Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists.
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.
Thanks to the publisher and author for a advance reading copy of Nothing But Blackened Teeth for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a bloody grin with a twist of the knife. Khaw’s prose is electric throughout and powers the reader through a delightfully disturbing haunted house tale full of terrible people receiving their just due. What a perfectly vile Halloween read.
I’ll be the first to admit: the cover is going to haunt my nightmares for months to come. As soon as I saw it pop up on NetGalley, I just knew it was going to be an auto-read for me. Not having read any of Khaw’s previous works, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I know a few readers who absolutely loved her Persons Non Grata series from Tor.com so why not jump right in.
Khaw’s prose, while intimidating at first glance, is definitely one of the more polished feeling that I’ve come across and played poetically within the confines of such a disturbing story. Every sentence was like a hammer blow to the skull, driving deeper and deeper into your psyche and breathing life into these yōkai. Simply the thought of stepping inside this mansion with the history of it, let alone spending an inebriated evening within its walls… pass, bro.
I feel like the author has started a haunted house sub-genre here that I would love to see more of. This isn’t just a run-of-the-mill haunting; it is a bloody disgusting tale where the ghosts don’t have time for your BS and you better get to the stabby stabby. It is about watching horrible human beings completely crumble under the weight of their choices AND I AM HERE FOR IT.
This is a novella where you will whisper to yourself “No way… NO FREAKING WAY” over and over and over again throughout, and probably more so once you finish. If you want a hauntingly original tale with phenomenal prose, this is a no-brainer.