Nothing But Blackened Teeth - Review
*I received the E-Arc from Tor Nightlife via Net Galley. All reviews are my own.*
This is my second horror story of the year, and honestly, I could have skipped it. Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Klaw is a short novella about sacrificial hauntings during a wedding ceremony. Boy, this has the makings of a deliciously bad SyFy movie. You know it's terrible, but you can't help sitting through the entire thing from start to finish. That's where I'm at.
"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."
Before getting into the story, make sure you have extensive knowledge of Japanese culture, lore, and myths. Klaw incorporated a few tall tales in this haunting in excruciating detail, so have the Google search bar open and ready if you are not familiar. If you feel like you can brave the overly detailed imagery, at least have a dictionary beside your bedtable as well. Where simple words probably would have done the passages justice, Klaw likes to fancy up her vocabulary, making you scratch your medulla oblongata.
Leave it up to the thrill-seekers to have a wedding ceremony in a haunted house in the middle of nowhere in Japan. Have we learned nothing from horror flicks? Well, this group seemed to get a kick out of the spooks until apparitions became real. Well, even when they saw the ghostly ruse with their own eyes, they were still pretty calm about it, considering. They are an odd group. When they weren't bickering about relationship stances, they were arguing and denying their promised demise. Well, at least one of the characters predicted everything outright.
Overall I rated this book 3-stars. I wish there were more action in this short story. Klaw's bio is more interesting than the narrative she wrote (seriously, she's a scriptwriter for UbiSoft!!!). The most we have seen is a bunch of ghosts standing around whispering methodically throughout the entire haunting. The humans made most of the gore. It was a very underwhelming ending, and I was bored. NBBT will not fulfill your scary story quota, but go ahead and read if you need something light.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth debuts October 19, 2021.