Author: Cassandra Khaw
Publisher: Tor Nightfire
Released: October 19, 2021
Warnings: Gore, alcoholism
I knew from the moment I heard Cassandra Khaw’s latest novel announcement that I was going to have to read it. Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a horror novel with paranormal elements and is part of the Nightfire line.
Would you spend the night in a haunted house? Would you do it alone, or with friends? One group of friends has opted to stay at a Heian-era mansion, one that suspiciously has little information available to these guests. They don’t know the name, the owners, or anything else.
That should have been their first red flag. It wasn’t, and so these friends – who are more frenemies in truth – are going to have one horrifying and memorable night. One that they would probably have preferred to forget.
“After all, isn’t that the foremost commandment in the scripture of horror? They who are queer, deviant, tattooed, tongue-pierced or other must always die first”
Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a dark and twisted read, one that did a fantastic job of subverting expectations and flipping traditional tropes on their heads. For that, I very much appreciated this read.
So, I know that it is relatively common to create unlikable horror characters – it makes it more bearable when the worst happens to them. But I almost feel like Cassandra Khaw did too good of a job with her characters. I didn’t really like any of them. More than that, I felt like it would have been healthier for the lot of them to go their own ways.
Especially if they had done so before the events in this book took place. But whatever, it’s okay. Who doesn’t enjoy the occasional read surrounding frenemies? It took some time to get their relationships established – and then the real horror began.
This is the part where Nothing But Blackened Teeth really began to shine. However, shine might be too bright of a term here. Perhaps gleam would work better in this instance? Either way, it was the horror story that sucked me into the narrative.
I should probably mention that the horror elements go pretty dark and graphic. So don’t make the same mistake I did – read this book during daylight hours. Your sleep will thank you for it.
Thanks to Tor Nightfire and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.