Not gonna lie, I know nothing about Japanese culture and I didn’t even know what an “Heian” era was, (in Japanese culture, it’s the period that runs from 795 to 1185),before I started this book. Now I know, and I also have learned that Cassandra Khaw is a phenomenal writer!
In a famous haunted mansion from the Heian era, a young couple, for whatever twisted reason, wants to get married. Only a few friends are invited as it’s a long trip and let’s face it-this kind of thing is not for everyone. All the people here have history with each other, which makes for some interesting dynamics-which takes a back seat when the supernatural action starts up. Will the happy couple be able to get married without a problem? Will any of them escape with their lives? You’ll have to read this to find out!
I’ve long said that the novella is a perfect vehicle for a horror story. It’s just long enough to introduce the characters and create feelings towards them, while short enough to keep the tension high and the scares well…scary. All of the that is the case here, and more.
The prose? The prose is purply beautiful at times, while at other times, sharp as a knife. The beauty of the mansion is hidden behind the rot and corruption that have taken over and the way that Khaw describes how that came to be is gorgeous. The imagery is vivid and bright, and I had no problems picturing any of the scenes, while at the same time, the sharpness of the prose could be like a knife point. For example: “I hope the house eats you.” It doesn’t get much sharper than that!
I think I’m going to leave this review at what I’ve already written. I don’t want to give any part of the story away, but I will add that Cassandra Khaw is a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to read more of her work!
My highest recommendation!
Available October, 2021.
Thank you to Nightfire and to NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it!