book reviews by Althea

Certain Dark Things – Silvia Moreno-Garcia ****

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Certain Dark Things
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Moreno-Garcia’s ‘Signal to Noise,’ I was on the lookout for anything else from this young author. ‘Certain Dark Things’ is quite a different offering, but it did not disappoint!

This is a YA vampire novel for those who grew up with the mythos of ‘Vampire: The Masquerade’ and ‘True Blood’ (&c).
If you read the previous sentence and said, “Yay, that’s for me!” – well, it is. But if you read it and said, “Eh, I don’t know about that.” – well, don’t write it off yet; it still might be for you! Because this is simply a very, very entertaining book.

Domingo is a Mexico City teen who manages to scrape by through garbage-picking. Heading home with his cart of garbage one evening, he sees an elegant and lovely girl on the subway, accompanied by her impressive, gene-modified dog. Of course, he knows the young woman is far out of his league – but he can’t help being drawn to her. When unexpectedly she invites him back to her place saying that’s there’s something that he can do for her, he expects some kind of trap… and he’s not entirely wrong. But there was more to the situation that even he expected.

This alternate near-future Mexico City is part of a world where vampires ‘went public’ a few decades ago – and, needless to say, not all humans were thrilled with the revelation. Mexico City is one locale which has flat-out banned vampires within the city limits. But the elegant girl, Atl, is indeed a vampire, descendant of an ancient clan once revered by the Aztecs. She’s also genuinely young, and in over her head – trying to escape revenge by hiding where she should not be. After a vicious gang-war involving complex vendettas, she’s on her own, fleeing some particularly nasty enemies. Only desperation would lead her to put her trust in a human street kid – but Atl is nothing if not desperate. And Domingo is smitten.

The book has a well-balanced mix of action and romance, and a superbly-drawn, vivid and fascinating setting. If you haven’t yet discovered Moreno-Garcia, I encourage you to do so!

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s for the copy of this book. As always, my opinions are solely my own.

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