Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
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 taking the classic haunted house story and turning it 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.
About: Nothing but Blackened Teeth is a Japanese ghost short story written by Cassandra Khaw. It will be published on 10/19/2021 by Tor Nightfire, paperback, 128 pages. The genres are paranormal, Japanese ghost story, fantasy, horror, and adult fiction. According to the publisher’s website, “Tor Books is the most successful science fiction and fantasy publisher in the world. Winner of the Locus Award for best SF publisher 20 years in a row, Tor regularly puts books like Robert Jordan’s Knife of Dreams and Terry Goodkind’s Chainfire atop national bestseller lists. The Forge imprint publishes a wide range of fiction, including a strong line of historical novels and thrillers, plus mysteries, women’s fiction, and a variety of nonfiction titles. Tor/Forge has also become the leading modern publisher of American westerns.” Please see below for more info about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Nothing but Blackened Teeth on 8/1/2021 and finished it on 8/4/2021. I would have loved this story more if I understood many vocabularies like yokai, gashadokuro, fusuma, kitsune, kappa, alveoli, somnambulated, hitobashira, gashafokuro, tengu, shoji, ohaguro, tatami, oni and so many more. It’s no fun looking up dictionary for every word I don’t understand while reading. So one advice I would recommend the author is to have a glossary at the end of the book to explain these Japanese terms. It’s my first time reading Japanese ghost story so I’m new to all of the lingo. I’m terrified by the cover, but since I don’t understand many of these terms, I was hardly scared by the story. Despite that, I liked the characters and the frictions between each other. There’s motivation for the ending the way it happened but it was still unexpected to me considering their friendship.
This book started with Cat, told in the first person point of view. She has been battling with a terminal ennui and only now able to leave the house and join her friends on an adventure in Japan. Phillip, one of the 5 in their group got first class tickets for everyone to fly to Japan and rented access for a few nights at a haunted mansion for them to stay in. Faiz and Talia are getting married and it’s Talia’s dream to get married at a haunted house. The group of 5 friends enjoyed haunted house and abandoned hospitals in their spare time. The haunted mansion they were staying was rumored that the bride was buried alive waiting for the groom who failed to show up. This book ended with an epilogue.
Nothing but Blackened Teeth was well written with a lot of big words. I don’t see these big words often in my fiction reads and I have been reading more than 100 books a year this past 3-4 years. It’s also a new read for me regarding the horror genre. I loved the start of the book. I’m just not sure I liked the ending because Cat & Lin could have interfered but they chose not to. However, I see the dilemma the book from the mansion was asking from the friends. If you love reading horror and understand more Japanese terms for demons and ghosts then you should grab this read right away!
I rate it 4.5 stars!
About the Author:
Cassandra Khaw is an award-winning game writer, and former scriptwriter at Ubisoft Montreal. Khaw’s work can be found in places like Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and Tor.com. Khaw’s first original novella, Hammers on Bone, was a British Fantasy award and Locus award finalist, and their novella, Nothing But Blackened Teeth, is published by Nightfire. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).
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***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Tor Nightfire for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.