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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Cousins is a thoughtful work of fiction in the horror, supernatural and drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Cynthia Helton. Working as a metaphorical journey through the existential crisis of death itself, the author offers a fascinating narrative in which vampires, who are usually immortal, are faced with a disease that could actually kill them. Even for these death-bringing creatures, the idea of a final end is a terrible shock. This novel opens the adventure with Doneele, exploring her past and present as well as important family dynamics. Many of the experiences are translated from the author’s own family life.
A highly conceptual novel for its genre, traditional horror fans may find this foray into the world of vampires more realistic and grounded than they would first expect. Author Cynthia Helton explores a complex and sometimes highly distressing theme within a guise that is not too far from real life itself, but as such allows her readership to get their heads around existentialism in an accessible way. What results is a highly compelling family drama with some horror and supernatural elements, and I particularly found the dialogue to be very expressive and emotive in moving the story forward. Helton’s own narration taps into a literary style of writing as we consider the wider themes of the work, and the pacing is slowed down to allow us time to process the story as it unfolds. Overall, Cousins is a challenging read, but one that will be worthwhile to those looking to explore the effect of death on family dynamics from a totally unique perspective.