At times, this book Fevre Dream became a “fevre read” – by which I mean that I had trouble putting it back down once I had picked it up. This is essentially a vampire story, but there’s much more going on here than just vampires sucking the blood out of humans. Not that there isn’t some of that, too. The book could be a bit gory at times, but I didn't feel like it was a scary book.
The story is set around the 1850’s and the majority of it is told from the third-person perspective of Abner Marsh, the owner of a steamboat company. His company has suffered some major setbacks due to various catastrophes, and his business is struggling. At the very beginning of this book, Abner meets Joshua York who makes him a business offer he can’t refuse. Abner and Joshua will become business partners, Joshua will provide the funds for Abner to build the steamboat of his dreams, and Abner will teach Joshua how to captain a steamboat. Furthermore, Abner must agree to tolerate Joshua’s odd habits without asking questions.
I don’t want to say much more about the story because it would spoil the fun of discovery for anybody who chooses to read it for themselves. The few details I’ve provided are accurate, but the story may not take the direction you would expect based on what I’ve said. The story ended up being a little deeper and more interesting than I had expected it to be when I first started it. We don’t get to know too many of the characters very intimately, but all of the characters felt real and I became very invested in a couple of them. I also liked some of the parallels that were drawn between the way whites treated blacks in this era and the way vampires treated humans.
I think my biggest complaint regarding the story would be the thirteen-year gap that took place around the 80% mark. We’re told the highlights of what happened during that gap, but I always feel a little bit cheated when a story is roaring along and then it suddenly skips ahead several years. It was during this gap that one of the characters became kind of a tragic figure in my eyes, and perhaps that was the point. I would have liked to have seen things turn out differently for him, but I still enjoyed the story and the epilogue made me cry.
Aside from the first book, I haven’t read Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series yet -- I’m waiting for him to finish it first, since I prefer to read a series all at once. In the meantime, maybe I’ll have to seek out some of his other non-series work.