Review: Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Also by this author: The Beautiful Ones
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on October 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal
Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…
Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.
Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.
Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.
And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.
Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?
I love a great vampire book when it has a good dose of darkness to it, a feel of danger that overwhelms the romanticism. Certain Dark Things is far from the darkest vampire story I’ve read, but it still has a great balance and in addition, it also has a very interesting setting.
The story takes place in Mexico City, which has it share of problems in this book, but vampires are not supposed to be one of them. A declared “vampire-free”zone, task forces seek out vampires that dare to enter.
Our protagonist, Domingo, does what he can to survive in this city of crime and gangs. He collects garbage, sifts through it to find usable/sell-able items. He is pretty much alone in this city, and finds himself enamored with a beautiful woman he sees on the subway. When she approaches him, he is ecstatic, and also has no idea what he is in for or how his life with change from this chance encounter.
Atl is a vampire that is not only trying to lay low in this vampire free zone, but is also trying to hide from other vampires. Her relationship with Domingo is both sweet and compelling (I don’t know that I would call her sweet, but he is young and somewhat innocent, he brings a level of naivete that just makes me want to use that word.)
Another aspect of this book I enjoyed the different types of vampires (because not all are the same evidently). Not only do vampires have their own culture and organizations (like vampire gangs), but there are also differentiation between vampire as well. Some are more dangerous and frightening than others. Atl may need to drink blood to survive, but she is a type of vampire that is capable of having what seems almost human relationship. But never forget, as much as we want to root for this pair, Atl is not human so we can’t expect her to adhere to our cultural expectations.
Moreno-Garcia does a wondrous job with atmosphere, characters and pacing, creating a vivid and visceral fresh take on vampires. If you are in the mood for for a fresh vampire tale with an intriguing culture, Certain Dark Thing is definitely worth a read.