In Certain Dark Things, a lonely street kid named Domingo, hooks up with an Aztec vampire named Atl, who is on the run from another species of vampire after her family was murdered for their drug cartel ties. Atl must make it to South America and needs Domingo’s help to get there.
Set in Mexico City, the author subjugates the classic vampire tale and intertwines it with Aztec and Mexican mythology. As Atl shares her past, we learn a vast amount about the vampires that inhabit Atl’s world; There are multiple species and sub-species of vampire, and if one considers the vast array of vampire mythologies from so many world cultures, this wide array of vampire species not only makes sense, but it’s a very clever twist on standard vampire lore.
The story line, though simple, is layered with evocative color in the telling, and the world building is tangible and tactile But the characters are not particularly likeable, and word choice and voice give a dirge-like feel to the book as a whole as the story moves forward. A very unromantic romance develops between Domingo and Atl that may or may not be a slap at the romance genre.
Though this new take on the vampire tale is fresh and interesting, the tale is less thrilling than it should be.