Fevre Dream: brief personal opinion
Like most people, I'm glad to have few authors that I know (or at least, I like to think I know) whatever I read by them I'll enjoy it, and Martin is one of those authors. After reading A song of Ice and Fire and Dying of the Light (both in
Light (both in spanish), I was looking forward to get Fevre Dream translated in a way which wouldn't scare people, but as it seemed to take an eternity, finally I tired and decided to get it in English. And thanks Gods I got it that way! For the steamboat old English slang&dialect is almost priceless.
For now, I'm not gonna explain the plot of it (for that's something anyone can easily get in a hundred websites) but the impression it caused to me.
The book itself chases the spirit of steamboating's kingdom, and despite the fact that one could not be used to river-life argot, that doesn't suppose any obstacles for a good development. From my point of view, that's one of the strengths of this novel: Martin creates such an atmosphere that people who, like me, dislike everything that has to do with aeronautic machinery and sea life ends the book loving ithem. I ended up just fascinated by the magnificence of Mississipi back at 1870's and its charming decadence which Martin recreates in such a splendid way.
The characters are also valuable things: from Abner Marsh, who everybody ends falling in love with despite any bad thing Martin says of him, to Joshua York, an odd vampire, one of a kind.
Moreover, Marsh is a godforsaken man who has had the misfortune to have all his business broken, but still chases his big dream: to own a steamboat such big and fast that can beat Eclipse boat (Mississipi's pearl great part of the book), and throughout all the misfortune that's still awaiting for him in the novel, he never loose the will to have Fevre Dream on his own and accomplish his dream. His strength and mankind which is revealed along the book makes Abner Marsh one of the most likeable characters, leaving a strong impression on the reader.
York needs his own explanation: he seemed to me a very ambiguous character from the start, maybe it's just me but almost first half book I was doubting whether he was the vampire that reviews told us we would find in Fevre Dream or not. He has a purpouse, a dream, as Marsh has his own, and he will do whatever is on his hands to accomplish that. Against York, I can only say that due to what literature has always tought about vampires, York sometimes seems too naïve, too good to be a vampire, and makes you wanna slap him and tell him to react. But he's also a likeable character, although I wouldn't have disliked a little bit more explanation of his childhood or youth, and that's for sure because I enjoyed a lot the reading.
The other characters are special themselves too, and except the very secundary ones, each and every single one has something which leaves a mark on you, chiefly Demon Julian, who embodies the darkest side of vampires, the beast itself, who even has escaped the thirst. I would have liked (as it happens with with York) a little bit more explanation about his early years, that story about being the best friend of a rich man's son and how he made this last one fall in love with him. Had it been longer, it would have told a lot about Julian nature.
And the last one, the silent main character of this novel, the Fevre Dream itself. When I first heard about Fevre Dream I thought Fevre was the name of the vampire and the story was about a dream of his, and I was a little bit upset when I found out that Fevre wasn't nothing more than a river which died into Mississipi, and Fevre Dream was the name of the steamboat. But then, after reading the novel, I understood that Fevre Dream was a character itself all along, the main character that rests silent along the story but also what triggers it all. She (as Marsh categorizes the boat) awakes different emotions on them all: for Joshua York is a mere instrument to reach his dream, while for Abner Marsh is the dream itself, and it ends abandoned and world-wide forgotten in wetlands due to Damon Julian hand, who merely doesn't care about her.
But the truth is that everyone appearing in the novel has some characteristic treat that makes you remember him for days, as the book itself makes you think of it before going to sleep and makes you wanna read more about steamboats and Mississipis and vampires, but that new kind of vampires Martin has brought us, not that teenage stuff. And the last lines of the novel are simply golden, the epilogue, one of the best I've ever read.
As summary, I really recomend Fevre Dream to everyone who wants to read an original and well-written story about Mississipi 1857's life and all it carries with it, about a new point of view of vampires, about friendship beyond differences and, basically, about the dream of achieving the own dreams.