Thursday, August 24, 2023

Audiobook Review: Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas

Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas
Publication Date: August 15th 2023 by Penguin Audio
Pages: 371
Audio Book Length: 12hrs 2min
Narrator: Jose Nateras & Krysta Gonzales
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Nena and Néstor were inseparable as children, much to the dismay of Nena’s parents, the ranch owners. With Néstor being the son of one of their vaqueros there’s a clear class distinction. But Nena and Néstor snuck off together as often as they could, each feeling nothing could separate them until Nena is attacked. Thinking Nena dead and facing the wrath of Nena’s parents, Néstor takes off and makes a life of his own, working from ranch to ranch saving money. All the while never able to forget Nena.

With the threat of Anglos coming in and overtaking, Nena’s brother sends a request to Néstor to help defend the ranch. He accepts and gets the shock of his life when he sees that Nena isn’t dead and that she’s angry with him for him deserting her, not knowing the full details.
While there are vampires in this, I would label this more historical romance/fiction than horror. It wasn’t scary (to me), but it was an engrossing story for sure. At the heart is Nena and Néstor’s story. Will they be able to overcome the expectations Nena’s parents have for her, marrying a rich, prominent rancher to strengthen their family or will she follow her heart? Will all of that even matter with the Anglos going after their land and the Mexican American war brewing? That’s not counting the strange creatures lurking in the shadows. I rooted for Nena and Néstor to overcome all these obstacles and find a way!

Isabel Cañas’ writing was beautiful, bringing the characters to life: their longing, fear, hope, and dreams!  I felt like I could smell the creosote, feel the heat, and soak in the beauty of the land.
I listened to an audio copy which enhanced this captivating tale! Jose Nateras and Krysta Gonzales alternated performing Néstor and Nena’s chapters and I thought they did a wonderful job! Their pronunciation and accents gave an authentic feel to the story. I listened at 1.5-1.75x normal speed.

4 Stars

Book Description:

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 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.


  1. I don't know why but my moody self couldn't choose this one. You make it sound good and I might actually like it.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    1. It's wasn't my normal kind of read, but it was good! I think you'd like the audio, Anne.

  2. I saw this but was unsure. You have me adding it to my list.

  3. Vampires and vaqueros! What a unique and unexpected combination. ;D

  4. I have been very tempted by this one but wasnt sure. You have convinced me! Adding it to my tbr!

  5. It's interesting that vampires is in the title and yet it's the relationship that seems to be the main focus. I'm not sure this is one for me (for whatever reason it just doesn't call to me), but there's no denying it has an interesting premise. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Rachel!