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Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas

Horror

Vampires of El Norte

Repeat author

Isabel Cañas is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include The Hacienda.

by Isabel Cañas

Excellent choice

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Sink your teeth into this sumptuous border tale full of cowboys, forbidden romance, and things going bump in the night.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Romance

    Romance

  • Illustrated icon, Multiple_Viewpoints

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Feminist

    Feminist

  • Illustrated icon, Creepy

    Creepy

Synopsis

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 attacks 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.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Vampires of El Norte.

Vampires of El Norte

1

NENA

Octubre 1837

It was often said that a strange kind of magic ran in the waters of Rancho Los Ojuelos, the kind that made the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca go mad, the kind that made mustangs swift and the land rich. Nena knew, even as a child, that magic was a turn of phrase. A way that adults talked about bounty and blessings: with reverence, and perhaps a bit of fear, for when you had much, you never knew how much of it could be lost.

She and Néstor were thirteen that year. She knew that magic, in as many words, was not real. But as summer’s heat stretched thin and reached into fall, there was something she sensed whenever she set her palms to the soil of the herb garden behind la casa mayor or turned her face to the twilight-bruised sky. A strangeness. A ripple of unease. An understanding, though timid at first, that perhaps there was some truth to the stories of blood-hungry beasts and river ghosts that the abuelas on the rancho spun to keep children close to home after sunset. A sense that there was a reason to watch one’s back when shadows grew long.

Perhaps magic was the wrong word altogether.

For what Nena and Néstor found that night was monstrous.

For the second time that week, Nena slipped out from under her blankets, stone floor cool beneath her bare feet. She had waited for hours, sleepless, her mind racing as she counted the heavy breaths of her younger sister and cousins. At last it was time. The moon hung full outside the bedroom’s single window, heavy as a bag of coins. By its light, she snatched an already dirty dress and slipped it over her head. It had a muddied hem; the plans she and Néstor had would make it dirtier still. He would already be waiting for her by the anacahuita trees, a shovel in hand. Ready to dig. Ready to test the last of the fireside stories that they still believed.

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Why I love it

I have long been drawn to stories about vampires. Admittedly, my fascination began in my teen years with a certain book series, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become interested in vampires that are a bit more sinister than the ones I grew up with. It is safe to say that I love the bloodsucking creatures that Isabel Cañas has envisioned in her newest novel, but there is something to be said for her masterful portrayal of the tumultuous setting of 1840s Mexico and her compelling cast of characters, all of which combined make for a truly special read.

On one fateful night, Nena and Néstor are attacked by a monster so dangerous, it leaves Nena on the brink of death. Believing his friend to be dead, Néstor flees their home, the ranch, and spends the next nine years running from his grief. But when the United States attacks Mexico, Néstor comes back to the life he left behind only to discover Nena is alive. Together, they reluctantly head into battle, only to discover that something monstrous awaits them. And if Nena and Néstor don’t work out their differences, they may not survive the night.

Cañas has created the perfect blend of historical fiction and horror that is a true delight to read. I found myself reveling in the danger that lurked in the shadows of this world and gladly following Nena and Néstor into the darkness, wondering if they would survive. Vampires of El Norte is the perfect read for anyone who loves the creatures that go bump in the night.

Member ratings (10,048)

  • Krista P.

    Lincoln, CA

    This is not Dracula, Interview with a Vampire or Twilight, this is a story of strength, faith, and love—with a dash of vampire. More history and culture, less horror and supernatural. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Rachel F.

    Schereville, IN

    Beautiful landscapes and character descriptions. I wish it were a little more spicy and scary but I can’t wait to read other books by Cañas! A perfect book for Latin heritage month!! 🇲🇽💃🏻🐴🤠😈

  • Angie D.

    Centerville, OH

    These vampires are so creepy. A great historical novel (which I usually don’t like) but this was a great story on family, love, the role of women and of course grey bat like creatures. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Isaac W.

    West Hollywood, CA

    I LOVED THIS! I dare say it’s a perfect book! I know the genre isn’t for everyone but Cañas weaves romance & historical fiction beautifully & peppers it with monstrous tension. It’s so atmospheric! ❤️

  • Camille P.

    Mineville, NY

    Isabel Cañas proves again that she’s a queen of light horror with a heavy dash of angsty slow burn romance. Loved ‘The Hacienda’ & loved ‘Vampires…’ Will be reading any and all of her future novels

Horror
My Darling Girl
Vampires of El Norte
The Sun Down Motel
The Hacienda
Home Before Dark
White Horse
Final Girls
The Lies We Told
The Shadows
Lock Every Door
Mexican Gothic
The Last Time I Lied
Horror
View all
My Darling Girl
Vampires of El Norte
The Sun Down Motel
The Hacienda
Home Before Dark
White Horse
Final Girls
The Lies We Told
The Shadows
Lock Every Door
Mexican Gothic
The Last Time I Lied