Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Publisher: Tor Nightfire
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.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth honestly has one of the most frightening covers I’ve seen in my life. Goes right in line with the horror within.
One of my favorite horror films is a Japanese film called Kwaidan. It’s a compilation of several different Japanese horror tales. The first, called Hair, tells of a rotting Samurai’s house haunted by her former wife. This is precisely what Cassandra Khaw’s eerie tale made me feel.
I kept imagining what if this is the same haunted house, the same ghost, the same monstrous bride.
A group of friends gather at an old Japanese haunted house to celebrate the soon-to-be wed bride and groom. These friends don’t exactly get along. The past brings up old fights, old lovers, and old grievances. Rich snobs, assholes, the cheese obsessed, and tattooed bisexuals come together despite all they’ve been through with each other. This isn’t a company of happy people. Cassandra Khaw writes about messy people dealing with depression and reality only to be faced with the ghosts of their past.
If you like haunted house scares and frights, definitely pick this one up. I tend to be someone that likes to search for horror outside of western tropes and assumptions. I love this one, as it goes outside of western expectations. It turns things around on that idea of who is going to die first? All those expectations are shifted into something fun and frightening. I love that humor that Lin provides, riffing on that fact that most haunted house stories would leave him dead first as he’s not a white man.
It’s frightening, shocking, and sticks with you into the night. Definitely read this if you’re looking for a quick but exciting read.
Thank you to Tor/Macmillan for the review copy.