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 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.
I will admit that I thought I was sick of reading about vampires. I wasn’t. The true magic in this book involves the vampire culture and history and how it has affected human society as a whole. The world building is fantastic. This review won’t really do it justice. But that’s okay.
So imagine that in 1967 humans discover that not only are vampires real but they have been evolving over time. In fact there be at least 10 sub-species of vampire. Popular culture got a lot of facts wrong. Each group has its own customs, habits, traditions, politics, weaknesses, and powers. Despite these powers, humans still have the upper-hand due to their adaptibility and sheer numbers. Each country has dealt with vampires in different ways. But vampires have entered the mainstream and aren’t easy to exterminate.
One such vampire is Atl who is a member of the Tlāhuihpochtlin clan. They are natives of Mexico and are closely tied to the Aztec traditions. Problem is that they are in the midst of a turf battle with the Necros clan who originally hale from Central Europe. The Necros spurn the old ways and are trying to achieve dominance. Atl has fled from her family compound to Mexico City with the hope of escaping further into South America. The problem is that she is a spoiled younger daughter with no real sense of living outside her clan’s rigid and pampered society. She be in trouble.
Enter Domingo, a human, who makes his living trash-picking and lives in the margins. He runs into Atl in the subway and is surprised that she notices him. Atl wants a willing meal. Domingo wants money. But both end up in an unexpected partnership for survival.
Now while the world building is the highlight, the plot is also absolutely wonderful. It’s gritty, action-packed, and thoroughly engaging. I loved Atl as a character and wanted her to succeed even if she is selfish, very inhuman, and basically a bitch. I wanted sweet, loveable, naive Domingo to get the hell away from her and yet understood his desire to help Atl. The push and pull of the two of them was excellent fun. The gang-like interactions and mystery sections of Atl tracking down her family’s past were thrilling. And of course, learning about all the vampire clans along the way was delightful.
And the ending was unexpected yet perfect. This is me first Moreno-Garcia book but not me last. I highly recommend this to all of the crew. Arrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel (truncated to remove spoilers):
Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…
Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eeking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.
Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers and a high-ranking member of a criminal family, attempts to keep a low profile while mapping an escape route to South America. Domingo is her only ally. He’s also smitten . . .
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