Oct 192021
 

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 venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends, brought back together to celebrate a wedding.

A night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare as secrets get dragged out and relationships are tested.

But the house has secrets too. 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.

Effortlessly turning the classic haunted house story on its head, Nothing but Blackened Teeth is a sharp and devastating exploration of grief, the parasitic nature of relationships, and the consequences of our actions.

Oct 152021
 

Library Journal: Four friends gather at a Heian-era mansion in the Japanese countryside to celebrate the elopement of two of their group. From the start, something is off. There’s no paper trail of their rental, for reasons the owner makes vague; more unsettling is that this house has a haunted history. A thousand years ago, a bride awaited her groom at the site; he never arrived. She made her guests bury her alive under the building’s foundation so she could await him forever. Every year since, it is said, a young woman is sacrificed to help the lost groom find his way back to his beloved. This short novel, immersed in unease and oozing menace, is engrossing and methodically paced. The atmosphere, the characters, and their strained, complicated relationships are carefully constructed and slowly revealed, until the group finds itself in the middle of a nightmare, stalked by a faceless woman in white as they fight to leave the mansion alive. The conclusion will leave all unsettled, haunting both characters and readers.

VERDICT As if the set-up doesn’t sell itself, the book also has a creepy cover that’s perfect for display. Recommend to those who love tales of haunted houses with menacing and dangerous histories that reach out from beyond the grave to entrap the living, such as Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic or David Mitchell’s Slade House.

Oct 082021
 

BookPage: Cassandra Khaw’s horror novella Nothing but Blackened Teeth brings readers to Japan, where a wedding of questionable taste is about to unfold. Nadia, who is engaged to Faiz, has decided she wants to be married in a haunted house. The couple’s mega-rich friend Phillip secures a venue for them: a Heian-era mansion in a forest, built on the bones of a bride-to-be and other girls killed to appease her loneliness.

Khaw builds horror slowly and evenly. Rather than sporadically appearing to frighten and terrorize the young squad of not-quite-friends, the spirits of the house appear with steadily increasing frequency until they are simply present in every scene. By the novella’s climax, the tension has increased to such an unbearable degree that the final burst of violence is more expected than surprising.

Readers looking for bite-size horror on a stormy night will appreciate Khaw’s twisted tale of foolish young adults, all of whom are poorly prepared for the effects their decisions will have on their psyches (and lives).

Oct 012021
 

NPR: A rag-tag band of criminals must come together for one last heist; of course, they didn’t part on good terms after the last job…

You might know this story, but you don’t yet know it in the hands of Cassandra Khaw. They transform one last heist into The All-Consuming World: a visionary, foul-mouthed, gory sci-fi adventure, dripping viscera, violence, and beauty in equal measure.

The All-Consuming World is a gory, gloriously punk, queer heist story set in an unsettling and cold universe. It delivers thrills and questions. This is Cassandra Khaw’s debut novel, although they’ve published many novellas before, and it’s a worthwhile addition to the sci-fi canon. The ending is abrupt; a sudden stop. But it feels right that this story leaves you with questions unanswered and futures uncertain. The All-Consuming World will consume your attention and linger in your thoughts, a very good ride and a remarkable what-if.

Sep 282021
 

A novella set in post–climate disaster Alberta; a woman infected with a mysterious parasite must choose whether to pursue a rare opportunity far from home or stay and help rebuild her community The world is nothing like it once was: climate disasters have wracked the continent, causing food shortages, ending industry, and leaving little behind. Then came Cad, mysterious mind-altering fungi that invade the bodies of the now scattered citizenry. Reid, a young woman who carries this parasite, has been given a chance to get away ― to move to one of the last remnants of pre-disaster society ― but she can’t bring herself to abandon her mother and the community that relies on her. When she’s offered a coveted place on a dangerous and profitable mission, she jumps at the opportunity to set her family up for life, but how can Reid ask people to put their trust in her when she can’t even trust her own mind? With keen insight and biting prose, Premee Mohamed delivers a deeply personal tale in this post-apocalyptic hopepunk novella that reflects on the meaning of community and asks what we owe to those who have lifted us up.

Sep 212021
 

Booklist: The prolific Mohamed, one of the most unique and engaging voices in genre fiction, presents a dystopian sf thriller set in her home province of Edmonton, Alberta. A post–climate disaster has ravaged the landscape. Reid, the 19-year-old protagonist, carries a strange parasite that has startling relevance to both the ongoing global pandemic as well as the climate crisis. The horrifying aspects Mohamed expertly describes will burrow into the bones of the reader. Survival has not been easy, which is an understatement in this grim universe. Some readers may struggle at times with the scientific jargon, but that does not obscure what is a pulse-pounding, compelling narrative about an impossible chance Reid has in front of her. She can choose to go to it, but in doing so, she would abandon her mother, her friends, and the community in which she lives. Science-fiction and horror readers alike will enjoy Mohamed’s novel, which will appeal to fans of Jeff VanderMeer, Kameron Hurley, and Tochi Onyebuchi.

Sep 172021
 

Sturgeon Award finalist Vajra Chandrasekera’s debut THE SAINT OF BRIGHT DOORS, a richly imagined postcolonial fantasy meeting at the point between THE NAME OF THE WIND and THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS, set in an unsane metropolis brimming with history that is on the verge of eruption, to Carl Engle-Laird at Tor.com, in a six-figure deal, in a three-book deal, for publication in winter 2023, by Michael Curry (world English).

Sep 102021
 

Booklist: Khaw turns the haunted house trope on its head with her latest, after The All-Consuming World (2021). The story starts off with Cat, who is celebrating at a wedding party with friends. It doesn’t take long for the group to discover that what they think is going to be a night of fun and revelry will be the exact opposite. As Cat starts to recount a fairy tale, the house takes on a life of its own. One of Cat’s friends reminds her this is a giant mansion in the middle of nowhere full of dolls and creepy things and that certain danger awaits them. As fear begins to get the better of the characters, the veneers and façades they maintain start to crack. Cat’s emotional pain radiates from the pages, making the supernatural elements more tense and frayed as the tension mounts. If Guillermo del Toro directed The Ring, it might play out something like this engaging thriller. Japanese mythological creatures come to life in this dynamic, unique tale that will satisfy horror readers eager for fresh blood.

Sep 072021
 

Maya has died and been resurrected into countless cyborg bodies through the years of a long, dangerous career with the infamous Dirty Dozen, the most storied crew of criminals in the galaxy, at least before their untimely and gruesome demise.

Decades later, she and her diverse team of broken, diminished outlaws must get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade . . . but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir.

The highly evolved AI of the galaxy have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep humanity from ever regaining control. As Maya and her comrades spiral closer to uncovering the AIs’ vast conspiracy, this band of violent women—half-clone and half-machine—must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all.

Welcome to The All-Consuming World, the debut novel of acclaimed writer Cassandra Khaw. With this explosive and introspective exploration of humans and machines, life and death, Khaw takes their rightful place next to such science fiction luminaries as Ann Leckie, Ursula Le Guin, and Kameron Hurley.