This was one of the best reads of the year. I'd heard of "Hell Followed with Us" before and it always had amazing reviews, so when I saw that the author was coming out with a new book I couldn't resist requesting it. And the book did not disappoint. I won't say too much cause I think it's best if you go into this blind but if you are looking for a queer horror, this is the book for you.
i wasn't certain if i would enjoy this, knowing that many people had said its terror is evident in the expertly choreographed gore. yet there’s something fundamentally comforting about some sort of acceptance and bloodred hope. to know that humanity can endure this scars in all of its manifestations—heart-stopping fury, paralysing fear, mysterious love, etc. andrew joseph white is a gifted writer with fluid prose and insightful observations. highly recommend.
thank you to netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
After devouring White's previous novel "Hell Followed With Us", I had high expectations for this new title. I can confidently say my high expectations were met. Not only was this genre of a book totally up my alley, so was the intense, unforgiving writing that was paired alongside this queer gothic novel. I will say I do not think this book will be for everyone, but for those who would enjoy this type of story they will be pleasantly entertained.
What I love most about White's writing is their ability to make the grotesque both revolting and breathtaking. I think the execution of setting an elaborate atmosphere and aesthetic is one of their strong suits, and this novel certainly delivers that.
I am so grateful to be seeing more young adult novels and authors be unafraid to take risks with their work. Andrew Joseph White is a perfect example of this. Truly a refreshing and unhinged read that I enjoyed immensely. I would highly recommend giving this a try!
A solid 4.5/5 stars for me. My only gripe is that I enjoyed their previous novel slightly more, but other than that - perfection!
The Spirit Bares Its Teeth has got to be one of my favorite historical fantasy reads this year. The historical fiction setting examines the oppression of queer folks in the 1880s in England, but also the sexism of hysteria. It's a book which will ignite your rage in the treatment of Silas, the erasure of his feelings, but also leave you with hope in his finding of solidarity, community, and friendship. There's plenty of action about all the people society wishes to rob of a voice, to smash into rigid boxes, and the fight against the prejudice and oppression made me cry.
(Actual: 4.75⭐, rounded up) Wow. Okay. So, truthfully— I, again, requested the eARC of this book simply because of how intricate and intriguing the cover was and, while I knew it was classified as a horror novel, I figured that I would fare decently (as someone who doesn't read a lot the genre) since it also technically fell under the "YA" categorization. SO. That all being said, I decided to push forward and go into this one blind and well..... now we're back full circle with me saying "WOW." 😅🥴 Don't get me wrong: I loved this book, but it for sure is not for the faint of heart. It wasn't at all what I expected it to be and yet it somehow managed to exceed all my expectations in how it approached and handled so many different topics. This book is written by way of wielding the absolute sharpest blade imaginable, scathing at times in its commentary and its unbridled (but warranted) rage, and yet it was also oddly.... comforting? I can't explain it, but there's a certain kind of warmth to be found at the core of "The Spirit Bares Its Teeth," one filled with glimmers of hope and solidarity, even in spite of all of the literal and metaphorical blood, sweat, and tears it took to get there. And while I honestly do highly recommend this book out to everyone for its overarching/underlying message & themes alone, I also must advise everyone reading to first *definitely* look at the CWs, as 1) there are a lot and 2) if you're particularly squeamish, this may not be the best read for you. Overall, Andrew Joseph White is now on my radar as an author to watch out for!
I cannot find the words to say in a proper way how much this book has left an impact on me. I loved Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White and this piece by him just adds so much more to his writing style.
This story covers the horrors of humans in such a way that you really sit there for a second to think and go “Wait a damn minute”. However, The Spirit Bares Its Teeth shows also an incredible way of accepting the scars you received from past, present and future – time and time again. It is an incredible read and I cannot wait to add it to my physical bookshelf.
Quite a dark book for the YA category, with its queer representation I will definitely recommend this book but with sime trigger warnings of heavy horror. This would, in my opinion, be 16+ and readers need to know, but, what an amazing horror book by a new author thats incredibly different from what we've seen before!
I thought this was excellent—I liked White’s first book but I thought that it was possible I’d enjoy his next book much more and I was delighted to be correct. The characters were clearly drawn and I felt that the gore was entirely correct to the story. It’s hard to write a book this visceral that doesn’t feel clunky or exploitative but I think this was a success! I look forward to reading White’s next book and seeing what he has in store for the future.
T4t in a queer historical horror book? Sign me the fuck up. This was so good, maybe even better than Hell Followed With Us. I loved Silas and Daphne and the entire premise had me sucked in from the beginning.
That being said, this is HORROR and it's got a lot of body gore in it so if that's not your thing, maybe skip this one. There's a lot of medical discussions and even a detailed C-section with no anesthesia performed on page. It's pretty brutal.
