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Certain Dark Things

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,759 ratings  ·  732 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.

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 drink
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Jalilah The sex is not graphic but the violence is. I guess it depends on the 13 or 14 year old what they normally read. It is definitely not a YA novel.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jalilah Kind of because I am stilll romantic at heart, but the same time though thinking really of Domingos well being and future he's probably better off wit…moreKind of because I am stilll romantic at heart, but the same time though thinking really of Domingos well being and future he's probably better off without Atl. The relationship would never really be equal and he would be constantly exposed to violence. This way he has money and can hopefully do something more with his life. (less)

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Rick Riordan
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Certain Dark Things is not just another vampire novel. Set in Mexico City, the novel imagines an alternate present in which the discovery of vampires' existence in the 1970s has fundamentally reshaped the world of the 21st Century. Mexico City has become a closed nation city, leaving the rest of the country at the mercy of powerful vampire gangs who fight for territory against each other and the humans. And it's not just one kind of vampire. Vampires from every culture in the world -- dozens of ...more
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Jun 05, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Update 08/2020: Skeletal page for new edition with a few order links functional:

Update: Happy to say Certain Dark Things, which has been out of print for a while now, will come out in a new edition courtesy of Tor in 2021. See announcement here:

People e-mail me several times a month asking where they can buy Certain Dark Things, so I figured I'd leave this message here: it's out of print. You can't buy it. Some lib
C.G. Drews
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oh hey look! A vampire novel that is filled with culture-rich folklore and excellent writing and isn't cliche or awful! SOMEONE FRAME THIS BOOK. Or, I don't know, read it too?? Read it. Then frame it. And I also fully confess I 500% read this because I saw VE Schwab recommend it on her twitter and like...yes. (Also I totally see why and it reminded me of This Savage Song in a smol way. Not like a lot?? But I see connections.)

• it's really bloody
• it's set in Mexico Ci
4ish stars.

Really a great book. Especially considering it's a vampire book. Don't get me wrong, the reason I don't like vampire books isn't because of the campiness or the shimmering in the light, it's because of the blood. I can't handle blood. Typing the word blood is making me light-headed. Drinking blood and the teeth in the neck and the words 'veins' and 'arteries,' stakes piercing through hearts blech blech blech blech. This book has made me like vampires. In spite of the blood.

I think this is a pass for me.

Domingo is a seventeen year-old who lives on the streets, getting by by being invisible and selling useful garbage. One night on the subway, he encounters Atl, an Nahautl (Aztec) woman who seems to be about his age, and her dog. She's on the run from Rodrigo, who is set on hunting down Atl and her family. It's a forward time, or perhaps a parallel time, when the world knows about vampires, and there are genetically modified dogs and such, so it isn't a surprise to
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, noir, vampires
What a treat! This was a fabulous vampire book. Admittedly I'm biased because I enjoy a good vampire story, but even if you're not usually a fan, I would still recommend this one. It's original and with the exception of Fevre Dream by George R. Martin, is the best I've read.
This is a modern take on gang war-fare in Mexico City. The main character, Atl, is a young vampire on the run from a different vampire sub species and gang. What is fascinating, as other reviewers have established, is the det
Chelsea Humphrey
Jun 29, 2020 marked it as future-tbr
HUZZAH! Certain Dark Things is being resurrected and republished in trade paperback 2021!

Read about it HERE.
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Longer RTC.

Remember what Anne Rice did for the vampire novel 40 years ago with "Interview with the Vampire"? Silvia Moreno-Garcia has done that now with THIS BOOK. This was a fresh and elegantly blood-soaked reboot of the vampire tale, and I did not want to put it down. From Dusk till Dawn meets Blade meets Vampire: The Masquerade, but polished to perfection.

Going right onto my Top 5 Books of 2016 list! Absolutely stunning

////Seriously AMAZING.//// Totally changes the game as far as the vampire
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I’ve been champing at the bit to read Certain Dark things ever since I first heard about the book. Back then it still didn’t have a title, but the mere description of it clinched it for me. I’m not someone who’s ever needed much motivation to pick up a vampire story after all, and after learning that one of the main characters is a descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, I was even more intrigued.

That the book takes place in M
Althea Ann
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 fo
Jenny (Reading Envy)
When I went looking for a book that can count for Latinx Heritage Month and future Spooktober recommendations I was not disappointed! A walled off Mexico City... Several species of vampires, one which traces back to the days of the Aztecs... This was an enjoyable read.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A refreshing and original take on vampires, filled with vivid characters in a rich setting.

The story is set in Mexico City, where Atl is a vampire on the run from a rival clan, and Domingo is a garbage picker who lives alone on the streets. Unlike other books where the urban setting can seem somewhat arbitrary and interchangeable, Certain Dark Things is imbued with cultural texture that comes to life so that the setting here is almost like another integral character. The sights, smells, and feel
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
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 mode
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A dark and intimate little story of vampires, gangsters and life in Mexico City.

Atl is a Tlāhuihpochtli, a native aztec vampire, one of eight different sub-species of vampire. She has fled to Mexico City which has banned all vampires, but she's being pursued by the Godoy, a Necros vampire clan (European vampires) that her family is in conflict with. In Mexico City Atl meets Domingo, a young street-kid with a fascination for vampires and a painful naivete. What follows is a desperate chase throug
Candace Robinson
Loved the dark aspects and the ending!
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I will absolutely finish this book someday, but today is not that day.
Book Riot Community
I’m a fan of (all different kinds) of vampires stories, but it was refreshing to read a suitably dark novel with excellent world-building. Moreno-Garcia weaves together Aztec mythology into her vampire lore, and situates the clans in the drug world of Mexico. There’s a cast of sympathetic and layered characters, and the writing is equally effortless even when describing gory action scenes and contemplative moments considering moral dilemmas. This is a new favorite.

