Audiobook Review: Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Penguin Audio (October 4, 2022)
Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
Narrator: Kristin Sieh
I’ve been a fan of Rachel Harrison since her debut The Return, and it’s fantastic to see that she’s continuing to solidify her reign as the queen of chick lit (witch lit?) horror with Such Sharp Teeth. This Halloween season, those looking for a different kind of werewolf story will be in for a treat.
In this story, we follow Aurora “Rory” Morris, a young woman who reluctantly makes a temporary move back to her hometown to support Scarlet, her pregnant twin sister whose boyfriend had recently left her. There are a lot of bad memories associated with this place, which has always felt much too small and much too slow for Rory who prefers the hustle and bustle of the big city, but for Scarlet, she would be willing to walk through hell and back. And right now, her sister needs her. Rory can’t remember the last time her twin was on her own, and now with a baby on the way, Scarlet will need someone she is close to and can depend on.
One night, while still settling into, Rory decides to hit up a local joint for a drink and runs into Ian, an old childhood friend whom she knows has been harboring a crush on her since their school days. Ian makes it clear his feelings haven’t changed, but physically and emotionally, it is clear he has matured. Certainly he is no longer the awkward lanky teenager Rory remembers, and in spite of herself, she wonders if the relationship might lead to more if she agrees to date him. Later that night though, our protagonist hits a large animal on her drive home—something so large that at first she thought it was a bear. But after getting out of her car to investigate, she is attacked. After that, nothing in Rory’s life is the same again.
From developing unusual cravings for red, raw meat to suddenly gaining super strength and incredible healing abilities, Rory knows something is changing inside her, but doesn’t know exactly what is happening. She does have some suspicions though, and believes the attack has something to do with it. But if she’s right, then she’s in real deep trouble, because the next full moon is coming up fast, and the people closest to her and who are most dear to her have no idea they are dealing with a monster.
With three of the author’s novels plus a short story collection under my belt, I think I’ve figured out the winning formula which makes her books so fun and engaging to read. One, the story plots are generally rather simple, and by not being overly complex they are easily relatable to most readers who understand the importance (and sometimes the stresses and drama) of having to deal with everyday obligations and sudden life changes. The struggles of relationship and dating woes, navigating difficult social situations, working hard to pay the bills, getting over past traumas, and taking care of family in need—we’ve all been there and done that.
Two, sisterhood and female friendships are especially prominent and often recurring themes in the author’s work, and this is definitely true for Such Sharp Teeth as Rory’s love and concern for Scarlet’s wellbeing provides the very impetus for her to move back to her hometown. You can always depend on Harrison’s stories to be an exploration of feminine themes and celebration of friendships and the ways they can change us, empower us, and turn us into what we want to be.
Three, once she’s lulled you in with in all this mundane, Harrison likes to shake things up with a huge dose of the paranormal, often dropped upon us with the force of a cannonball. For all that though, the horror aspects never feel too over the top. There’s gore, but it’s not gratuitous, and the frightening scenes are just the right amount of disturbing and spooky. Most of the time, they are even treated with humor, and it’s not uncommon to see a character’s confusion at the uncanny things happening around them turn into a comedic situation, like when Rory starts looking up werewolves on the internet and ends up hitting upon all kinds of kooky results and absurd advice.
For a good mix of creepy-chills-up-your-spine horror, dark humor, and heartwarming family vibes, Rachel Harrison’s books are the way to go, and I would recommend Such Sharp Teeth if you are a fan of lycanthropy stories especially if you’re interested in checking out one from a female werewolf’s point-of-view. Rory was a well-written character with an engaging voice, brought to life by the talented Kristin Sieh, the narrator for the audiobook edition which I received for review. I tried to pace myself with this book and failed, as the compulsive drive of the story along with the winsome narration made this one hell of an addictive listen.