Review: Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

28220785.jpgTitle: Certain Dark Things
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Release Date: October 25th 2016
Genre: Paranormal, Horror, Science Fiction
Pages: 323

Synopsis:

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?

“Love is a strange thing to us. We do not revel in it. We only know hunger.”

Despite being a huge fan of vampires, I don’t read many books with vampires that aren’t strictly paranormal romance. Before reading Certain Dark Things, the only other non-paranormal romance vampire book I had ever read was Dracula. Because of that, I was little worried with how things would fair with Certain Dark Things because I still wasn’t sure just how much I really like vampires outside of romance. My worries were unfounded. Certain Dark Things is an amazing, completely unique vampire tale.

In Certain Dark Things, there are numerous types of vampire subspecies that are distinctive to particular regions. The main ones that appear in the book are Necros, which are from central Europe and are similar to the image of vampires that is often portrayed, Revenants, which are particularly powerful and can read minds, but have poor bone development, and Tlāhuihpochtli, which can shape shift and were particularly important in Ancient Aztec culture. I loved how different each of the subspecies were. The number of differences and the rich history behind them isn’t something I’ve come across before. The Tlāhuihpochtli stood out to me. I loved the role they played in Aztec culture, and how intertwined their history was. I wish there was a story set during that time period with them because I couldn’t get enough of it. Also, there was a science fiction-y aspect to the origins of vampires, which I liked.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia crafted such a unique setting for her vampires to inhabit. Unlike most other vampire stories, people knew about the existence of vampires. In fact, they were kind of a big deal. Many countries have them banned and the environment was very unstable. It was really interesting how she set things up in Mexico. Everywhere in Mexico, with the exception of Mexico City is essentially overrun with vampires. I don’t want to get into spoiler-y territory, but I liked the reasons for it. I’m a big fan of supernatural vs humanity themes.

There are multiple point of view characters. Usually in books with multiple POV characters, there are only a couple that I’m drawn to and look forward to reading about. That was not the case with Certain Dark Things. Each POV character is very different from the next, but their plot lines all lead to and involve each other. In Ana’s POV, we see her deal with justice in the face of vampires and narcos, and the struggles of being a female in a male, apathy dominated job in law enforcement. There is also the more morally grey and villainous side with Rodrigo and Nick, and of course the ‘heroes’ of the story, Atl and Domingo.

I found all of them equally compelling, but I was particularly attached to Atl’s and Domingo’s POVs because they explored the relationship between humans and vampires more than the other POVs did. Probably because I read so much paranormal romance, I really appreciated the exploration of this. The thing that was always brewing between them was the fact that Atl was a vampire and Domingo was human, and if they could get past that. I loved how it was handled with them (Rodrigo and Nick’s relationship was also interesting), and the place Certain Dark Things leaves off with with them.

One of the smaller things that I loved in Certain Dark Things were the Dracula references.Throughout the story, Domingo makes references to Dracula and vampire comics. I thought it was so cool that Dracula existed in universe. I love the ‘all myths are true’ trope, and how ‘myths’ are created based on real things in paranormal stories.

My Rating:
★★★★☆

If you are a fan of vampires, you have to pick this up. Even if you aren’t big on vampires, you should still read this.

Favorite Quotes:

“Love is a strange thing to us. We do not revel in it. We only know hunger.”

“He wondered if Atl might have danced with him. Not right now, not here, but maybe in another place. Maybe if she weren’t being chased by bad guys they could have gone to Quinto’s party.” 

“Vampires, we are a diverse lot. So many differences. Yet we are united by one simple unavoidable fact: we are our hunger. It is no surprise when you consider it.We have been surviving for a very long time against a rather cunning and adaptable foe. Humans are nothing if adaptable. I can’t claim the same of us, though we are persistent. Yet we make it through, despite being outnumber by your folk, despite times that change too quickly, because of that undeniable truth. In the end, we are always our hunger.”

“She wanted to touch him and so she extended her hand, meaning to lace her fingers with his, snatching it back at the last minute.
“You have too high an opinion of me,” she said. “One day, I think you’ll realize that.”

“To hell with your resources. What about the family?” Atl asked. “Our hearts want nothing but a war death.”
It was a line from a Nahuatl poem they had both learned as children. But Izel, rather than looking uplifted by the words, seemed disgusted.”

“You are confusing friendship with duty. Vampires have been governed by codes for ages and ages. The young ones, they’ve forgotten this. They forgot the old rules, dismiss our ways. But I still live by my code. It is what elevates us from the animals.”

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