Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Ahhh, expectations versus reality. A real conundrum.
With the premise and such a great name for a horror, I truly wanted this to work for me. Hell, a lot of the time I DID feel the sick dread and oppression of living in a house where your own child HATES you.
Seven-year-old Hanna suffers from a textbook Electra complex. Add a little psychopathy to grease the wheels and we've got a duplicitous child who wants to kill mommy to have daddy all to herself and is willing to go to extended lengths to get it.
Or so I thought.
Well, in fact, the novel does atmosphere okay. It leads us to the starting line very well. But every time the buildup threatened to boil, the pot is taken off the stove.
So what happened?
... It's mild.
This ain't Halloween. This is just a troubled house that fizzles. No death. No supernatural elements. Just a palpable relief that I can move on and disappointment that so many elements couldn't have just pushed us off the edge with a little more courage.
You don't want to be a mild horror these days.
I've read psychological thrillers from eighty-years-ago that packed a more shocking punch.
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