Nothing But Blackened Teeth
March 12, 2021

Book Review

Nothing But Blackened Teeth

Cassandra Khaw

reviewed by Mike Rankin

Five friends plan a trip to Japan for the sole purpose of participating in an exclusive wedding ceremony. After renting a mansion with a dark history involving sacred ghosts and unbridled offerings, the stage is set, and preparations begin not only for the celebration itself, but also for an exploratory alternate ritual.

This experimentation will test superstition against reality and guide the group of friends to a destination that will change their lives forever.

In Nothing But Blackened Teeth, Cassandra Khaw pens a haunted mansion story teeming with youthful compulsions that culminates into a place of damnation. These obsessive urges become an ominous component that swirls within each chapter of the book. Introductions to five friends and how their relationships correlate with each other not only takes center stage, but quickly becomes a crucial portion of the storyline. The underlying theme of true love contorts to the point of being beyond ordinary, and the morbid historical significance surrounding these characters drives the story toward an eagerly anticipated conclusion.

The cornerstone of Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a proposed wedding that embraces spectral images lurking from behind every corner. Any such descriptive features of dark haired possessions, mouth blotted murkiness, and smudge stained eyes stand out as literary intense visions of terror. The author effectively surrounds the story with gruesome practices associated with hitobashira. These customs and rituals carry a sense of melancholy that are filled with trepidation. Khaw’s literary talent of developing ideas around a cultural way of life while simultaneously calling up the dead are written fluently. This, among additional references generate enough unsettling paranormal experiences that it becomes hard to set such a book down.

Sprinkling just enough wit and humor to round out the creepy supernatural vibe adds sufficient relaxation for the reader, only to be unprepared for what’s emanating from the shadows. In addition, the book cover art is beautiful and sets the tone for what’s to come. This creative eye candy begs to be taken from the bookstore shelves and read. From the title to its content, Nothing But Blackened Teeth is one heck of a creepy read.

Final piece of advice: Take heed when approaching an ohaguro-bettari. It may look like a beautiful woman wearing her bridal gown, but upon further inspection you may be horrified to discover… nothing but blackened teeth. God willing, it won’t follow you home.

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