Book Review: Certain Dark Things

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!

Certain Dark Things HC Mech.indd

I think it’s needless to mention, but this cover is ❤

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.

Author Bio:

Other Reviews:

Other Reads:

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.


23 thoughts on “Book Review: Certain Dark Things

      • Since the vampires are of different ethnic groups, I wonder how the novel would be different if they weren’t vampires. Does being a vampire, or the fear of turning into a vampire, play a big role? This book reminds me of the 2009 movie Daybreakers because almost everyone is a vampire, which is a problem because they’re running out of people to drink from.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Most of the characters here are vampires, except for one or two. And people are afraid of them. But the vampires aren’t invincible either. So the police and human gangs hunt vampires too. And different species of vampires are in conflict with each other too. You could have the story with the characters not being vampires, but what’s the fun in that 😊


    • Titles are similar, yes. And both have dark heroines, who are a bit dangerous and on the run. Both take off from the mythology of their countries, and turn it into something more. That’s what I think is similar in both. I hope you read and enjoy it.😊


  1. Ohh I really am glad you talked about this book. I hadn’t heard about it before at all, but I’m intrigued now. I have to admit that I was a bit over the whole vampire thing, but the way you make this sound, with the world-building and diversity and how complex it all seemed to be, I can’t help but be curious about this all. I’m just sorry to hear it was a bit slow when it started. I’ll definitely think about adding this to my TBR someday 😀

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  2. Vampires were such a big thing a few years back, and honestly I got really over inundated with them, but this sounds so good I might just have to pick it up. Naz always has such great recs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Naz has the best recs 😊 It really was very different from other vampire books I’ve read. I do hope you’ll read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really loved the world building in this one as well. The different species of vampire added a lot of depth to this world. I loved the sections at the end as well, though I didn’t see this until I was finished with the novel (I hate when that happens). Glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did! Great review.

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  4. Pingback: Sunshine Blogger Award – Huntress of Diverse Books

  5. This keeps getting lower on my TBR as I add new and exciting things but thank you for the reminder to bump it up! Earlier this year I read Fledgling, which is also an unusual take on vampires. There are some trigger warnings, but overall it was a novel that really stuck with me as unique.

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  6. I remember seeing Naz’s review for this one! Obviously that cover caught my attention right away, but my heart sank a little when I heard it was a vampire book. I swore off vampires after the vampire craze a few years ago, BUT this book sounds so intriguing… and I have never read a book set in Mexico… I may have to break my own rule and give this one a go at some point. Wonderful review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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