The River of Teeth was such a wild ride, but it was so worth it. I never thought my life was missing more hippos, but it was. This novella is fast paced, entertaining, and has the promises of a fantastic novella duology.
In the 1890s there was an initiative to introduce hippos into the American south as an alternative meat source – hippo ranching. This novella takes up where history left off. What if it came to be? We follow our fearless heroes as they delve into the underbelly of the beast – the crimes and dirty secrets of the hippo ranching industry in a plot, that seeks both revenge and satisfaction.
Days have passed, and I still cannot get over this novella. Of course, I loved the premise, and the fact that each of our main characters had a hippo companion was just the icing on the cake. This was like Oceans 13 meets hippo ranchers – except way more deadly, diverse, and intricate. Suffice it to say, it had everything I would love.
What struck me was how complex each character’s personality and history was in such a short amount of time. We are given a glance at each of them, and among them are a non-binary character, a deadly pregnant lady, an underrepresented body type, and a bisexual character. But apart from their identity, they have these interlocking pasts and motivations which, even in the end, we are only scratching the surface of. And each hippo has its own quirks too!
I can only compare their caper, I mean operation, to an elaborate heist storyline in the sense that we have the ‘bad guy’ and a group of nefarious characters who encounter a host of difficulties that keep challenging them to think their way out of predicaments. There is that same sense of always being on their feet and needing to work together, seamlessly, almost like an organism, to accomplish their goals.
By the end, I was so grateful I have an advance copy of the next, because you become attached to the characters and want to adventure with them. I think that’s a novella’s main accomplishment, when it can create an immersive world and fabulous characters. They can fall short because of their length, but Gailey charms us in this dangerous world where the line between monster and men is blurry to say the least.
If you could ride an animal around, what would it be? Don’t say hippo!
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