Cover Image: Certain Dark Things

Certain Dark Things

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Member Reviews

The characters as well are all really well-developed. Domingo as the lead is the perfect choice as we navigate the world with him and his human vulnerabilities are the key to his strength making him more endearing than ever. The development Atl goes through is so engaging to watch especially as her relationship with Domingo develops through out. Nick provides a truly dastardly antagonist to the narrative and the glimpses of the him we get through his chapters make his end all the more satisfying.
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This being a reprint, and knowing the author has continued writing makes me a bit more mellow in my review here, I feel. This reads like an early novel by an author who wants to break out of the Western-centric fantasy tradition and is fairly successful at it. There are moments when there is just too much of "look at me" in the book. I mean take for example the "companions" of vampires in this world have a author-original (I assume) name of Tlapalehuiani but when introducing the term, the author states the protagonist "refused to use the word 'Renfiled'" as it was a "coarse term foisted upon them by Anglo pop culture." Good, great, invent your own term for the idea, but don't draw attention to the fact that you don't want to use the "western" term. There was no point to emphasising this. This way you only draw attention to the "western" term and you are defining your own term in relation to it, and not to your own created world!
All in all, I will check out more of this author's books in the future.
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A DNF for me, unfortunately. I thought the character and world design were brilliant, but the writing was so choppy and almost rough that I found it really hard to stay focused, so ultimately I just gave up ^^; I think this would definitely work for the right reader, but the writing just made it too hard for me to push through.
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Vampire novels are back in vogue, but leave it to Silvia Moreno-Garcia – apparently a master of any genre she touches – to create something completely new in Certain Dark Things.

Vivid and violent, Certain Dark Things is a neo-noir featuring a wide-eyed street kid called Domingo, plus criminals, cops, and many, many vampires. Many different types of vampires, too. Chief among them is Atl, a descendant of Aztec bloodsuckers who meets Domingo while looking for a quick way out of Mexico City.

"She seems to enjoy your company, she may even like you, and yet. Don’t deceive yourself, my boy, this is not a love story."
- Certain Dark Things, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

There’s a whole host of morally grey characters, a fast-moving plot, and plenty of lines that I loved.

"He liked to think that there were heroes and villains, he liked picturing Atl as a damsel in distress. He liked the black and white of the comic book panels, the simple speech bubbles above characters. Good vampires. Bad vampires. And she had to be good because she was attractive and young and his friend. Right?"
- Certain Dark Things, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Let’s talk about the hardcover:

I read an advanced digital copy of Certain Dark Things on NetGalley, but the hardcover has recently been re-released with fantastic new art.

Originally published in 2016, the book had since gone out of print, but unsurprisingly – given Moreno-Garcia’s surging popularity and many awards – it’s thankfully been resurrected.


Certain Dark Things isn’t something I’d typically pick up, but I’d probably read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s shopping list at this point – her writing is that good. She has a way with words that’s sparse and subtle at times, but wholly evocative and immersive. There’s something almost cinematic about her storytelling style – in fact, I think this book would make an excellent film.

Definitely pick it up if you’re a fan of the author.
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I dnfed it around 40% and I was really pushing it. I requested it only because there were vampires but did not honestly get into it. The writing was weird for me, I don't know how to describe, but it felt unnatural for me.

Thanks Netgalley for the eArc of this book and I'm leaving the review voluntarily.
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Like a breeze of fresh air in vampire fiction - I'm so glad Moreno-Garcia gets her older works reprinted, it's what she deserves, with cover redesigns and all! The near-futuristic, almost dystopian vibes of Mexico City in Certain Dark Things remind me of the Blade franchise, which was deeply formative to me in my early teens. It could have been 5 stars, if I had been into the romance, but that was sadly a major part of the plot I couldn't get behind. In any case this is only the second instance of me reading a non-Anglo-centric vampire reimagination, but I hope it inspires more authors to put their culture out there!
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I really wanted to like this because I like vampire novels and the connected sound incredibly interesting, but the book fell flat for me. I don't particularly enjoy the sci-fi genre, but there were elements that I was surprised to really like within the book. I think this book would be great for the right reader
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Certain Dark Things is a rich and compelling story about Atl, an Aztec vampire who has fled to Mexico City after the death of her mother and sister with a rival vampire clan on her tail. Domingo is a street kid who is immediately mesmerished after meeting Atl. Atl seeks a way to escape the city before the rival vampire clan, the Necros, will kill her. Intrigued by Domingo and his devotion to her, Atl lets herself grow closer to him and accepts his help in getting out of the city. Will Atl and Domingo be able to make it out of Mexico City alive?

