I’ll say it right up front: this book is not for the faint of heart. I’ve never read something that so aggressively grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the last page.
In generic horror novels, a few grizzly deaths happen along the way, maybe sprinkled with some restless ghosts and demonic activity.
And then there are books that transcend – in this case, levitate – above the run of general horror. They take your brain, twist it a thousand ways to Sunday, and leave you gibbering in the corner.
Teeth in the Mist will do that to you and you’ll be so utterly entranced, you won’t be able to look away until the very last page. I’ll be hard pressed to write a review about this book because it’s highly experimental in it’s format so it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the plot was???
At the same time, that experimental format was both a head scratcher and a refreshing delight (well, as much “delight” that can be found in devil spawn and human sacrifice). If you don’t give this book your complete attention, you WILL get lost very easily. Good luck finding your way after that.
The story is a sprawling cobweb of narratives, following a number of characters as they gravitate around this one house: Mill House, and the dark presence that encompasses it. Mill House sits atop a mountain, swathed in soupy, gray fog and ceaseless, thunderous storms that are unrelenting.
The narrative switches between characters in the 1800s when Mill House is still a private residence, and characters in the modern day, vlogging about the ghost activity reported in the dilapidated, crumbling old mansion. Both past and present figures struggle with their own magical identities as well as the magical identities that seek to destroy them – dark, powerful, and impossible to resist.
This is not happy-go-lucky magic associated with starlight, elves, or your friendly neighborhood witch. This is gritty, screaming, terrifying magic. Each new twist reveals some new horror lurking in the shadow-laced corners of Mill House. And you don’t want to know what lies in the Underneath…
Can a group of teens separated by centuries defeat the evil buried within the very foundations of Mill House? Or were they born to become the evil they seek to destroy?
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK
Kurtagich takes an experimental approach to her storytelling. It challenges the traditional book format, adding extra dimension besides just plain text.
When a character falls into a tunnel, the pages go black with tiny pale words scattered over the page, representing the lost, scrambling, searching way the character claws her way through the black until she reaches the white pages again.
Text regularly spills and sprawls down the pages, making it feel as if you’re experiencing the rough-and-tumble adventure alongside the characters.
For those who enjoy visual aids, pictures of the characters are included as the story unfolds, i.e. when an old journal is found, or when the characters have their pictures taken with daguerreotypes.
From the beginning, we are launched into the world of Mill House. As with most horror novels, haunted houses are, by definition, creepy. They creak and groan, personified into unholy terrors. Mill House is no exception but something about the place sets it apart from the typical run of haunted houses. It’s merciless. Brutal.
Winds howl and scream outside, whipping heather and bracken by. The House sits atop a mountain of gray slate, casting a ghostly pallor over everything. Creatures, gray as the mountain itself, squirm and writhe and crawl through Mill House, indicating something sinister is happening deeper in the tangle of passages.
The setting takes an enormously active part in the story, just as much as any of the characters. It pulls you in alongside the rest of its victims and it doesn’t let you go. You have no choice to be caught up in the otherworldly hellishness of Mill House, where any semblance of normalcy becomes only a cold, faded memory, too far away to ever be yours again.
Overall, Teeth in the Mist is not for everyone. The style requires more than a skimming read. The content certainly won’t appeal to those looking for light-hearted and happy. This book requires dedication and focus to follow what’s going on. But it’s worth it. There aren’t many books that create such an immersive experience as this one manages to pull off.
Rated PG-13 for brief sexual content
What book surprised you with how it challenged the traditional norm? Let me know in the comments!
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