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Fevre Dream
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Reason for Reading: I received a review copy in the mail and while I hadn't requested it; it was a gorgeous looking book and I'm always up for a good vampire story.

I have not read the original novel which this graphic has been adapted from nor have I actually read anything by the author, George R.R. Martin, so this was new territory for me. A unique story set in 1857 along the Mississippi River during the heyday of the huge passenger steamboats. A down-on-his-luck, though widely respected captain, is met by a stranger who offers him a deal he cannot pass up. The man will give him the money to build the finest ship on the river, in exchange the man and a few of his friends will live on board and though they may be odd and will keep strange hours Captain Marsh is not to question them and while he will not interfere with the running of the boat he will occasionally give orders to dock and again he is not to be questioned. Captain Marsh agrees. Little does he know what he has got himself into!

This is a great vampire story. We have one small group of "good" vampires whose leader has managed to find a cure for the "red thirst", thus allowing them to live decent lives by night. There is also a much larger group which revels in its killing and slaughter, wanting to take over the world, keeping humans as their cattle. When the two groups find each other, it is a long fight between the Alpha's of each group with Captain Marsh caught in the middle.

I found this to be a page turner. Captain Marsh is an intriguing character, one who values honesty and loyalty. The art is beautiful, dark and even sensuous at times. This book is very much 18+ though, there are incredibly violent and gory scenes aplenty, along with full frontal female nudity, and some simply disturbing scenes, language oddly enough though, is mild. A fun, creepy horror story.
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Steamboats and vampires. . . I have to admit that I've always been intrigued by George R. R. Martin's Fevre Dream. So when Bantam Books released a new mass market edition of GRRM's early novel, I decided that it was time to give this work a shot. And I'm sure glad I did, for Fevre Dream is an original and engrossing read!

Here's the blurb:

Abner Marsh, a struggling riverboat captain, suspects that something’s amiss when he is approached by a wealthy aristocrat with a lucrative offer. The hauntingly pale, steely-eyed Joshua York doesn’t care that the icy winter of 1857 has wiped out all but one of Marsh’s dilapidated fleet; nor does he care that he won’t earn back his investment in a decade. York’s reasons for traversing the powerful Mississippi are to be none of Marsh’s concern—no matter how bizarre, arbitrary, or capricious York’s actions may prove. Not until the maiden voyage of Fevre Dream does Marsh realize that he has joined a mission both more sinister, and perhaps more noble, than his most fantastic nightmare—and humankind’s most impossible dream.

As always, Martin excels at creating a genuine and realistic setting. His vivid prose brings the reader back to the Mississippi river runs of the 1800s. The narrative is filled with a wealth of historical details from that period, and the author's love for steamboats adds another dimension to the tale. Inventive, Fevre Dream also offers an explanation regarding vampirism that sets this work apart from all the other vampire novels on the market. All of this put together makes for interesting and original worldbuilding. Indeed, in terms of style, Fevre Dream is quite unique.

As is usually his wont, GRRM's characterization is "top notch" and he created another cast of fascinating protagonists. Most of the POV sections are split between chapters in which we witness events taking place through the eyes of Abner Marsh and the despicable Sour Billy Tipton. Although these two characters are far from likeable, both men grow on you as the story progresses. Understandably, the mysterious Joshua York and Damon Julian are the most captivating protagonists of this book. It will come as no surprise that GRRM has a few surprises up his sleeve. Indeed, the author's different take on vampirism allows him to keep readers on their toes.

The pace is fluid throughout, which makes Fevre Dream a page-turner. George R. R. Martin sure knows how to capture your imagination and suck you into a tale, and Fevre Dream is no different in that regard. The more you read, the more you want to know what happens next. Choosing that particular historical period as a backdrop for the story gives Fevre Dream its unique flavor. Add to that a few chilling and disturbing scenes, as well as superior characterization, and you have something special.

I know that most fans would prefer to get their hands on The Winds of Winter instead of this or any other work by George R. R. Martin. Still, Fevre Dream is a fresh and imaginative read that showcases the length and breadth of the author's talent. It has aged rather well, and at no time does it feel that you are reading a novel that was initially published thirty years ago.

If, like me, the premise has piqued your curiosity, do give GRRM's Fevre Dream a shot. You won't be disappointed!

Check out Pat's Fantasy Hotlist!
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"Fevre Dream" is one of those brilliant genre novels that slipped between the cracks for many years, only to flower again when the vampire craze did. George R.R. Martin wove his own unique vampire mythos, and mixed it in with Southern grittiness, some shocking gore, and a grizzled ugly old man who may be the vampires' salvation.

Steamboat captain Abner Marsh has become business partners with the gentlemanly Joshua York, who pays for the construction of the ultimate steamboat. But strange deaths along the Mississippi lead Abner to suspect that something isn't quite kosher with Joshua, until Joshua reveals the truth about himself -- he and his friends are vampires, who are working to free his race from their bloodlust.

However, the evil bloodmaster Damon Julian wants to keep the vampires as-is, since it allows him greater power over his brethren. He's even got a Gollumesque human serving him before long. Abner's attempts to help his friend lead to disaster, and it will be many years before the two friends have a chance at killing Damon again...

Martin is one of the few authors who actually bothers to come up with an origin story for his vampires, rather than just having these pale bloodsucking people be... there. Without revealing too much, he weaves a haunting explanation for the biological, spiritual and cultural differences between humans and vampires, and sets them up as a brother race to homo sapiens (instead of undead corpses). It's awesome.

Martin's writing is gritty, dark and sometimes grotesque (a vampire using a BABY as food), and even at the best of times he fills it with the grimy atmosphere of a working-class man living on the Mississippi. The only real problem is the timeskip, which jolts us several years into the future and is kind of disorienting, but that's a relatively small problem.

And the entire plot revolves around two very powerful characters, who share a powerful friendship based on trust and a desire to help the vampire species. Joshua is the usual charming gentlemanly vampire, but he's elevated by his powerful desire to save his species from their enslavement to bloodlust and/or Damon Julian. And Abner is a totally unstereotypical vampire-novel character -- he is ugly, a grizzled military man, and even as a sick old man he kicks butt.

"Fevre Dream" is a visceral, gritty vampire novel that takes the time to explore the bloodsuckers' past, and comes up with a pretty brilliant plot in the present as well. A must-read for vampire fans who like it bloody and dark.
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