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.
on July 1, 2004
I love vampire novels, and I had really high hopes for Fevre Dream. Perhaps too high. I had read comments that claimed the book was equal in quality to 'salem's Lot and The Hunger, and had always held off reading Fevre Dream until I wanted a really special experience. The first big disappointment was finding out the 'vampires' were not of the supernatural kind - the truly evil, utterly damned sort - but I adjusted and hoped the plotting and narrative drive would make up for this. It didn't, and that was my second big disappointment. It was very good quite often but not brilliant. The author was aiming for an epic feel, which he occasionally achieved, and good characterisation, and here he succeeded. Abner Marsh was a grittily realistic, larger than life, yet sympathetic individual, and to a lesser degree so was Joshua York. The two evil characters were truly evil - I won't be forgetting Sour Billy Tipton and Damon Julian for awhile. Joshua's girlfriend Valerie provides the only truly terrifying moment. But it is Abner that makes the book a good one ultimately, he is the reason why the novel's epilogue is so moving. A good novel but the potential was there for a much better one. Read it on a slow winter's night to get the full effect, don't expect the earth, and perhaps you will enjoy yourself so much you'll wonder what I'm quibbling about.
on August 25, 2012
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!
"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.
on February 29, 2004
Taking place in 1857, this story is about Abner Marsh, who is owner of the Fevre River Packet Company, and once held a profitable steamboat business upon the Mississippi River. But one foul winter and a freezing river crippled his fleet and left him with nothing but his reputation as a formidable captain, and honest tradesman, and the ugliest man on the river. He is down to one lowly boat that travels only on the Illinois, and that one fading fast, when he is approached by Joshua York, a pale, enigmatic businessman who makes an offer of partnership with Abner.
York makes an offer far above what the Fevre River Packet Company is worth, but tells Abner that it is because of his desire to own and operate a real steamboat, and be captain though Abner would run the daily functions and pilot the boat. With Abner's experience and York's money, they come to an agreement to build the finest steamboat on the Mississippi, The Fevre Dream. Crewed with the best, she sets out from New Albany towards New Orleans, stopping first in St. Louis. Abner had not batted much of an eyelash when York first mentioned that he and his "guests" would be traveling up and down the river with him, his lust for owning a large, luxurious steamer that could beat The Eclipse's speed driving away the warning from York that he could be a bit...peculiar.
For York is a vampire, and is on a quest of his own. He has developed a drink that staves off the Vampire's hunger for flesh, and has a dream of turning his people away from the killing of humans. But working against him is Damon Julian, and his pack of hungry followers, who believe that the old ways are the good ways. Also with Julian is Sour Billy Tipton, their human servant who assists them in acquiring what they need and protecting them.
Little by little, things begin to unravel, and by the time Julian and Sour Billy join up with Joshua York on The Fevre Dream, Abner has come to realize his dream of running the biggest and fastest steamer on the Mississippi was nothing more than a dream, and that his desires had blinded him to the reality of York's mission.
This is a unique vampire story, appropriate for both vampire purists and vampire modernists; actually staging a battle between the two factions. Should vampires want to mingle amongst the human population, or should they retain their status as feeders and monsters? By taking this approach and placing it in the 1850's South amid the lively steamboat trade up and down the Mississippi River, Martin has created a creepy and exceptional tale of languid horror in a lush backdrop. This is a not to be missed novel whether you love vampire books or creepy southern tales. Highly recommended. Enjoy!
on February 7, 2004
Martin is my favorite author, but Fevre Dream wasn't really up my alley. I figured that since I loved Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, a similar novel by George would have to be at least as good. Maybe I just had my hopes up too high for this one. It was still decent, but I couldn't help but feel that Interview just had it outclassed on so many levels.
My main problem with this book, was the same problem I had with Dying of the Light... the pacing. It was just very slow. Maybe I'm just a shallow reader who needs more action in his literature. The Song of Ice and Fire novels, Tuf Voyaging, Armageddon Rag, and almost all of his short stories were simply outstanding, so I'm having a little trouble putting my finger on any other reasons why I didn't like this book.
However, as you can tell by its rating, it certainly has it's fans here, so I'll end off just by saying that if you didn't care for Dying of the Light, you probably won't care for this one either, and visa versa. Its out of print in the US, so just get it from the library if you must read it, then buy it only if you liked it.
on June 26, 2004
I normally hate vampire books... because they're more romance novels than fictional adventures. And the only reason i picked up this book, is because i've been absolutely hooked on GRR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. But i have to say, this book is absolutely amazing. I thought the only reason why Martin was able to recreate medieval life so accurately and amazingly in Song of Ice and Fire was because he must have been a medieval buff or expert... and maybe he is, but that means he must also be a Mississipi steamboat expert as well, because his writing is almost like he lived the time. Heck, i think i would have given this book 5 stars even if it wasn't about vampires and lacked any plot, and it was simply a diary or recounts of somebody from that time.
I won't spoil the book, but if you truly want to be transported to another time, this book is definitely for you.
on August 5, 2012
I have to say that while this isn't the BEST vampire novel I have ever read and it is NOT AT ALL up to par with George RR Martin's other books.... it is still a decent book. Well thought out, good characters, well written, etc. I would have given it a 4 had it not been for the slow and predictable storyline.
So while it was not the best out there is definately was not the worst I have ever read in this genre and definately worth reading once, if you don't mind slow stories and knowing where they go before they actually get there that is ;).
on August 20, 2014
Loved this book! It was so interesting. When I describe this book to my friends they look at me like I'm crazy... it's vampires on a steam boat in the 1800's, yet it is so amazing how it all comes together, it doesn't even feel like I'm reading a vampire novel. I feel like it's about another race of people who are facing a genocide. The characters are so real, however I found the dichotomy between good and evil a bit too themed given some of GRRM's other books. Still, though, amazing! Worth the time and money.
on February 26, 2014
The Song of Ice and Fire is a fabulous series and I wanted to try something else from GRRM... I was a bit disappointed.