A group of friends spend the night in a creepy, haunted Japanese mansion.
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 venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends, brought back together to celebrate a wedding.
A night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare as secrets get dragged out and relationships are tested.
But the house has secrets too. 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.
Effortlessly turning the classic haunted house story on its head, Nothing but Blackened Teeth is a sharp and devastating exploration of grief, the parasitic nature of relationships, and the consequences of our actions.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a novella about a group of friends who decide to stay at and host a friend’s wedding in an abandoned Heian-era mansion in Japan. And as you can predict, when they go looking for ghosts, they find some.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth is largely a story based upon Japanese folklore, which I know nothing about. Typically, I jump at the opportunity to learn something new. However, the way in which this story was written failed to acknowledge that readers may not be familiar with Japanese yōkai. As a result, I was taken out of the story so many times to look up the meaning of the Japanese word used. While I generally do not mind doing this, a horror story partially depends on building tension… which is broken when you are consulting the dictionary/internet every paragraph.
Otherwise, the writing in Nothing But Blackened Teeth was decent. I wish I could say it was great. Khaw was great at describing the characters as they conversed but failed to really describe the setting and spooky parts. I did not particularly care what the characters looked like, as it was not crucial to the story; however, I find horror is only really successful when the horrifying parts are described.
While the characters in this novella are easy to distinguish from one another, I found them to be immature and a bit annoying. There was so much infighting between this group of so-called friends. I would have preferred for there to be less focus on them and more on spooky parts of the plot. I feel like the horror part was less than half of the book.
Overall, I did enjoy Nothing But Blackened Teeth to some extent; however, I think it could have easily been improved. If you do not mind irritating characters and already know a bit about Japanese folklore, I do recommend this one.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth
RECOMMENDED FOR SOME
October 19, 2021