Monday, January 9, 2023

Review: Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison

by Rachel Harrison
Release Date: October 4, 2022
2022 Berkley Books
Kindle Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593545829
Audiobook: B09S2JP43Q
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Rory Morris isn't thrilled to be moving back to her hometown, even if it is temporary. There are bad memories there. But her twin sister, Scarlett, is pregnant, estranged from the baby's father, and needs support, so Rory returns to the place she thought she'd put in her rearview. After a night out at a bar where she runs into an old almost-flame, she hits a large animal with her car. And when she gets out to investigate, she's attacked.

Rory survives, miraculously, but life begins to look and feel different. She's unnaturally strong, with an aversion to silver--and suddenly the moon has her in its thrall. She's changing into someone else--something else, maybe even a monster. But does that mean she's putting those close to her in danger? Or is embracing the wildness inside of her the key to acceptance?

My Thoughts
Such Sharp Teeth had the potential to be a really great story, but I really think it fell short of being a horror novel.  I did enjoy the changes Rory experiences as she turns into a werewolf and the horror she feels over everything that is happening, and I thought the secondary characters were interesting and well thought out, but I want my werewolves to be scary and bad, and this was definitely not it.  In fact, this read more like a paranormal romance than a horror novel.

First of all, I really liked Rory as a main character. I liked her sarcasm and witty comments as she dealt with all the changes that were happening to her body.  It made me wonder what I would have done in that situation, and she handled everything with a lot more grace and dignity than I think I would have.  However, she was turning into a werewolf. You know, a big, bad, kill people, I want meat, werewolf, So, other than the fact she was slightly concerned about the full moon and what that would entail, I was the one freaking out, wondering why she was not freaking out, considering she was living with her pregnant twin sister, knowing she would be a great meal if she suddenly turned.  And I would have been so disappointed if the big bad werewolf could distinguish between her sister and everyone else for dinner.  I mean, there should be high fear, and consequences. My pulse should have been racing. But nope. That was as far as it went. 

Except for maybe Rory's concern over what Ian, her newest love interest, may now think. And that was her big concern, that he may not want her because she couldn't have children. Wait, what? Considering big bad wolf might eat said children, probably for the best, don't you think?   Naturally, he's the perfect guy, so any issues they have will be resolved quite easily. 

I did like the subplots and themes in the book although I don't think they went far enough or explored them in enough detail.  Themes of sexual abuse and grooming were mentioned in the book, but I wasn't a fan of how they were glossed over and liked how Rory wasn't so forgiving with her mother about them despite others wanting her to just close the episode and find everlasting peace.  The lack of control over the changes that are happening when she changes into a werewolf kind of reflect the angst she has with her mother over what happened during her childhood. Interesting stuff.  

Such Sharp Teeth could have been great, but unfortunately, it went into the paranormal direction rather than in a horror direction and became more 'cutesy' than frightful.  As a horror novel, I wanted dread and suffering and terror. There was none of this. And when the wolfsbane came out, I knew it was game over.  However, I did like the characters and thought the dialogue was witty and fun. I also enjoyed the scenes where Rory transformed or had to deal with werewolf stuff as I found it interesting and comical. Notice that word, comical. Shouldn't I have been feeling dread? So, if you like a light paranormal romance read featuring a werewolf, this one is for you. As for me, I was somewhat disappointed in this book. And horror fans, if you are looking for the dread and suffering, this is not for you.