Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Khaw rapidly became one of my auto-buy authors for her fantastically wicked and sharp horror prose that simultaneously messes with our terror-ific sensibilities while handing us truly interesting characters.
After looking at this cover and reading the blurb, I was certain I was going to fall in love with it, and after reading it, I DID like it. Quite a bit. We've got our Western haunted house trope set in an ancient Japanese house gone totally Kaiju. (And yes, I mean both style and the pretty little monsters.)
However, and I should be very clear that this is merely my intuition speaking, I felt like the sheer mix of Western and Eastern horror sensibilities -- while sounding good in theory -- kinda jarred me here. Why? Because we've got our self-aware Western students who very well know they're being stupid in all the classic horror trope ways, and we spend a lot of time on them being stupid, with WAY too little of the Eastern to counterbalance the setup.
I mean, don't get me wrong, there was quite a bit here, but not nearly as much as I'm used to. I mean, I love manga and anime and delicious Japanese horror movies, so it's not like it's completely out of bounds for a lot of us to dive right into the deeper cultural conflicts.
Of course, if I just enjoy this for a light, gory, throwaway novella, it's perfectly fine. Maybe I just wanted to see something like this SHINE. :)
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