Wednesday 13 October 2021

CERTAIN DARK THINGS by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood-drinkers, is smart and beautiful - and very dangerous. Domingo is mesmerised.

Atl needs to escape the city quickly, to get far away from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn't include Domingo, but little by little, she finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in. 

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Atl and Domingo stand little chance at all of making it out alive before the city devours them all - but they are determined to try . . .

Well, this is the fifth Silvia Moreno-Garcia book I've read, and this time we're dealing with vampires. And a stunning cover.

Domingo is a street kid who trades in garbage, then one day he meets a pretty girl and her dog. Alt and Cualli are in Mexico City on vampire business. Rodrigo is babysitting an obnoxious vamp boy while trying to locate a vamp girl. Nick thinks he can do whatever he wants, including murder. Ana is a detective who wanted to get away from vampires and instead ends up investigating a murder that puts her in their path. When they all collide, things get really messy...

What a fantastic and dark story!

I really enjoy this author's storytelling. She always introduces the reader to a seemingly average bunch of people who quickly become very interesting characters and grow on you so much, you can't wait to find out what happens next. Of course, throw in her very unique approach to genre fiction, and it's another winning combination.

What she does with vampires is amazing. There's so much of what we already know about these creatures of the night, but with a unique twist. I loved how the Mexican vamps trace back to the Aztecs, and how there's an animalistic quality to the different kinds. I especially liked what she did with Alt's kind. Such cool mythology and imagery. 

The story is told in the alternating POVs of five different characters. Two vampires, two adult humans and a teenager. Every single one feels different and moves the story along, slowly revealing what happened before we reached the current trouble, and why they're all in Mexico City even though vampires aren't supposed to be there.

I also thought the way the vampire folklore was explained within the narrative actually added to the story. I found Alt's narration interesting and liked her even though she was often so distant, bordering on cruel. And Domingo was such a sweetheart. The villains and the other sketchy characters were well written too.

Oh, and I liked Bernardino because he was ultra creepy and cool. And I can't forget Cualli because Domingo was right, he's the coolest dog. 😃 

Certain Dark Things is a near-future neon-noir story featuring vampires in an alternate version of Mexico City. It's gritty and violent, dark and captivating. Full of great characters that I either warmed to instantly, or disliked very much. The vision of this city and their way of life coupled with the vampire lore turned out to be an awesome experience. And the worldbuilding is fantastic!

I have to admit that Silvia Moreno-Garcia is fast becoming one of my favourites. Her books always hook me in and keep me captivated until the end. And this bittersweet ending really packed an emotional punch. 😣

Thank you so much, Hachette Australia for sending me a copy. 

Certain Dark Things, September 2021, ISBN 9781529415612, Jo Fletcher Books

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