Book Review – River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey


Goodreads Synopsis:

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.


This book has been on my TBR for a while because well, who doesn’t want to read about mercenary hippo wranglers? However, I bumped it straight to the top when I saw somebody online complaining about it being “too diverse”. Now, that’s a ridiculous statement but it did let me know that the book was full of diverse characters which instantly made me way more interested in it.

The characters are brilliantly diverse which I absolutely adored as it was so refreshing. The main character, Winslow Houndstooth, is a queer non-white Englishman (his exact identity isn’t revealed but it is shown that he’s definitely not straight or white) and the rest of his crew are fantastic and equally diverse in many ways (including a black non-binary demolitions expert, a pregnant killer and a fantastic fat con-woman with a token white man to make them more respectable). It’s really hard picking a favourite character because they’re all so great although I definitely have a huge soft spot for Archie because it’s always nice seeing a fat woman represented positively.

The plot of the story revolves around a scheme to get rid of all the feral hippos from an area called The Harriet. Houndstooth has assembled a crew in order to do this and so the story follows them in their attempts to pull it off as Houndstooth method is likely not what the Government had in mind when they hired him.

I absolutely adored and devoured this book and went and got the second one straight away which I then stayed up all night reading as it’s just as brilliant as this one (I’d review it too but that would give away spoilers).

In short, this is a brilliant book with an extremely loveable cast of diverse characters and a fantastic adventure. I highly, highly recommend both it and the sequel as I can definitely see these being in my top books of 2018. They’re novellas too so both not too long and not too expensive either.


One thought on “Book Review – River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

  1. Great review! I don’t get people, what does “too diverse” even mean… Anyway I have a copy of River of Teeth but I’m afraid I might not enjoy it since it sounds like a western? I have heard so many good things about this series that I will probably end up reading it in the future but I don’t know when.


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