Welcome to Corpse Child Reads
Here is where I will be sharing my thoughts of the macabre writings of demon scribes other than myself
The Unholy Corpse Child Reads,
“Nothing but Blackened Teeth”
By Cassandra Khaw:
Published in October of 2021 by Tor Publishing group, Author Cassandra Khaw’s
“Nothingbut Blackened Teeth” is a poetic, macabre novella on ghosts, both figurative—
and quite literal. 147 pages of pure supernatural dread, “Nothing but Blackened Teeth”
features the tale of young friends, love, and betrayal.
Our featured protagonist in this tale is an everywoman by the name of Cat, who
is reluctantly invited by the, rather spiteful and paranoid, fiancée of her dearest friend,
Faiz, to their wedding. The wedding is set to take place inside a rather nice venue
house in Japan. A nice house, though it may be, like any house, it isn’t without its
secrets, or its scars.
Supposedly, this very same house saw the murder and sacrifice of a young bride
(sounds like a place I’D get married in when the time came, eh?😉). Joining the reunion
are their two friends and bachelors, Philip and Lin. All goes well for a while, save for the
animosity from Faiz’s bride to be toward our protagonist. Ironically, it’s when she gets
her just deserts that things take a swift turn to the left.
During a ritual game between the friends, the bride vanishes and taking her place
is a potpourri of different Yokai who inhabit the house to taunt them. The only way to get
her back, you ask? Oh, nothing much...
Just the life of one of the party.
The struggle then becomes a test of mental endurance for Cat and her remaining
friends to either find a way to bring back their friend without spilling blood, or at least get
out while they all still had their lives...
Now, as interesting a premise as this all sounds, it’s marred by overly prosaic
writing. Understand that, as a devout Clive Barker die hard, I am appreciative of elegant
writing, but not when it clouds the events of the story. Time and time again while reading
this, I found myself having to backtrack just to try and catch what happened because
the wording was so stylized, so fancy, that the events that were supposedly unfolding
were essentially buried under it.
I honestly have the same gripes about Shirley Jackson’s classic gospel of terror,
“The Haunting of Hill house”, which is a book often referenced when others talk of this
title. The prose is flowery and poetic, but a little overbearing. In conclusion, I enjoyed
reading it, but it’s not likely one I’d try reading again anytime soon. Though, who
Maybe ghosts of my own may try goading me into it again...
(3 out of 5)