Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Book Review: Nothing But Blackened Teeth

Nothing But Blackened Teeth 
by Cassandra Khaw
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So disappointing. Not near enough character development. I didn’t care if our teens lived or died. The creatures themselves were well described (and the author cannot take credit for them as they are existing Japanese myth/legend/monster) but their actions quite boring overall.

Sadly Nothing But Blackened Teeth really missed the mark for me. At only 90 pages this is much too short for what was trying to be conveyed. Our characters are not only really irritating but barely archetypes of your typical ditzy blonde, smart one, buff one, etc. I actually thought of the movie Cabin in the Woods and wondered if the writer had stolen Joss Whedon's archetypes! Additionally the characters are sooo annoying. Their complex love triangle, square, whatever it was almost made them interesting but then having no real details about the relationships or why they ended/began I felt like I was supposed to give them attributes and traits from their bad dialogue that I just couldn't justify.

The actual plot and narrative aren't bad here. They need some development and thought added but overall this could be a good story. The use of the iconic Japanese monsters is clever; and makes the author appear to be more creative than she actually is if you are not familiar with these creatures of myth and lore. For many long time fantasy/horror fans you've probably encountered creatures like this, or similar over the years. I mean one even has a Pokémon modelled after it! So if you feel like the cover is super terrifying and that's what brought you here then know that Cassandra Khaw did not invent this creature. You can read lots more about it, and it's friends, whilst researching ancient myths of Japan.

Yes I went in with high expectations; but that was because sooo many people were initially saying how great this short novella sized story was. Then we hit publication day and I feel like the reviews started to really reflect the general public's opinion. While there will be some that swear by this book and are a bit scared reading it; I do believe the vast majority of people will get a lukewarm feeling from these characters, monsters, and plot.
By no means do I want to encourage people to immediately grab this one. Honestly it can be skipped entirely unless you really want to know what's involved. At least at just over 100 pages it's not a huge investment of time!

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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Book Review: The Mad Women's Ball

The Mad Women's Ball 
by Victoria Mas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While not as amazing as the reviews make it sound, The Mad Women’s Ball is a decent read. I enjoyed our lead gal and her conversations with ghosts. It would have been nice to feel like I knew a couple other main characters as well as we end up knowing her. Both the nurse and Louise (a ‘hysterical’ woman) are key players but I never truly felt like I knew them with as much depth as I’d have liked.
This is a shorter novel, translated from French. It could actually have been longer (shocking I know, it’s rare to wish a book was longer). I’d have liked more about our characters, their motivations, and experiences prior to being put up at the asylum.
It’s certainly tragic that, back in the day (but assuredly still happening on occasion today), that someone with power could abuse and manipulate a person and then leave them (more or less) for dead at the asylum. The doctors we encounter in The Mad Women’s Ball are historical figures, including Babinski, a famed neuroscientist (thank you Big Bang Theory for teaching me this and not needing to look up a bunch of historical fact. Lol). All our other characters are fictional to my knowledge.

Overall I’d say this will likely make a better movie (which I will watch) than a book. The plot feels very linear and the set-up will lend itself to a well written script. And so, I can’t believe I’m about to say this, maybe wait for the movie to be released?

Please note: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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