Review: Teeth in the Mist

Review: Teeth in the Mist

by Dawn Kurtagich

Genre: YA Horror

Publisher: Little, Brown Books

Pages: 352

Publication Date: June 11, 2019

In 977 AD, a monk uncovers the hidden language of the Devil’s Tongue. As he dares to speak the words aloud, they reverberate through time and alters reality of the generations that follow.  

Hermione, Roan, and Zoey are three women separated by centuries are bound together by fate as they are drawn to the desolate mountain wilderness of North Wales and the energy surrounding Mill House. 

1583, Hermione is a young bride whose husband has a wild vision of taming the mountain wilderness and building the largest water mill and mansion in Wales. 

1851, Roan is a recently orphaned young woman just coming into a dark power that she must conceal from her new guardian at all costs. 

Now (2019) Zoey is a videographer obsessed with the haunted ruins of Mill House. She runs away from home, dragging her best friend to help her check out the mysteries of the old mansion on a far away mountain. 

When the sun dips down beneath the mountains, a thick oppressive fog settles around Mill House seeking to trap them there. Scattered across time they each must learn the dark secrets of the house before time runs out.   

Since I began dabbling with graphic design, I have learned to appreciate the moods, and themes that particular fonts can invoke in a viewer. It’s a puzzle that the reader must solve from the moment they pick a book from the shelf when they see a cover. What is this novel about? Is the title full of elegant curves or some feminine flair that signifies this might be a romance? Are the letters heavy with an edge of foreboding of a thriller? Or are the letters sleek, and futuristic feeling?

With this in mind, I was pleasantly surprised when I dug into Teeth in the Mist and saw its use of font to convey more meaning to the oppressive atmosphere of the novel. At points the feeling of the book becomes claustrophobic as the words crush together on a white background. At other points the pages plunge into darkness. It adds tension to the narrative in an inventive way that I’m unsure of how it’d translate to audiobook. It’s a daring book design that I remember being advised against doing when I was about 13. 

I appreciate that modern publishers are willing to experiment in this sort of formatting. This isn’t to the extreme of the strange formatting of a novel like say, House of Leaves to unravel the true meaning of the events at hand but it is interesting to experience. 

Teeth in the Mist tackles its narrative in three perspectives across 3 different time periods and with 3 different style formats following 3 women: Roan, Zoey, and Hermione. 

Roan’s portions in 1851 are more standard third person with the occasional letter and diary entry. Zoey’s modern day portions are styled like found footage of text messages, and transcripts of video recordings. And Hermione ’s entries in 1583 are letters and diary entries.

This book pulled me in and left me full of questions. I enjoyed the slow building tension and the unknown threat of whatever lurked in the mist outside the house. When events start spiraling out of control, it picks up its pacing and crashes to an end.

Other reviewers and commentators during the September 2019 the Ladies of Horror Fiction group read mentioned that the shift in point of view was sometimes difficult to track but I didn’t personally have that problem following along.

When the book ended, I felt like I needed more information. My main issues were the romantic relationships. I felt like these young women fell into their relationships a bit too quickly which is symptomatic of most romance plots in general and not just young adult novels. 

Zoey’s sexuality might be off putting to some parents simply looking for a creepy read for their children but the material and more physical scenes seem geared to the upper end of the ambiguous Young adult genre (16-18 years old) rather than the lower end (12 years old). I wouldn’t describe it as intensely graphic but I also wouldn’t portray it as a chaste story.    

Slow, atmospheric, Teeth in the Mist’s visual design lends itself beautifully to the moody atmosphere with words bubbling together until they shatter in rage or collapse into dark anguish. I look forward to the next installment to get some questions answers and loose strings tied up. 

4 of 5