It's also worth noting that the audiobook narrator is fantastic. Like genuinely so so so good. The MC is autistic and has a rabbit in their head that spews anxious thoughts and the narrator did a wonderful job portraying all of that. I also love seeing a trans autistic character and seeing brains that work a bit like mine in historical books. We've always been here we just have the words for it now.
Andrew Joseph White's "The Spirit Bares Its Teeth" stands as a visceral and unsettling triumph, cutting through the reader's senses like a precise scalpel and unfolding like a harrowing nightmare.
Set against the backdrop of London in 1883, where the boundary between the living and the dead is blurred, the narrative unfolds as a transgressive gothic tale of horror. Within this world, the Royal Speaker Society oversees mediums with violet eyes who communicate with spirits. The protagonist, Silas Bell, a sixteen-year-old trans and autistic individual, rebels against the prospect of becoming a compliant Speaker's wife.
Following a thwarted attempt to escape an arranged marriage, Silas is diagnosed with Veil sickness, a mysterious ailment afflicting violet-eyed women with madness. Consigned to Braxton's Finishing School and Sanatorium, Silas encounters ghosts of missing students pleading for assistance. Determined to expose Braxton's secrets, Silas confronts not only the school's dark mysteries but also the potential shattering of his own sanity.
A notable aspect of the novel is the portrayal of an autistic and trans protagonist in a historical context. White fearlessly exposes the violence of the patriarchy and the harm inflicted on trans youth coerced into conformity.
"The Spirit Bares Its Teeth" is not only an intense and visceral reading experience but also a courageous exploration of past horrors and current struggles. White challenges conventions, delving into darkness to unravel a narrative that echoes historical injustices while resonating with contemporary battles.
This work stands as a remarkable achievement, leaving an enduring impression and serving as an exemplary piece of transgressive gothic horror. I extend my sincere thanks to NetGalley and Holiday House / Peachtree / Pixel+Ink for providing an advanced copy of this e-book. This opportunity not only enhanced my reading experience but also allowed a profound immersion into the terrors skillfully crafted by Andrew Joseph White.
"The Spirit Bares Its Teeth" by Andrew Joseph White is a bloody and nauseating triumph that cuts like a scalpel and unfolds like your worst nightmare.
Set in London in 1883, where the veil between the living and the dead has thinned, the author presents a transgressive gothic narrative that delves into the depths of horror. The Royal Speaker Society oversees violet-eyed mediums who communicate with spirits. At the center of the plot is Silas Bell, a sixteen-year-old trans and autistic individual who refuses to accept the fate of becoming an obedient Speaker's wife.
After a failed attempt to escape an arranged marriage, Silas is diagnosed with Veil sickness, a mysterious disease that drives violet-eyed women mad. He is then sent to Braxton's Finishing School and Sanatorium, where he encounters ghosts of missing students pleading for help. Determined to expose Braxton's secrets to the world, Silas faces not only the dark secrets of the school but also the shattering of his own sanity.
A notable aspect of this work is the representation of an autistic and trans protagonist in a historical setting. White does not shy away from exposing the violence of the patriarchy and the harm inflicted on trans youth forced into conformity.
"The Spirit Bares Its Teeth" is not only an intense and visceral reading experience but also a courageous exploration of past horrors and current struggles. White challenges conventions and dives into the darkness, unraveling a narrative that echoes past injustices while resonating with contemporary battles.
This work is a remarkable achievement that leaves a lasting impression, standing out as an exemplar of transgressive gothic horror. I want to express my deep gratitude to NetGalley and Holiday House / Peachtree / Pixel+Ink for providing an advanced copy of this e-book. This opportunity not only enriched my reading experience but also allowed a profound dive into the terrors skillfully woven by Andrew Joseph White.
Glorious, heartbreaking, and gratifying in equal measure, the novel of a young trans man's struggle to be seen is exciting and boldly new. The horror elements were weaved in thoughtfully, and on the whole were balanced especially well. Will be jumping at the author's other work as soon as possible
I haven’t really been a horror reader in the past, but I kept seeing Hell Followed With Us all over bookstagram and wanted to step outside my comfort zone. I wish I had done it sooner because oh my goddd I loved that book so much. It was so powerful, imaginative, and downright poetic. So when I saw the author had written another book, there was no question I had to read it.
The Spirit Bares Its Teeth is another haunting story centered around a trans boy in the late 1800s. Not only is Silas not recognized as the boy that he is, his family has an arranged marriage planned. But when he’s shipped off to a sanitarium / finishing school (to essentially be broken in as a proper housewife), he is confronted with the ghosts of students who went missing in the past.
This was another huge win of a read for me from the author and he’s officially solidified himself as an auto-buy author. The Spirit Bares Its Teeth was a chilling and at times heartbreaking story with the author’s signature gore. PLEASE heed the trigger warnings before reading, and take care of yourselves.
