Thirteenth

It turns out family dinner drama and car journey petulance persist whether some revere you as a god or not. There is a skill to achieving horror-comedy without treating heavier topics with levity and it is a skill Rosens undoubtedly has…

ARC Review

Lovecraftian horror meets kitchen sink drama in this dry, darkly funny tale of toxic families, killers and cannibals, eldritch body horror and antihero female rage.

Katy Porter is the thirteenth child of a thirteenth child in an inbred family of eldritch horrors, and her own eventual metamorphosis will change her into a creature that hungers for her family’s flesh. To some, she’s a threat – to others, a weapon.

Katy needs allies to help her control her Changes, but she’s stuck with her oldest brother, a drug-addled playboy who voted to have her killed but is chaotic enough to have genuinely changed his mind, and her eyeball-eating, god-like cousin, whose idea of protecting her involves abduction, dark rituals, and encouraging her homicidal side.

If anyone is going to survive Katy’s transformation, scores need to be settled and fears need to be faced – and Katy is not the only one who needs to face them.


Weird and heartwarming and darkly funny

~GoodReads 5* Review

…a fantastic book filled with vibrant characters…

~GoodReads 5* Review

I absolutely loved this book… it has left me wanting more

~GoodReads 5* Review

 That family is complicated seems to be at the heart of the novel and while for me the appeal of the first book [The Crows] largely lay in the world-building, here it lies in watching characters you form extremely conflicted attachments to (well, for the most part, Wes’s partners are delightful and if you haven’t yet been introduced to them via Rosens’s Overexposure short, I definitely recommend picking it up) clash and begin to bond and then clash again.

~GoodReads 5* Review

 One of the best reads of 2021 so far, filled with horror, fun, laughter, trauma and emotion, it has it all!!

~GoodReads 5* Review

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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.



MENTAL/PHYISICAL HEALTH
-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)

ABUSIVE/DISTURBING DYNAMICS
-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.

HORROR TROPES
-violence and gore, violent deaths in an inbred eldritch familial context
-body horror [eldritch, mutation/transformational, parasitic/worm-adjacent]
-cannibalism
-very strong language throughout
-entrail-reading (birds), [wild] animal cruelty/death

CREDITS:

Illustrations by Thomas Brown
Cover Design by Rebecca F. Kenney

Editor: Charlotte Ashley