Book Review

Certain Dark Things

Certain Dark ThingsCertain Dark Things
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Tor Nightfire
First Published: October 25, 2016
Genres: Horror, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley


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, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl 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. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

My Thoughts

A crime noir steeped in cultural history and vampire folklore, Certain Dark Things has unequivocally become one of my all-time favorite vampire novels. The vampires in this novel are drastically different from the ones we’re used to seeing in popular culture, drawing inspiration instead from the myths and legends of cultures around the world. These wildly different mythological figures come together and clash, creating a canonical universe where all exist.

“Vampires, we are a diverse lot. So many differences. Yet we are united by one simple unavoidable fact: we are our hunger.”

Nothing about the plot or characters feels like it isn’t grounded in reality, the history of upheaval and the colonization of Mexico of centuries past is woven so naturally into the narrative. I loved the way that the novel subverts humanity’s increasing romanticization of vampires as sympathetic misanthropes that aren’t too different from people. This naivete is encapsulated so perfectly by Domingo, a poor street kid dazzled by the vampires of film and comic books. We forget that vampires are the embodiment of death.

Intensely readable and perfectly placed, from the steady beginning to the pure adrenaline rush denouement; I am so thankful that this book is being republished, and because of that it landed on my radar and I took a chance to read something different. I immediately wanted to reread it as soon as I finished, it is truly a hidden gem among the vast sea of vampire media.

Warnings: violence, death, sex

About Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the bestselling author of the novels Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Certain Dark Things, Untamed Shore, and a bunch of other books. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters).


I’m a Filipino American blogger, historian, and lazy writer. I enjoy books, video games, anime/manga, and smoking hookah.

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