Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas: Lyrical and Unique

Vampires and vaqueros face off on the Texas-Mexico border in this supernatural western from the author of The Hacienda.

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.

In Vampires of El Norte, Isabel Cañas has created something beautiful, a story that is lyrical and unique. The first element that caught my attention was the lyrical and haunting descriptions, spellbinding in their ability to paint a picture on your mind’s eye. The Texas landscape of 1846 will come alive for you. 

The second aspect that captured me was the strong and charismatic characters of Nena and Nestor. Both have made missteps and have to face the actions of their past to come together. The powerful emotions that both feel are evocative and timeless. The relationship between the pair is not easy and they both must struggle to come to a solution that will allow the pair to realize their love. The historical elements add to the tension and heightens emotional moments. The history is clearly well researched and authentic. 

Finally, Isabel Cañas has created a completely unique type of vampire or perhaps re-invented from her research into the time period and stories of her people. But wherever the vampire originates, she has a creative change to them, allowing them all the deadliness and darkness of the creature but putting it in an entirely new reference. And I love that her unique vision includes vampires as both human and not. With such a lyrical and unique story, it is impossible not to love it.

If you love stories about horror with emotional scenes and romantic relationships, this story will resonate with you long after you finish reading. Between the strong characters, the beautiful descriptions, the lyrical and unique vision, this is one story that will keep haunting you long into the night.  

Rating: 5 out of 5 collars. 

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