Illustrations by Thomas Brown
Cover Design by Rebecca F. Kenney
Editor: Charlotte Ashley
C.M. Rosens is in a league of her own, something I say with both love and enthusiasm. In The Crows, she grabbed every gothic horror trope she could find, put them through the blender, and somehow made me hate Carrie’s painfully mundane ex-boyfriend more than the literally-a-murderous-cannibal neighbour. In Thirteenth, she takes the idea of the Chosen One by the horns and then covers it in eldritch tentacles and teenage rage. It was an absolute joy to read. …Meredith Debonnaire ~ https://meredithdebonnaire.wordpress.com/2021/10/18/book-review-thirteenth-by-c-m-rosens/ – PDF version here
It’s a brilliant story. Somehow, in the midst of some very gory transformation sequences and a lot of murder, it is incredibly emotionally touching. … the ending was so satisfying that I nearly screamed…
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Reader Advisory/Content Warnings
This is a book containing Weird Fiction and Gothic Horror tropes, dealing with familial trauma and generational abuse cycles, which explores the toxic dynamics inherent within an inbred family of eldritch horrors. There is a lot of violence but no sexual threat. Humour is used throughout by the characters themselves and can be found in their interactions with each other, but the topics in the book are not taken lightly, nor is it the intent to make light of them. This is a book for people who find dark humour cathartic, and/or enjoy bathetic family drama with tentacles.
There is a lot of recreational alcohol and drug use with a darker, and in one case coercive, undertone/context. There is no sex nor current sexual attraction between the blood-related main characters, but there is a complex history between two cousins. There is one on-page interrupted sex act [fellatio] between consenting adults in a long-term relationship. Two MCs are sex-positive and sexually active: an adult playboy (with enthusiastically consenting adults) and his teenage sister (with teenage boys her age). There is a central sexless but intimate queerplatonic relationship between two other adult characters, one of whom is on the asexual and aromantic spectrums and is uncomfortable with sex when it’s discussed.
The following list is advisory not comprehensive: I may have missed your particular trigger but take this as a general flavour of content and use your own discretion.
-addiction, including addiction to a person in a literal sense
-altered reality, drug-taking and on-page trips by POV character
-some instances of depersonalisation, derealisation, questioning reality by POV character, who also has some incoherent thought patterns and memory issues relating to his drug use
-alcohol use/abuse/relapse by a male character inside his POV, involving a total lack of self-awareness
-issues with emotional disregulation
-disordered eating (male), binges and vomiting
-self-harm (teenage girl, makes reference to historic cutting but currently uses her own nails and bites her cheeks), self-destructive behaviour of adults
-a reference to gender dysphoria
-emesis (repeated, different characters, as a stress reaction and rotten food + drug trip reaction)
-abduction of a minor by family member (no sexual threat)
-toxic, dysfunctional inbred/incestuous (siblings/cousins) monster family, inc. bullying, boundary-crossing
-one partner literally addicted to another to the point that withdrawals cause self-harm
-adult male sexual arousal/fellatio (in context of dubious power dynamics in an m/f relationship)
-historic dubious consent/sexual harassment of asexual character with on-page memory depicted (m/m, first cousins, both teens)
-a homophobic serial killer father who targets teen girls, cold/emotionally neglectful mother
-NO CSA but historic child neglect and manipulation, emotional/psychological/physical abuse – character has positive memories and a complicated loyalty to their abuser, whose manipulation they didn’t see as ‘bad’ at the time.
-violence and gore, violent deaths in an inbred eldritch familial context
-body horror [eldritch, mutation/transformational, parasitic/worm-adjacent]
-very strong language throughout
-entrail-reading (birds), [wild] animal cruelty/death