Book Review: Nothing But Blackened Teeth
Hey Bookworms and Horror Lovers,
I hope you’re enjoying this wintry month. Kansas City is far from a winter wonderland (it’ll be 77 degrees on Wednesday *shakes fist at global warming*), but I’m finding that decorating my place is enough to keep me happy and festive. Lights and shiny things!
Anywho, today I’m back with another book review. This time I read Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw.
This novella released back in late October, and my library went through quite the ordeal to get copies by now. Kudos to them for working so tirelessly to appease the horror-loving masses!
I’ve never read anything by this author, so this was something of a shot in the dark. So, was it a winner or a stinker?
Keep on reading to find out!
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.
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Bookish gods, please give me the strength to enunciate why I had such a horrible time with this book in a constructive manner!
Okay … I very much disliked this novella, borderline hated it, and I rarely say that about books I read because I’m usually a good judge of bookish character (I know, I messed up this time).
There are many, many reasons why it did not work for me, so I’ll try to be specific without spoiling all the fun or lack thereof.
In a nutshell, some longtime friends gather at an old Heian mansion for a low-budget wedding. There’s more to the mansion than they imagined, and spooky chaos ensues. This kind of setup may sound familiar if you’re a horror fanatic like me, but if you’re expecting great things out of this, don’t.
For starters, the characters had few if any redeeming qualities. I don’t mind drama. In fact, I think that a good story should have a moderate amount for entertainment value. But this novel takes the cake. There is nonstop bickering and whining in every single chapter of this book.
Why you ask? There’s dirt between each of the characters. Oh okay, well do they talk about their problems? Yes, and they never listen and just continue to bicker over and over again about the same issues. In fact, we hardly got to know the characters at all outside of their drama. There is no real introduction in the traditional sense. To me, that’s what the author thought was most important about these characters.
It was just really sad. There were so many opportunities for the characters to calm their heads or develop and that never happened. The characters’ actions didn’t make any sense. The MC threatens to leave multiple times even after things get creepy and she’s constantly halfway out of the door only to stop and watch what’s happening. It was a trainwreck, and to be frank, by the later half of the book I was rooting for their demise (all of them) just so that I wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore.
The writing was also a big issue. It was overwritten and purple prose was everywhere. Pretty similes and metaphors are fine in moderation, but I think the author just went nuts with it. It was hard to find an instance of a simple sentence. Instead of saying something like ‘the house went quiet’ we get strangely formed sentences or metaphors with ten dollar words just for the sake of it. It was practically unreadable, so I started to skim after a while with plenty of eye rolls along the way.
Clearly from the book’s other flaws, the plot suffered as well. There’s a lot of jargon involving yokai (demons) and the structure of the building, and that really clouds up what is actually happening in the story. The average reader isn’t going to know what yokai are, so to expect that without explaining anything is asking a lot. There wasn’t much room for plot between fighting matches of the characters, so when the creepy stuff started happening, it just didn’t come across the right way or even as scary. Maybe I was just tense from all the in-fighting.
Despite all this, the concept was good in theory and I do think the author has potential. I know how much work it is to create a novel and have no doubt that the author put a lot of effort into this. I just think there is a lot of room for improvement, and I don’t recommend reading this book in its current state.
That’s A Wrap!
Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!
Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!
Have a great day!