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Certain Dark Things: A Novel Kindle Edition
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“Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s gritty novel is steeped in the history of Mexico City and vampire lore and yet manages to deftly re-invent the bloodsucker ... Certain Dark Things packs a wallop.” ―Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts
“With its vibrant prose and stellar world building, Certain Dark Things is one of the best books I’ve read in years.” ―V.E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author
“Certain Dark Things is a delicious, elegant, gritty vampire noir. Moreno-Garcia has created a world that pulses with life and terror and honesty.” ―Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author
“This is so much more than a vampire story. A lush and haunting supernatural noir, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things is visceral, beautiful, and teeming with originality and complexities. Perfect for those looking for a crime novel with a little more bite than usual.” ―Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, Miami Midnight, and Blackout
“Silvia Moreno-Garcia carves out the heart of Mexico City, and then eats it, in this riveting noir-punk reinvention of vampire lore. Certain Dark Things is exquisitely vicious and brutally beautiful.” ―Ann Aguirre, New York Times bestselling author
"Certain Dark Things is dark, inimitable, and so very, very cool. Unmissable.” ―Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Osama
"Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s novel lets us fall in love with many perspectives before she breaks our hearts and puts us back together again." ―Fran Wilde, author of Updraft
“Certain Dark Things is arguably the vampire novel for the 21st century.”” ―New York Journal of Books
"Confirms that Moreno-Garcia is an author to watch.” ―Publisher’s Weekly
“The Mexican setting is a huge part of the allure of this new novel from Moreno-Garcia, as are the fascinating varieties of vampires she sets forth.” ―Library Journal, starred review
"All the characters in this book are as sharply realized as the city in which they live and fight... I love to see compelling new takes on vampires, and Certain Dark Things succeeds beautifully.... Smart, tender and insightful." ―NPR.org
"With Certain Dark Things, Silvia Moreno-Garcia demonstrates that there is always more to be done with familiar figures such as the vampire, and that in the hands of a talented writer, the creatures can rise to new (un)life." ―Locus
"Moreno-Garcia’s characters are vivid and compelling, as is her prose. As a novel, it’s fantastic: honest, wrenching, compassionate, and brutal." ―Tor.com
"One hopes that return visits to this urban fantasy world are in the offing." ―New York Times
"This is a new favorite." ―Book Riot
“With dark and delicious elegance, Moreno-Garcia delivers a satisfyingly bloody vampire story with a tantalizing twist.” ―The Globe and Mail
About the Author
- Publication Date : May 11, 2021
- Publisher : Tor Nightfire (May 11, 2021)
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B08F43JYDN
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #107,806 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Silvia Moreno-Garcia's intricate world-building alone is worth the price of admission. The history she's created for the vampire population's outing to the world, the various national reactions to the news (some countries immediately begin deporting vampires; others set strict laws on where and how they can live and feed; others seem to welcome them with open arms), and the history of the vampire population before exposure are all woven seamlessly into the narrative (although there is also a glossary at the back that gives more detail on the various vampire sub-species than the main narrative allows for).
At the same time the world-building is clear and detailed, the story itself is classic noir: insular, almost claustrophobic in tone, dark in setting even during daylight hours. Every single main character (human teen Domingo, native vampire Atl, Necros gangster vampire Nick, Nick's human servant Rodrigo, human cop Ana) and most of the supporting cast are the broken, damaged individuals we expect in noir. Most of them are trying to do right despite or perhaps because of the emotional (and in some cases physical) damage that's been done to them.and those they care about. But when push comes to shove, will "right" win over "right for me"? That question surfaces several times throughout the book, and helps propel the plot towards a suitably bloody (I mean, this is noir, and it is about vampires, so what else would you expect?) conclusion that left me satisfied and a bit breathless.
The pacing is fast; even the quiet scenes have an active pulse to them. And these vampires are definitely not the lovable "humans with extra sexy genes" type. Sure, some of them are attractive but that attractiveness is a cover for the danger that lies underneath, and the author spares no chance to remind us: these are not, and never were, humans. For most of them, we're just food and/or servant stock. And I admit: I like my vampires that way. It doesn't make them unlikable or unrelatable; it just makes them not romantic.
While I feel this story is complete and doesn't really need a sequel, I do hope Moreno-Garcia will tell other stories in this world. It'd be a shame to let all that amazing world-building sit untouched.
Many vampires have taken to cartels and are running criminal enterprises all over Mexico, except for Mexico City where vampires were run off by law enforcement and large gangs. Domingo, a street kid, is riding the train where he meets Atl, a beautiful Vampire with a genetically modified Doberman (which is awesome). Atl is an Aztec Blood Drinker and is on the run from members of a very dangerous rival Necros vampire cartel. Atl drags Domingo into her situation completely when she brings him home to feed on him. Domingo becomes Atl's Renfield or servant but they develop a stronger companionship as they run together from the Narcos. As I said before Moreno-Garcia does not skimp on the action and violence which personally were my favorite parts. The family of Necros vampires seems truly evil and unable to control their impulses which make them scary. There are other vampires and characters that contribute to the story, including a detective and a gang leader, who combine forces to take on the vampires leaving a wake of violence across Mexico City. The scene where Detective Ana Aguirre and Kika from Deep Crimson make a pact to take on the vampires was one of my favorites in the book.
