So, the end is near for Book Riot’s Reading Challenge 2019. This is the last book on the list and I hope I’ve saved the best for last. When I saw the description of vampire noir, I was certainly eager to get my hands on it.
Perfect choice of main character. Rather like Oskar from ‘Let the Right One In’ but in much more tragic circumstances. Domingo is undeniably at the bottom of the heap, rooting through rubbish for a living and just a tiny sidestep away from being sucked into a gang or worse. Despite all that, he still has a good heart and a rather positive view of the world and the future.
I absolutely adore all the world building. There are all sorts of varieties and all of them have their own abilities, handicaps and histories. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the vampire could shapeshift into a hummingbird. Every country has their own reaction to vampires too and the hostility born out of misinformation is excellently portrayed. It’s kind of like Anno Dracula but taken more seriously.
Not to be outdone, the world around the characters is fascinating without the vampires. Physical alterations are commonplace, even given to pets, and this is a really ugly place to live in. Corruption is commonplace, as are druglords, crime and hopelessness. Not even hunters of the night want to stick around too long in this place.
Extremely terrifying villain. Nick is a monster, living purely for his desires and his truly savage nature. He might pretend to be doing it for revenge but it’s clear he’s only using it as an excuse to mask his more degenerate drives. Every scene makes him worse and amps up the tension for the final scene nicely.
Cool take on the ‘Renfield’. Far from a simpering slave, Roderigo is more a beleaguered babysitter who constantly has to run after his ‘master’, clearing up his messes and trying to keep him out of too much trouble. Poor Roderigo, he doesn’t deserve to be running after Nick.
However, it’s not just vampires and criminals we get to listen to. Ana, the woman who seems like the last good detective in the city, is a good character too. She has a dark past with vampires and, though she’s trying to act with integrity, everything in the city does its best to bring her down to their level. In the end, she has to choose between her morals and the welfare of her and her daughter and it’s not an easy choice to make, nor would either end well for her. It’s a nice study in how the best of people can become corrupt in the worst of circumstances.
I must look up Aztec myths on blood drinkers. Oddly, that’s one area of vampire mythology I don’t know much about it. I love books that springboard me towards interesting stuff.
Love springs up, of course. It feels natural, though. Domingo needed someone to trust and so did Atl at that moment. In that moment, they were perfectly suited for each other and you can’t go through several near-death experiences without developing some feelings for each other.
Look into Atl’s past and you will find that she’s no innocent. In fact, she has done some truly horrifying things and, if Nick hadn’t been even worse by comparison, it would be easy to turn against her. The moral ambiguity in her is a bold step and it definitely works.
I wonder if the Necros are an allegory for European colonisation. They intruded South America from Europe and delight in destroying and subjugating all the indigenous vampire breeds, along with their culture and history, just for greed and a need for supremacy.
Nice final showdown. Everyone got what they deserved in this end!
Glossary at the end is a nice touch. I’m definitely going to be referring back to it and I’m definitely doing a CROWS review on this next year.