This is a long overdue review of The Spirit Bares Its Teeth. I read it in June, but I just procrastinated on writing the review online, so the following is based on some notes I wrote after finishing the book.
I apologise in advance if this review is a bit of a mess. I'm having trouble finding the words to describe how much I adored this book and my thoughts are a bit all over the place, so bear with me.
In this story set in Victorian England we follow an autistic trans boy named Silas. His parents attempt to arrange a marriage for him as he is seen as valuable partner due to his violet eyes, which allow him to speak with the dead. After failing to flee from an arranged marriage, Silas is sent to Braxton’s Sanitorium and Finishing School, an institute which aims to 'cure' the veil sickness Silas is diagnosed with. Soon after his arrival Silas finds out that this school has dark secrets and he aims to find the answers with the help of several deceased students.
The characters absolutely the highlight of the book. They felt very realistic and I was able to connect to the characters easily. In fact, I fell absolutely in love with the characters. They all have very well developed personalities and great character development.
I also adored the representation in this novel, as we have many LGBT+ characters in the book. The main character has autism and I was able to relate to his experiences and feelings a lot. I am so grateful to White for writing characters which represent zo many different people, myself included.
The writing style was great, just as in Hell Followed With Us, but I think White improved a lot (which is kind of insane considering how good the writing style of Hell Followed With Us was). It was atmospheric and it was able to convey some quit gore-y and otherwise scary scenes. But there wasn't an overflow of details, it was just the perfect amount.
I also loved Silas's interest in and knowledge of anatomy, because it allowed him to describe his experience as a trans boy and his wished to remove everything from himself that makes society view him as a girl (since I feel like the average Victorian person would not have this knowledge).
I honestly loved this book so much and I feel like it is my favourite book of the year (though we still have a month). Please please please read this book, it's fantastic!
A unique story about madness, being forced into conformity and bravery. I went into this one completely blind and I’m so glad I did. I have never read anything like this and I’m so glad I did.
Huge thank you to #peachtree and @netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review
Andrew Joseph White has an insane talent of creating the most intense scenarios and making them beautiful. This book was so grotesque and gory but you cannot deny that it is also beautiful. I will recommended this book until I am blue in the face
Absolutely a five-star read for me; this was dark and gruesome, but not without hope, solidarity, and rage against the injustices of the world. The characters were interesting and complex, the world-building interesting, and Silas' experiences really hit home for me. I don't often read YA (I'm just not the target audience!) but this was a wonderful reminder of everything great it can be. I'll definitely be reading more from the author.
08/25/2023 || The Spirit Bares Its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White || #TheSpiritBaresItsTeeth #NetGalley
Thank you NetGalley,Andrew Joseph White, Holiday House / Peachtree / Pixel+Ink, Peachtree Teen for making this e-ARC available!
Please note: This review may not be reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, without explicit consent from the author and myself.
All of my thoughts are my own~
5 Stars !!!
This book is intense, moving, emotional, raw, and full of so much authenticity!
The book follows autistic, trans Silas Bell, and his harrowing experience at the Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanitorium where he is treated for his diagnosed Veil sickness—a mysterious disease sending violet-eyed women into madness. The story is set in London in the late 1800's where Violet-eyed mediums communicate with spirits and can connect with the Veil under the reign of the Royal Speaker Society. And if you do not conform, are obedient, and perfect? Well you must have the awful Veil sickness and need to be treated immediately.
Please heed all CW/TW myself and others may share about this book, as some content could possibly be heavy for some, but even in the midst of some of the more gripping scenes this book has to offer, they are intertwined with such a intense feeling of solidarity. As if you and Silas are of the same mind and spirit.
Thank you to Peachtree Teen for the free eARC. This is my honest opinion.
I am reeling from this amazing story. Silas is a fantastic character and the depth of their development has a visceral grip on me. This vaguely historical gothic Victorian horror fantasy reaches deep into the readers heart and makes them feel everything that the characters go through. The representation of trans autism is fascinating. I could feel the stimming, the thought processes, the lack of social awareness, the clinging to what is known, and the anger about being shoved into too much.
5 out of 5 stars, this sophomore book has everything that I loved about the first book and more. Highly recommend for lovers of Hell Followed With Us, Cemetery Boys, The Degenerates, or if you loved Eva Green's character in Penny Dreadful.
Thank you NetGalley and Peachtree Teen for the e-ARC.
Andrew Joseph White’s The Spirit Bares It’s Teeth is rich in visceral body horror. Between the dysmorphic, oppressive atmosphere and main character’s familiarity with the anatomical insight into the human body White creates a gothic novel par excellence, even without considering the titular spirits.
The YA formula seems to result into an ending that feels somewhat disjointed and disappointing, but it does not take away from the general enjoyment derived from it. Still, this appreciation for the genre of gothic body horror (particularly medical) does not appear often in the literature aimed at the younger audience and this alone warrants some praise.