When I first heard of Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, it was on Twitter, where Naz was raving about it. I trust his recommendations, and the description of the book was intriguing, so when I had an opportunity to get an ARC on Netgalley, I took it. I am glad I did, because this book truly brings vampires back and how!
The novel is set in Mexico City, which has now become a city-state walled off from the rest of Mexico. Mexico itself is a haven for many species of vampires who are fleeing from other parts of the world with stricter regulations. Mexico City, however, unlike the rest of Mexico doesn’t take well to them, and is a dangerous place for a vampire.
Into such a vampire city, arrives Atl, a Tlahuihpochtli (a species of vampire, native to Mexico), who is on the run from a gang of Necros (another vampire species), which murdered her entire family. Her genetically modified Doberman is her only companion. She is seeking a way out of Mexico, and during her efforts to do so she meets Domingo, a young man who makes a living by picking garbage for a rag and bone man. Domingo becomes her familiar of sorts–both her source of nourishment and a person to help her in her quest. The rest of the book follows a pretty predictable arc, and to reveal any more here would be spoiling it.
The very first that comes to mind about what I loved about this book, is the world-building. The presence of vampires of multiple ethnicities, the attitude of different countries towards them etc, are a subtle nod to the existing political climate. This world feels real enough to be ours, and this was genius on the author’s part. At the very end of the book is a list of the different vampire species and the differences and similarities between them–this section is as good as the main story itself!
Silvia Moreno-Garcia has created characters that are layered and fleshed out. They are wonderfully and believably flawed, and the reader roots for them. I especially appreciate how she has turned stereotypes around by having a relatively sensitive and innocent man and a pretty bad ass heroine. And yet, Domingo’s sensitivity is not a weakness, and Atl’s pride doesn’t prevent her from seeking help when she needs it. Atl and Domingo balance each other beautifully, and their interactions definitely are a highlight of the book.
I personally felt the pace lagged a bit in the beginning, but just as I was wondering if the story would go somewhere, the pace picked up. Once it did, it was a quick, unputdownable read!
There are a lot of things to love about this book. It is a wonderfully refreshing look at vampire lore, and the genre as a whole. I encourage everyone to go read it.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Are there any other books you’ve read that are similar? Let me know in the comments!
FTC disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.
Naz did a Q&A with the author Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Check it out here.
The book reminded me (and not just because of the title!) of Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan. You can read my review of that book here.