. In exchange for a vast amount of money and an entirely new steamboat, York asks that Marsh pilot and run the new vessel, while remaining discreet about York's activities and proclivities. Marsh agrees, as long as the boat is made to his tastes, but it soon becomes apparent that the venture may cost Marsh his life.

I love the way this book portrays vampires, because they're much more human than I've read in other vampire novels- they too have emotions, ambitions, and dreams. In some books, the vampires are there simply to look sinister, or to romanticise, but this author does a little bit of both. They never seem truly human, but at the same time, they have human qualities and frailties. And they don't sparkle.

It's interesting that this story is mainly about vampires, and yet the protagonist is a human (and I believe the POVs are mostly human as well). I never thought I'd enjoy a story about an out-of-shape (and relatively old) steamboat aficionado, but again, Mr. Martin has a way with characters, and Abner Marsh is a great one.

In case you're wondering, this book's epilogue is utterly perfect. I would recommend reading it just for the epilogue, because it puts most other epilogues to shame. Not many epilogues can compete with a George R.R. Martin epilogue.

Fevre Dream is an unexpectedly worthy vampire read Mr. Martin wrote before the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I had high expectations of this book, and they were almost completely fulfilled. I recommend this to those who are searching for a different take on vampires, or want to find out how awesome 1857 steamboats can be for a book setting.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars for an exceptional yarn of vampires and steamboats!

Content: Gore, blood, and a smidgen of sexual content. Recommended for Ages 18+.

Page Count: 461 pages in my mass market paperback

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