by Pauline P
Being friend-zoned sucks. But being cousin-zoned is way worse.
Have you ever experienced being so attracted to a certain someone only to find out you’re actually related to them? Ouch.
Despite the common notion of incest being evil, there have been couples in the past, and even today, where the pair turned out to be first cousins. Some of the most prominent ones include Charles Darwin, Queen Victoria and Albert Einstein. Looking at it within the religious context, there is this particular Bible verse saying you shall not appear naked to your next of kin. Pretty straightforward, huh?
Reading a few articles featuring cousins married to each other, I found out that there’s actually a term called “cousband,” an amalgamation of the terms “cousin” and “husband.” (You probably figured that out without my help.)
In one article, the wife being interviewed said something along the lines of, “we understood each other and had a special connection from the first time we met.” She didn’t seem know her husband from her childhood years.
Incest is, and remains, one of the most sensitive issues in our society, along with homosexuality. And to be able to write a novel about it takes a whole lot of courage and talent, let alone a trilogy!
The Until trilogy, which was marvelously crafted by Jonah Pacala, aka Jonaxx on Wattpad, deals with such themes. Ate J or Queen J or “The Royal Writer,” as nicknamed by her fans, is the first Filipina Wattpad writer to garner more than three million votes.
The Until Trilogy by Jonaxx is a romance story between supposed cousins Klare Desteen Montefalco and Elijah Riley Montefalco. But since this is fiction, (Spoiler alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.) we find out that Klare is actually her mom’s anak sa labas or child out of wedlock. Ta-dah! She is not a real Montefalco, hence making her and Elijah NOT cousins. Duh. LOL.
However, even after this revelation, fighting for their love was still not easy. It was accompanied by a whole lot of tears, drama, resentment, regrets and any heartbreaking thing you can think of.
WHAT I LIKED
I admire Jonah’s way of writing this trilogy. In the beginning, it felt like Jonah wanted us to really think over who Klare would fall in love with. Her way of writing gives us hints of what could happen but doesn’t give away too much at the same time. In short, she tells us the story slowwwly but surely.
Also, by the second chapter of the first book, Until He Was Gone, you’ll notice there are quite a number of characters already introduced. But rest assured that as you go along, you’ll memorize by heart which one is related to whom. All of them have their fair share of contribution to the course of the story.
For most readers, they went through a, what I’d call, “confusion phase” or to be specific, the “why-is-Elijah-extra-sweet-to-Klare-they-are-cousins-right?” phase. *insert winky emoji*
“Run away Klare. ‘Cause I am done running. And God knows I can’t walk away.” —Elijah, Until He Was Gone
This story was written with consistency and faithfulness to reality. With Klare and Elijah’s issue, Jonaxx made sure it was not something they could get away with that easily. Across the trilogy, the conflict was evident and the three novels seemed to be a step-by-step process for our couple to fight for their love until the end.
Everything in the story felt so real and raw. Jonaxx did not use the let’s-be-cheesy method just to give the readers a kilig feeling. She used just the right amount of words and expressions for her characters’ dialogues, and guess what, even Elijah’s simple “baby” makes girls go ga-ga. You know what they say, “less is more.”
“Love is war, I am your soldier.”—Elijah, Until He Returned
I also liked it when Jonaxx used real, existing places in the story. As a reader, it makes me want to go to those locations someday.
The trilogy also focused on family. Klare did not forget the family she grew up with in spite of all the struggles she faced. This trilogy reflects the importance of family honor, not forgetting where you came from and who molded you into the person you are today.
Lastly, unlike other love stories, this trilogy didn’t need any mature, sexual scenes because the romance of Klarijah was more than enough. Elijah’s sweetness already hits the spot. In fact, considering their background, it would be inappropriate if Jonah pushed for that idea. (Though admittedly, I still feel like Elija and Klare deserved it considering all the hardships they went through.)
The Until Trilogy tells of a love story that stands the test of time. It proves to us that love does move mountains. And if the love is true, it can surpass anything in its way. Klare and Elijah are the type of couple you cannot help but adore.
Also, the other Montefalco cousins, especially Dette and Azi? So lovable.
Loving a relative in a romantic way is still an elusive topic. There is no bibbidy-bobbidy-boo in real life that’ll magically make a cousin couple suddenly non-blood related. I do not want to label these couples as taboo or a menace to mankind because they, like all others, deserve to fall in love. The only thing is, it was with their next of kin. But how are they going to be accepted before society? Maybe as long as they are two consenting adults? What about caring for the family honor? There will be multiple opinions about this, for sure. ☁