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Monday, August 14, 2023

Book Review: Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas

Vampires of El Norte
by Isabel Cañas
August 15, 2023
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: vampires, Gothic, horror, thriller
ISBN: 9780593436721
As the daughter of a rancher in 1840s Mexico, Nena knows a thing or two about monsters—her home has long been threatened by tensions with Anglo settlers from the north. But something more sinister lurks near the ranch at night, something that drains men of their blood and leaves them for dead.

Something that once attacked Nena nine years ago.

Believing Nena dead, Néstor has been on the run from his grief ever since, moving from ranch to ranch working as a vaquero. But no amount of drink can dispel the night terrors of sharp teeth; no woman can erase his childhood sweetheart from his mind.

When the United States invades Mexico in 1846, the two are brought abruptly together on the road to war: Nena as a curandera, a healer striving to prove her worth to her father so that he does not marry her off to a stranger, and Néstor as a member of the auxiliary cavalry of ranchers and vaqueros. But the shock of their reunion—and Nena’s rage at Néstor for seemingly abandoning her long ago—is quickly overshadowed by the appearance of a nightmare made flesh.

And unless Nena and Néstor work through their past and face the future together, neither will survive to see the dawn.


Nena decides to go look for a buried treasure that Néstor’s abuela mentioned in the tales of the supernatural she told the children. Néstor decides to help her. While out looking she is attacked by something that bites her and drinks a bit of her blood. When he brings her home and he thinks she is dead, socNéstor flees in horror and thinking it is his fault.

Except she never died.

Years later, Néstor has grown up and works cattle. He learns Nena is not dead, but has forgotten the incident with the monster. Nena believes he had abandoned her.

When war breaks out between the Mexicans living in Texas and the Mexican Army and Americans, there are creatures like what bit her and she had forgotten: vampires.

A story that is romantic and sexy combined with horror and legends, it is a smart, good story with a hero and heroine you will care for, along with history of Mexico and Texas in its early days.

I gave Vampires of El Norte 4 sheep.

Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney

Check out Pamela's review of The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

About the Author:
Isabel Cañas is a Mexican-American speculative fiction writer. After having lived in Mexico, Scotland, Egypt, and Turkey, among other places, she has settled (for now) in New York City, where she works on her PhD dissertation in medieval Islamic literature and writes fiction inspired by her research and her heritage.

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