Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews

REVIEW: Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

*Spoilers Probably*

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.

But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.


Rating: 2 out of 5.

I was hearing mixed reviews about this novella, so when I saw this at my local library I thought I’d give it a chance to see what was in store. So let’s creep into this review for Nothing But Blackened Teeth.

First off, I hate this trope in horror where all the characters are unlikable. Even our main character is unlikable. I wish she was more fleshed out because I wanted to learn more about her. Everyone else seemed like a jerk with no justification for being that way.

This is trying to be visceral by making us question our main character’s perception of reality. I feel like a lot of it is wasted because we don’t know about our main character. She says she was in the mental hospital for exhaustion or something like that, but doesn’t go into more detail.

It wasn’t charitable but apologies didn’t exonerate the sinner, only compelled graciousness from its recipient.

Cassandra Khaw, Nothing But Blackened Teeth

When the horror kicks in, I felt like it wasn’t all earned. Sure, we get the typical urban legend, a bride who got left at the alter and was so heartbroken she asked her wedding party to bury her alive in the palace she was going to live with her future husband. However, the book admits that they aren’t even sure if that’s the urban legend to go with the palace they were spending the night. Ergo, it makes me think that by them being drunk they willed this legend into being.

Like I stated earlier I’d like to know more about our main character’s relationship to her friends. Why is she so loyal to these people who seem to treat her poorly after her hospital stay? No one’s motives and reasonings are fleshed out other than “I need to save them because they’re my friends”. Unless she is that type of person who attracts poltergeist activity, then I’d ditch them as soon as they showed their true colors.

Overall, to keep from beating a dead horse. I wasn’t impressed with Nothing But Blackened Teeth. The characters are jerks, no one really gets their comeuppance. I just felt like this was a waste of time. Maybe if negative or mixed reviews make you more determined to read a book then I’d check it out from the library.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: After the Dragons by Cynthia Zhang

*No Major Spoilers*

Dragons were fire and terror to the Western world, but in the East they brought life-giving rain…

Now, no longer hailed as gods and struggling in the overheated pollution of Beijing, only the Eastern dragons survive. As drought plagues the aquatic creatures, a mysterious disease—shaolong, or “burnt lung”—afflicts the city’s human inhabitants.

Jaded college student Xiang Kaifei scours Beijing streets for abandoned dragons, distracting himself from his diagnosis. Elijah Ahmed, a biracial American medical researcher, is drawn to Beijing by the memory of his grandmother and her death by shaolong. Interest in Beijing’s dragons leads Kai and Eli into an unlikely partnership. With the resources of Kai’s dragon rescue and Eli’s immunology research, can the pair find a cure for shaolong and safety for the dragons? Eli and Kai must confront old ghosts and hard truths if there is any hope for themselves or the dragons they love.


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

So, just to start off, I did not finish this novel. I decided to jump ship and not force myself to read this even though there are aspects about this novel I liked. So let’s slay this quick talk about After the Dragons.

I love the world building this novel has done. It juxtaposes the effects of global warming, pollution, and just the deterioration of human society against these beautiful, magnificent dragons. Even though they are suffering the effects of human interference, they are still surviving.

The characters felt flat to me. Even though I learned more about Kai than I did about Eli, I felt there was no chemistry between the two. Eli learns of Kai’s terminal illness and he’s like ‘there must be something I can do to help him’ and I’m like dude, you spent a couple of hours with this guy and you two barely spoke to each other.

So overall, I’m giving this book two and 1/2 stars because of the amazing world-building and the dragons. I love stories with dragons that have personalities and help the main characters out. A couple of examples that come to mind are the dragons in The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d’Lacey and Mushu from animated Mulan movies.

However, just because this book wasn’t something I enjoyed doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. Maybe you’ll love this story and it becomes your favorite story of 2022. I’m just here sharing my thoughts and opinions into the void that is the Internet.