A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.
It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.
But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.
And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.
Before I get to the bulk of the review, for context, I’ve been reading horror for a long time, even before Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I watched my first horror films at 8 and read King at 10 (I’m 46) so I’ve seen/read a lot of horror.
And this is part of the reasons Nothing But Blackened Teeth didn’t jibe with me. First, for such a short novella, I’d expect the pace to be quick and fly through the events, but NBBT spent a lot of time on internal dialogues and setting up the environment where our characters party. I enjoyed all the background stories, but it needed a bit more length (page wise) to justify this amount of history.
My biggest pet-peeve of NBBT—and that is where your past exposure to horror might provide a completely unique experience—is in the ghost character or supernatural components of the story. We’ve seen it (well I’ve seen it dozens of times) before and it was predictable. I was hoping to be dazzled throughout the book with a twist or gory/dreadful element only to experience the same tropes of a ghost-haunted-house story.
On the positive side, although not recommended for YA audiences and intermediate readers (as they call them at my local library), Cassandra used strong prose with tons of complex/strong analogies to describe the events and emotional distress our characters were suffering. Although I felt the pace of the story was affected by it, the internal dialogue was a pleasure to read and I wish this would’ve been a longer book, so the author gives more room for the plot.
So in conclusion, not one for me. But if you’ve never read horror or just starting out, and love short stories with a strong-internal-dialogue-prose driven narrative, then Nothing But Blackened Teeth might just be a great novella for you.
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