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  • Patricia Stover

Vampires of El Norte

I made my way to the library with my son a couple of weeks ago so that he could see if they had a copy of the second book in a Manga series that he’s been waiting for. Now, let me tell you guys, these must be some pretty popular books because the library has been out of this book for over a month. Wouldn’t you know? They didn’t have it, again.

I sent him to look at some other options while I perused the isles. I came across a beautiful hardback copy of Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas. “Hmm,” I thought, “I haven’t read anything by this author before.” Now mind you, I’m not a huge fan of vampire literature. I mean, I think it’s okay, but it is not what I would usually pick up. But I read the jacket cover and this book sounded astounding.

So, I decided to check it out, after having paid a thirty-year-old library fine. Apparently, I still owed a fine from when I was a middle schooler. I’m forty-two. It was around fifty dollars. I guess they are really serious about those late fees! Ha!

Anyway, I took this book home and dug in right away. This supernatural western is set on the Texas/Mexico boarder during the 1800’s. The United States invades, and the Vaqueros must ride to defend the ranches. They gather their army and their curanderas and set off to defend their land from the evil Vampires of El Norte, aka the Texicans. However, as gut wrenching as the battle will be, what awaits them in the dark is much more terrifying.

Nena, the main character takes a strong female lead while trying to prove her worth to her father, who is very traditional. She is a great curandera and knows her own worth. But is having a tough time proving it to her father.

Nestor, Nena’s long-time friend is a vaquero who is also along for the journey. Now, there is a lot of tension in this book between these two, and the father. Which makes for some great reading. This tension, plus the suspense of what monsters are lurking and whose side they are on if any, make for an excellent read.

Cañas does a wonderful job weaving her magic with the setting. When you read this story, you can see, smell, taste, and feel everything there is about the land and Mexican Culture. From the customs, and the garden herbs, to the food and folklore, you get a detailed view of what it was to live in Mexico in 1840.

Cañas crosses many genres with Vampires of El Norte. Is it Horror, Romance, Historical, or Western? It has a little bit of them all. Though I’m only halfway through, I’ll give this book a solid four stars. Because she’d really have to mess up the ending for anything less.

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