Certain Dark Things has a rich world-building and an even richer and compelling history of the different vampire species. Atl is a mysterious and interesting character with a complex background. Domingo is a naive and kind-hearted guy willing to help Atl out. And there's Cualli, Atl's genetically modified Dobermann, who's definitely at times the star of this show.

Even though I enjoyed the story a lot, I found the pacing to be really slow. So even though the story was good, it got dragged a bit. The pace did pick up after halfway through and that's when the action started. The stakes got higher and made me turn the page faster in order to find out if Atl, Domingo and Cualli would make it out alive.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia knows how to craft a beautiful and compelling story and Certain Dark Things was no different. I give this book 3,5 stars and can't wait to her more of Silvia Moreno Garcia's work.
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I'm not sure if this is totally my genre but i did still enjoy it. The different species of vampire were really fascinating and it seems like Moreno-Garcia was inspired by the vampire mythology around the world. I found all the characters likeable except Nick but i dont think you are suppose to like him. I'm curious what happened to the characters next but feel satisfied with the ending.
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I revived the ARC from Netgally in exchange for and honest review. 

Absolutely in love with this book! It’s the fist Silvia Moreno Garcia that I’ve reas but surely I want to read everything she’s ever written. 
I love the names of the characters and the subtle and not so subtle references to Mexican pop culture of the 70s Most characters are rounded and with their own flows which made them more realistic even in an alternative Mexico City we can easily see the humanity in the vampires and their sub-species. It’s not as fast paced as I’d like yet  there’s plenty of action. I’d say the author took more time in character development and world building. 
This is a vampire book like no other I love it so much they I actually purchase it on audio version so I could hear the pronunciation on Mexican words and I wasn’t disappointed. 
Highly recommend!
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I much prefer her newer work. I think I've almost read everything Silvia Moreno-Garcia has published. This was another one that didn't do it for me. The writing felt way more choppy and stilted, the fight scenes were meh and now I can kind of see a pattern in her characters. Domingo felt very much like Elvis.
Although this was not that great for me personally, I'll be looking forward to any of her new titles.
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At this point who doesn’t love a good book written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia?
I literally have nothing new to say, “Certain Dark Things” is just as good as any other of her books that I’ve read.
I recommend this one to everyone!
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Certain Dark Things is an alternate history set in Mexico City, a fresh take on vampire lore, with substantial world-building and exploration of global vampire lore. The plot maintained a quick pace, a thrilling atmosphere of Mexican crime and vampire lore. Unfortunately, the ending felt flat, a little sudden and under-developed. Despite this, Certain Dark Things was a great read.

A highly anticipated novel promising crime elements, horror and vampires. Certain Dark Things was a refreshing exploration little known vampire lore. A great read for anyone who enjoys vampire stories, horror and dark fiction. A recommended read!

Certain Dark Things is an alternate history where the existence of vampires has become well-known and governments taken measures to control, destroy or contain the threat they pose. Mexico is run by drug cartels and violent gangs, the warring vampire clans at the apex but only Mexico City is a vampire free zone. Or so the police force, much of the population and government think. When Atl escapes the destruction of her own vampire clan, an ancient Aztec vampire race who were warrior priestesses and flees south to Mexico City, she brings another clan of vampires on her trail wanting vengeance in the form of her death. Unable to survive any other way in a city where she is prey instead of the predator, Atl recruits Domingo, a roughened street kid about her own age, honest and dependable to be her ‘Renfield’. But soon Atl and Domingo rely more heavily on each other than a vampire and servant should. Only together can they hope to survive Mexico City, the violent street gangs, the police force and the vampires seeking Atl.
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Since the explosive success of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic, readers have been blessed by reprints of some of her earlier work. When recommending her to friends i often try to explain that she's a bit like Alfred Hitchcock. I mean, not the white man part, or the slightly sadistic ******* who liked to torture his blond leading ladies. (not that Moreno-Garcia doesn't torture her readers with her twists and turns, but we honestly love her for it). What I love about Hitch is that he seemed to set himself certain challenges with his filmmaking. Who else would make an entire movie set in one single room for example? What makes me think Moreno-Garcia is similar is the fact that every title she writes is different and unique. From body-horror and abjection, to journey's to the underworld, to fantasies of manners, and now vampires. 

However, these aren't just any old bloodsuckers, these are vampires with a difference. In a futuristic Mexico  City filled with Neo-noir violence, and a history of powerful vampire gangs having taken over in the past before their expulsion from the entire city, the story begins with a young street kid hustling to make a few dollars, and a beautiful woman who offers him a strange bargain. Atl has her own struggle to survive, despite her preternatural power. Not only is she hiding from anti-vampire authorities, but she is also being hunted by another species of vampire. When she meets Domingo, all she wants is his silence.....and his blood.

