TITLE: Nothing But Blackened Teeth
AUTHOR: Cassandra Khaw
AGE RANGE: Adult
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.
And her mouth, of course, from its teeth through to the tunnel of its throat: black.
I’ve only had the pleasure of reading Cassandra Khaw’s short stories before now, and while I loved those too, I now consider myself irrevocably hooked. Whatever Cassandra writes, I don’t think I’ll need a premise or a blurb; I’m sold on the way their dark and twisted prose has dug deep into my mind and won’t leave.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth starts off with a refreshing twist on a favorite trope: a group of slightly estranged friends escaping off to a secluded spot for a reunion (in this case, a wedding). This is one of my favorite horror setups, but Khaw makes it shiny and new (or, should I say, moldy and decaying) by setting it in a legendary, decrepit manor in rural Japan. Our cast of characters are all immensely flawed, some downright unbearable whether due to cruelty or cowardice, but the protagonist had my heart from page one (a fellow chronically depressed bi person, how could I not love Cat?).
The atmosphere is palpable; every moment, I felt as though I could turn around and find myself in one of these rotting rooms. The scares are unique, bizarre, and unsettling in the sense that the spirits’ motives feel at times entirely unhinged. There’s an element of brutality that had me in awe, and a suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat. Truly, I adored everything about Khaw’s storytelling and I know this is a book I’m going to be recommending to anyone who will listen for a long time to come.
All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!
violence, death, suicidal ideation, mentions of self harm, depression, mentions of live burial
Cat is bisexual and Chinese, Lin is Chinese, Faiz is Chinese/Japanese, Talia is Bengali/Telegu
— destiny ♥