Certain Dark Things is definitely a highly entertaining dark fantasy noir that should satisfy fans of violent gangster fiction as well as those that enjoy vampire lore. I can't see fans of the sparkly vampires liking it but I could be wrong. I don't want to give anything away about the ending but the story seems like it could be open to a sequel and I would check it out for sure. Also, I listened to the audio version of this book as well as read the hard copy. The audiobook has great the narrator, Dan Bittner. You can't go wrong with any form of this novel.
I've been hesitant to read vampire fiction of any stripe of late simply because the bulk of it falls squarely somewhere on the Twilight spectrum, where all character development is just a precursor to some human/undead bumping of uglies. "Certain Dark Things" avoids that. Sure, there are some romantic elements to the story, but they only go so far as to define the relationship between the characters involved, not becoming the all-consuming purpose for the characters involved to exist in the first place. All of the named players in "Certain Dark Things" have great depth of character, with no one being a throw-away. Silvia's world-building is excellent as well, creating a believable environment where the existence of vampires is acknowledged and how that effects the culture and everyday life. The work done into describing the various vampire types is complex without ever becoming unwieldy. The inclusion of Aztec mythology into the fabric of the story is beautiful as well, and should not be overlooked. I definitely recommend it.
Top reviews from other countries
I mostly read SFF, so while it isn’t my go-to genre, I’ve read one or three books featuring vampires. This is the one that best depicts their otherness, the differing races, differing customs and what drives them. It clearly lays bare their sense of entitlement and utter lack of humanity, while demonstrating their dangerous ability to mimic those emotions in order to influence the humans around them. I could see all that – and yet I still wanted Atl to prevail. And as for Domingo… sweet, trusting Domingo, who was enchanted by her from the first moment he laid eyes on her. What did I want for him? Well, not to have his throat torn out, obviously. Other than that – I wasn’t sure. He clearly wanted to become part of her life and leave with her when she went on the run. Was that the best thing for him?
I don’t know how Moreno-Garcia manages to worm her characters right into my inscape – I suspect she is a witch, whose books weave an enchantment. But I have yet to read anything of hers where I haven’t passionately cared about her world and the people in it. As for what happens to Atl and Domingo – you’ll have to read the book to find out. Even if you’re sick of reading vampire books, even if you’ve never read a vampire book, pick this one up and give it a go. It is every bit as beautiful and dark as that amazing cover.
And? I really liked it. Like, a lot.
After loving Signal to Noise as much as I did (and still do) one of the things I was most excited about was Moreno-Garcia's take on vampires, and I'm so pleased to say she did exactly what she hoped I would: she took existing tropes, played around with them a little, and created something completely, wonderfully different. She weaves vampirism into Mexican folklore and Aztec history so brilliantly, creating several different subspecies of vampire in the process.
One of these vampires is our heroine, Atl, who fills me with joy. Atl is more of an anti-heroine than a heroine, the kind of protagonist I feel as though I've rarely seen without a penis. Maybe I'm just not reading enough of the right books (which is probably the case, what with there being so much to read) but I don't meet characters like Atl often enough. She's not always likable - in fact she's probably not the kind of person I'd want to have as a friend because I think it'd be a very one-sided friendship - but she's compelling, and throughout Certain Dark Things I was always eager to see more of her and learn more about her.
Our other protagonist, Domingo, was also a lot of fun. Moreno-Garcia has taken something of a stereotypical character - a geeky 'nice guy' who doesn't have much luck with the opposite sex or any other aspect of his life - and made him genuinely nice. Did I find Domingo annoying? At times, yes, but he never felt like a cardboard cut-out, and it was really refreshing to read a book in which the main character is homeless; I don't know about you, but I don't come across homeless protagonists all that often.
I enjoyed the relationship between Domingo and Atl, but it was also ultimately the reason that I gave Certain Dark Things four stars instead of five. I was a little disappointed that there was a romance between the two of them, purely and simply because, to me, there wasn't really any chemistry there beyond Domingo thinking Atl was stunning and Atl thinking Domingo was useful. Perhaps that is all their romance is - not every romance has to be the biggest love story to ever rock the world - but I loved their chemistry as friends, and throughout the first third of the novel I got excited that I might be reading a book about friendship rather than love. In some ways I was, but I adored the chemistry between Meche and Sebastian in Signal to Noise (and I know I shouldn't be comparing the two, because they're completely different novels) so I couldn't quite invest in this relationship as much.
That being said, this book is still bloody wonderful. It's the first time I've read a vampire novel that's made me feel like I'm reading something new, something fresh, and I love how in parts it's gritty and nasty and dark. There's an ensemble cast at work here, from our heroes to our villains to all the people that get caught in the cross-fire, and I think what I loved most about Certain Dark Things is that it's a story about a few hectic days in one city, like someone has taken a snapshot of this new, bloodthirsty Mexico and turned it into a book.
If you haven't read any of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's work yet then I don't quite know what you're doing with your life, she's a fantastically fresh voice in the world of speculative fiction and Certain Dark Things is proof of her creativity. It's being released this October, just in time for Halloween, so pre-order your copy now and meet the vampires you never knew you needed.
I mean, if you still have doubts despite this gorgeous summary, let me assure you: It really is that good: gory, scary, funny, stylish, intense, imaginative and exciting as well as tragic and romantic. The different kinds of vampires introduced in the story are a highlight to begin with.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia's writing is as beautiful as in "Gods of Jade and Shadow"; she's sure to become one of my favourite insta-buy authors.