If you love vampire fiction, or if you loved Rebecca Roanhorse's Black Sun, or the Obsidian and Blood books by Aliette De Boddard, the you will love Certain dark Things. The richness of the many varied vampire mythologies meets the depth of Atl's Aztec culture, the Naive yet cynical Domingo, and the beautiful, mysterious, ancient and lonely Atl combine wonderfully, and luckily for us, now get to reach a new audience.

BTW, if you haven't read Mexican Gothic yet, what are you waiting for!
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A resurrected book and thank goodness it has resurfaced.  Every book the author pens is different but are united by skilled writing, tight narrative and a page turning quality.
In Certain Dark Things we find ourselves in a world where vampires are a fact of life, though reviled and living in enclaves in countries which will tolerate them.  The species Vampire has several sub-species and our protagonist Atl has a lineage from one of the oldest clans stretching back to the Aztecs.  After making some poor choices leading to the murder of her family, Atl is on the run with her faithful dog Cualli and is hiding out in Mexico City - a vampire free zone.  There she meets Domingo - a sifter of rubbish with a curious and optimistic outlook on life.  Domingo and Atl form a bond which deepens as the story continues and leads to a poigniant end.  
If you want a different view on vampires and a gritty, gripping story then this is the book for you.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for access to this ARC all views are my own.
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4.5 ⭐️ 

I start by saying that the cover of this book is spectacular, as well as all the references to the cultures of the past. As a lover of folklore in general, this work is "educational" from a mythical point of view and that’s a feature that I really appreciate.
Silvia Moreno Garcia’s writing style is masterful, but that is well known. 
It’s a little twisted, but I think that the high register is required for the world we find ourselves into. 
The vampires in this world don’t correspond to the same idea of vampires we already have, but to creatures that act differently, even the reasons that motivate them to do certain things are different. The world-building is amazing and detailed. 
This book drags you into a world shaken by crime until it traps the reader in its dynamics, as it does with our main characters, Atl and Domingo.
I love Domingo and his personality. Garcia has a wonderful way of building characters. revealing them as the plot progresses.
Atl is an extremely charming, beautiful and intelligent figure. Besides, she’s an extremely smart vampire with so much strength and charisma that several times I wanted to be her. I certainly wouldn’t take many of her actions as an example but she’s one of the most intriguing protagonists I’ve ever met.
"Certain Dark Things" is a book that never bores you despite the slowness that, in my opinion, is the only small flaw I have encountered. It’s a work that covers a multitude of themes. There’s a lot of representation and cultural gems that cannot help but enrich the mind.
I strongly advise you to read it, because it’s rare to meet such interesting characters and stories. Don’t be discouraged by the narrative rhythm and get a copy right away!
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Another book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia I really enjoyed. Every book by her is different but they share her good writing style. This was no different. I loved the setting, and the characters and worldbuilding were great.
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This was so gripping and so dark, I loved it! Silvia has definitely become an author that I instantly buy without reading up on the book - the books are just THAT good! Don't hesitate to get on this fan bus, it's a ride!
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Going into this, I had no idea what “neo noir” meant and I’m not really that into vampire fiction BUT it’s Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I will read anything and everything she puts out into the world. As it turned out, I didn’t need to fully understand what neo noir meant because once you start reading it all makes sense.

One thing that I loved about this book was Domingo as a main character. His innocence contrasts so deeply against Atl’s true nature as a vampire. In fact, I felt the same way about Domingo that I did Nina in The Beautiful Ones. Both characters were seen as somehow undesirable by their society but were beautiful on the inside, showing kindness and loyalty above anything else. As for Atl, well… she was one kick ass femme fatale. I liked that she was eventually able to be vulnerable with Domingo.

Certain Dark Things was both not as dark as I expected and gorier than I expected it to be. That’s on me for making assumptions about the level of gore where VAMPIRES are concerned. So I must admit I did skip a few of the gorier moments. There weren’t many of them but the ones that are present are a bit gruesome.

All in all, I thought that Certain Dark Things was a fantastically engaging story. I thought the inclusion of extra content at the end was a nice touch and not something I’ve come across often. (For reference, there is an encyclopedia about the different vampire clans, an interview with the author, recipes and discussion questions.) I think that fans of vampire fiction or Silvia Moreno-Garcia in general will find something here to love.
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A gripping and dark adventure with unique vampires in alternate Mexico City. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a must read author. Her characters keep from the page and feel truly immersive.
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