Silvia Moreno-Garcia (SMG) was born and raised in Mexico, and moved to Canada in 2004, where she later graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master’s degree in Science and Technology Studies. SMG has published short stories in fiction magazines and anthologies for many years. Her debut novel Signal to Noise published in 2015, and she has steadily been churning out books ever since.
When I think of SMG’s work, I think of breadth and depth. Every book she writes is unique, memorable, and very different from any other book she’s written. Every time. To be fair, I’ve only read three of her books so far (and have every intention to read every single world this woman writes) but each one is a universe in itself.
Also, also— an author who creates a Spotify playlist to go with their work is an author after my own heart.
Vampires? A creepy, gothic mansion? Unlikable characters? Relatable characters? Slow burn? Fast paced? Mythology? Yes to all of that and more in just the following three of her books:
Mexican Gothic (2020)
I loved every second of this book. It was atmospheric, the build-up was slow and steady, and all the descriptions were VIVID. The true horror of this novel lies not where you’d expect it to at first. With Mexican Gothic, SMG offers the horror genre crisp perspective and distinctive writing style, as well as a heroine very feminist for her time. Definitely pick this up for the creepy vibes and for the cutting social commentary.
CW: body horror, violence, sexual assault attempt.
Gods of Jade and Shadow (2019)
Imagine going on an epic journey with a mythological figure. Throw in a race against time, and the fate of the universe at stake, and you’ve got Gods of Jade and Shadow. This book is packed with elements from fairytales, and the stuff of spooky stories, like witches, sorcerers, demons and magic. At the same time, it is a coming-of-age story about Casiopea Tun, the story’s heroine. A truly beautiful book that I continued to think about long after completing.
CW: mention of blood, suicide, death.
Certain Dark Things (2021)
A neo-noir set in Mexico City? That was all I needed to know before I was all over this fast-paced, perspective-shifting book. Certain Dark Things explores morality in a gray world where vampires and humans collide. We get the perspective of humans, multiple vampires, and a female detective working in a male-dominated profession. Each character arc is full and well-rounded, and after a while, the setting is so real that you forget you’re reading. This needs to be a TV series, ASAP. (Note that this book was first published in 2016 but is being re-released later this year by Tor Nightfire.)
CW: mention of blood, violence.
While I feel that I was late to the SMG party (I just started reading her work last year), this most certainly is a ‘better late than never’ situation, and I feel very much at home here.