TEETH IN THE MIST
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (NOVL)
Release date: June 11th, 2019
Spoilers: Minor spoiler (there will be a warning when I discuss it)
Trigger warnings: gruesome descriptions, demonic elements
(A review ARC was sent courtesy of NOVL).
TEETH IN THE MIST is a new young adult horror fantasy from talented author Dawn Kurtagich. Kurtagich has introduced this revolutionary novel to the world of young adult literature, and combines real-world elements with fantastical mythology to bring readers a psychological horror story that will give them goosebumps.
Here’s a short summary taken from Amazon:
Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil's Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations...Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember--so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong? In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward--one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever. 1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it.
Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching...
I had been Insta-stalking Dawn Kurtagich’s page for a while, seeing if I could get some notion as to when TEETH IN THE MIST would be released. The whole plot looked very intriguing and I really wanted to know more. I was thrilled when I checked the mail one day and found out that TheNOVL had been kind enough to send me a review copy!
Roan and Zoey are the main characters, and I loved the fact that their lives are set so far apart. (Roan in the 1800s and Zoey in modern-day). It gives the readers an extra challenge to try and see how the plot will connect to each character, and I thought that was part of the fun of reading TEETH IN THE MIST. While we do hear more from Roan than Zoey, and not much from Hermione (but, I believe the author wanted to keep it that way), both girls’ uniqueness shines through, as well as certain similarities that may connect them in more ways than one. Roan’s POV is told from third-person, and Zoey’s is told mainly from first-person, but through scenes that she’s recorded with her camera. I thought the stark contrast between the way that the two girls tell the story is very unique, and I personally haven’t seen it done before.
Another really cool thing about TEETH IN THE MIST is that it incorporates the use of different text sizes, pictures, and word imagery. I included a few photos for you so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about.
I really found this style of writing captivating; in some places, it fully expressed Roan’s desperation or fear, and in others, Zoey’s camera narration and diary entries were very believable. I am so bummed that I couldn’t see a lot of the final art, since a lot of the art wasn’t included in the ARC; I guess that means that I’ll have to buy the finished copy so I can get the full spooky experience! 😂
Speaking of “spooky,” that is a severe understatement. For those of you who know what I like to read, I generally never pick up any kind of horror book. I was very open and willing to read TEETH IN THE MIST, because I was interested in getting into the genre. Now, whenever I read another horror book, it will be hard-pressed to beat TEETH IN THE MIST. I was captivated through almost the entire book, and it definitely freaked me out and had me thinking about it even after I had put it down. I love the psychological horror movie called The Village, and it gave me “Village” vibes because of the fact that nobody really knows what’s going on until we get toward the end of the book. There are enough unique characters to provide you with the opportunity to pick “favorites,” and I loved the fact that every single one of them had a different personality. Emma is a fiery Scotswoman, Seamus (her brother) is calm and quiet, Jenny the maid is always skeptical, Rapley is mysterious and handsome (and Roan’s love-interest), Andrew holds a dark secret, Poulton seems one way but is truly another, and Len is the immortal love-interest of Zoey. Like I said, there are tons of characters to like – or hate – and this makes the story all the more intriguing. You never really know “who did it” until the end, which kept me hooked throughout the story.
Now, we get to the part that was a little on the disturbing side.
(MINOR SPOILER SECTION BELOW)
So, the whole story centers around Roan and the rest of the group being the children of Lucifer (aka the Devil). While TEETH IN THE MIST is filled with Christianized elements and the use of the name of God to ward off evil and in some ways, to keep the evil at bay, the fact that these children are literal spawn of the Devil was a little freaky to me. Others may feel differently; because Dawn Kurtagich wrote this book in such a convincing way, the runes, sigils, and demonic language that the Devil uses seemed very realistic. I guess that is a mark of how good her writing is! And Roan and the other characters don’t succumb to his evil, even though it pulls them. Their struggle – Roan’s in particular – to stay on the “light” side was so well-written and believable. Even though I wasn’t a fan of this particular element, I must be honest and give credit where credit is due and commend the author for her great writing style.
(SPOILER SECTION OVER)
(I did add trigger warnings to my review just because there are some rather gross and violent descriptions toward the end of the book that people who have anxiety or PTSD may want to skip over. There isn’t much gore, etc., but there are some disturbing images described in the last chapters of the book that younger readers may find uncomfortable).
One of my favorite aspects of the story was that Dawn’s writing style is so easy to read, yet is filled with beautifully descriptive language and a way of speaking. She has one of the loveliest writing styles I’ve ever read, actually! As a reader, I can tell that she enjoys what she’s writing and is excited about it.
Dawn Kurtagich does a great job at hooking the reader and keeping them hooked for the entirety of the story. There were so many plot twists and mysteries to solve that I found myself having to slow down so I didn’t read the book all in one sitting! Even if you’re not a horror fan, this is more along the lines of a psychological thriller, so it may open up some new reading possibilities for some of you. She has definitely changed my personal opinion on what I thought horror books were. Overall, I was a big fan of TEETH IN THE MIST! The story ended on a cliffhanger which made me very eager to read the sequel!
TEETH IN THE MIST receives 4.3 stars out of 5!
(All opinions and views are my own, and I always review honestly while trying to be kind and diplomatic. I support and appreciate the efforts of the authors whose books I review, and I highly recommend reading a book for yourself to form your own opinions of it. Thank you for reading my review!)