Nothing But Blackened Teeth

Cassandra Khaw

Quick Synopsis

A group of friends spend the night in a creepy, haunted Japanese mansion.

Publisher’s Synopsis

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.

Book Review

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.

Rating

Overall Rating

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Writing

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Plot

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Character development

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth

RECOMMENDED FOR SOME

Genre
Horror

Publication Date
October 19, 2021

Pages
128


Storygraph Rating
2.81 stars

Goodreads Rating
2.75 stars


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