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Certain Dark Things

Certain Dark Things - Silvia Moreno-Garcia I'm not widely read on vampires but I think this is an original book, I particularly liked that there are different breeds of vampires and that the romance is just a subplot (thankfully, because it’s plain boring). The Mexico City setting, the Aztec mythology and the whole narcos-vampire combo also worked well for me, as did the nicely dark tones and the spot-on worldbuilding.

The vampires are organized in rival gangs and have unique skills; they have different societal customs, some embrace modernity, some breathe by tradition and they frequently engage in both infighting and expansion efforts. They also clash or make alliances with human gangs. Drug trafficking, organized crime and the police are a fundamental part of this novel, which is another element of novelty.

The other best feature of the book is the characters: they are not Mary Sues or Gary Stues, (vampires or otherwise), they all have a background and feel realistic so I became invested in them very smoothly. There are several effective and well-handled third-person PoVs: a spoiled vampire heiress which saw her world collapsing, a slum boy with an earnest heart, a middle-aged cop working in a hostile environment who needs to make ends meet, a narcissistic vampire scion with an obsession, a despondent vampire servant, an embittered Revenant lost in his past and a biomodified doberman (okay, not really a viewpoint) are just the main players of this all-out war.

The tale is straightforward and spans a few days, it was a quick read and I liked its engaging details, the vivid setting and the intriguing characters on both sides of the argument.
The main drawback is the ending because it is rushed. It wasn't disappointing in itself but it felt neglected after the previous careful building up of tension and the character-development. There is no cliffhanger and this book is a standalone, but the story is completely open to potential sequels.

Sacrifice. The face of all earthly things at one point is sacrifice.