Top positive review
VAMPIRES ON STEAMBOATS
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2017
Fevre Dream is a very early George R.R. Martin affair. It’s about vampires on steamboats. I have no idea why anyone else would need further description. I assume everyone would want to read it immediately after hearing that. Antebellum vampires! On steamboats. They are on ‘em. I mean.
It’s a very thrilling and very brutal story and I enjoyed every page of it. A curious mix between Interview with the Vampire and I Am Legend.
It’s funny, I’ve never really considered GRRM to be one of my favorite writers, but reading this one made me realize how much I do admire him as one. This book was released in the early eighties, and so it’s writing is not quite up to par with his Song of Ice and Fire opus, but you very much see him already getting there. It’s such a well-crafted, clever book. It made me appreciate Martin, the writer, a lot more.
A bit of warning, though: Like I mentioned before, this book is set during the Plantation Era, and obviously slavery and racism weave their way through the book in major ways. The dialogue is chock-full of the pejorative language and racial slurs of the times, as well as some brief but brutal depictions of abuse against black people. In fact, my main criticism of the book consists of this: GRRM could have certainly reeled these aspects back great deal more. (He does kind of attempt this, near the end, by having one of the main human characters, who is introduced as being ideologically opposed to slavery but doesn’t really do anything about it, help the Underground Railroad for a time. But this consists of literally one sentence and seems so tacked on that it is almost laughable if it wasn’t so sad.)
Still though. If you have the patience and willingness to stomach these rather tired tropes, you will fine a hell of a story. I don’t like to use the term “ripping yarn,” because I don’t live in a Sherlock Holmes mystery, but this is the kind of story that warrants it.