–Molly Wetta

from The Best Books
Oct 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Domingo is a street kid living in Mexico City in the safe zone from the threat of vampires. One day though Domingo meets a strange girl who offers him money to come with her. Domingo hasn't been above prostitution to survive but question why this lovely girl would want to pay him when he should be begging for her company. Curious Domingo finds himself following Atl to her apartment where she reveals that she is actually a vampire and descendant of Aztec blood drinkers.

Atl has been in hiding in
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I think this had the unfortunate luck of coming directly after another 3 star read for me. Halfway through I just didn't have the patience for it anymore. It isn't particularly bad, but I just didn't enjoy most of it.

The setting was fabulous and very well done. It's set in Mexico City, exploring the darker, dirtier corners of the city: the subway tunnels, warehouses where dog fights take place, poor apartment complexes, heck she even takes us to a landfill. The feeling and tone were perfect.

I ju
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Oct 23, 2016 rated it did not like it

After the awesome world from Obsidian and Blood which only has three books, I didn't mind a touch of Aztec vampirism at all. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the only thing I liked in this book. Let me rephrase that: the take on vampires in Certain Dark Things is great. Not really original since there are other authors who used different types of vampires, but still good and really well combined with mythology and folklore.

There are five POVs: Atl's (a young vampire girl on the run from a
Jennifer Gaarder
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Read my reviews at

Certain Dark Things: A Novel (

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

thomas Dunne Books, Imprint of St. Martin's Press, October 25, 2016

323 Pages, Hardcover Edition

Goodreads Rating: 3.66/My Rating 3.00

"Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.

Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to s
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars******

The nitty-gritty: Dark and deliciously dangerous, with a unique take on vampires that will make jaded readers sit up and take notice.

I have to admit that I honestly thought this was young adult before I started reading, but it surprised me (in more ways than one!) by being most certainly not YA. Certain Dark Things has made my list of all-time favorite vampire novels, and I’m so happy to have finally read a book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. If you like your vampires dark, nasty and
This was really good, starting with the gorgeous cover with the stylized hummingbird over the woman's face. I loved the author's writing and the different species of vampire (the information at the back of the book was particularly helpful!) The characters were wonderful, with no one being particularly heroic or sympathetic, though I did empathize with street kid and vampire-obsessed Domingo and Atl's Doberman). It was wonderful also seeing a 50-year old detective, Ana Aguirre, and her attempt t ...more
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-authors
Noir crime thriller plus vampires set in Mexico City! Certain Dark Things was a really unique take on a vampire story and as always, Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves in Mexican culture, history, and relevant issues with interesting, morally complex characters, not to mention addressing the harmful effects of colonization. (in this case with a particularly nasty sub-species of vampires from Europe)

This is a multi-perspective novel, but the primary narrative revolves around Atl (descended from an Azte
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it

Vampires were my thing back in the day, way before Twilight. I'm talking early '90s during the Christopher Pike era and then shortly after with Anita Blake. It was rare to find paranormal books like this back then unless you wanted to read Anne Rice, which I didn't. So, this was a welcome nostalgia trip as I've mostly been reading comics and manga and not so many novels. I had forgotten how much fun vampire books can be, especially when they're fresh like this one was.

I don't mind when an au
The Captain
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! It be no secret that Sarah @ brainfluff likes to increase me ports for plunder list by exponentially high amounts. And thank goodness because her awesome review led me to this amazing read. She said:

"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
Eve Messenger
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
(Actually, 4.5 stars.) Let me start by saying that, even though I’m not big into vampires, Certain Dark Things was a thoroughly entertaining read. This YA paranormal thriller is told from alternating viewpoints of Atl, a naïve young female vampire who’s illegally entered the vampire-free zone of near-future Mexico City; Domingo, a homeless Mexican teen; and Ana, a tough Mexico City cop.

The tenuous balance between humans and vampires, as well as clashes between vampire families and drug cartels,
“Bad idea. You and Atl,” Bernardino said. “Your attempt at a romance.”

Domingo raised his head and looked at the vampire, who was standing by the door, holding an oil lamp between his hands. He looked the part of a vampire who had ventured forth from Dracula’s castle.

“I’m sorry?” Domingo replied.

“Don’t bother denying it.”

Domingo shrugged, unwilling to commit any words. Bernardino set his lantern upon a table and smiled at Domingo, though the smile was hollow and held no mirth. It was a copy o
Allison Hurd
A cool urban fantasy featuring a vampire from Aztec lore, hints and glimpses of a whole world of vampiric abilities, a trusting street kid, and a cop who just wants to stay out of the way of bloodsuckers.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list) (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The mythology. Vampires are everywhere, but I doubt you've seen them like th
Chasia Lloyd
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing

This is a super kickass story with rivaling Mexican vampire clans infused with Aztec mythology and noir. It is gritty, fun, and exciting.

Certain Dark Things is a multi-POV paranormal, each character vastly different from the other. We start off with Domingo, a homeless youth who has a huge fascination with vampires from the lore he's collected from comics
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Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow and Untamed Shore. She has also edited a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu's Daughters). Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination.

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