Gods of Jade and Shadowby Silvia Moreno-Garcia Published 23 Jul 2019
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The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.
“Simultaneously heartbreaking and heart-mending, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a wondrous and magical tale about choosing our own path.”—Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.
"Gods of Jade and Shadow" Reviews
"a dark fantasy set in 1920s Mexico inspired by Mayan mythology" and is that a hades & persephone reference i see? this is WONDERFUL. sign me up
"a dark fantasy set in 1920s Mexico inspired by Mayan mythology" this sounds AMAZING
Oh, my heart! So, so very good. This is a evocative and moving fairy-tale about a downtrodden girl and the Maya God of Death and how they both find each other and their humanity together. Moreno-Garcia consistently knows how to find my heartstrings and pull them - not in a sappy way but in quiet moments of vulnerability and honesty. Her vision of 1920's Mexico and, more strikingly, the Maya Underworld, are vivid and enchanting and bring the story alive. I'm convinced both are/were equally real. Also, this book is highly addictive. I read it in 24 hrs, having to know the fate of both the main characters, which is, in Moreno-Garcia fashion, quite bittersweet. Loved it. Highly recommend.
I was pretty excited for this because I especially loved Sylvia's last book, The Beautiful Ones. And then she's done really great Mexican settings in the two other books I've read by her as well!
What I really liked here was the MC—Casiopea was the perfect character and I loved reading her wittiness in her dialogue and her remarks that she would give to Hun-Kamé. I seriously loved Hun-Kamé, too, especially as his character progressed in the book! The two together had such great chemistry!
There were several POVs in this one, but I really wish that it was only Casiopea and Hun-Kamé. I was kind of bored at times with Casiopea's cousin and Hun-Kamé's brother. Minor detail—but I felt like Casiopea's name had a lot of syllables so I had to keep shortening it to Cas in my head as I read it!
The writing and world descriptions were beautiful and the tale was very cool. Another complaint was I wish it ended on the chapter before the last one because I'm unsure if this is a stand alone, but I think it is? But with the last chapter, I'm not sure? Anyway, I love the authors other books more, but this is still a cool, original story to check out.
Oh my goodness, do you yourself a favor and purchase this when it gets published in August!
This standalone myth-making tale was truly one of a kind!
The narrative takes place in Mexico in the 1920s and follows Casiopeia, our servant protagonist, as she embarks on a dark journey after opening her grandfather's locked chest. Hoping to find gold that she can use to escape her dreary life, she becomes shocked to realize what the contents of the chest actually are: the magical bones of the Mayan god Hun-Kame. As a shard of bone sinks into Casiopeia's skin - thus fusing her life with that of the god's - she finds herself forcibly partaking on a quest to assist Hun-Kame in taking back the throne of Xibalba (Mayan Underworld) from his deceitful, power hungry brother.
The idea behind Gods of Jade and Shadow was as fascinating as the world-building. Moreno-Garcia builds up the atmospheric elements of the Underworld while beautifully executing the integration of a slow-build romance, Mayan history, and a new perspective on the flapper-era. The author's writing made capturing the entirety of every scene effortless.
Whilst this book wasn't complex by any means, it still made me think about Mexican culture and how religions are being impacted by the modernization of civilization and development of technology. The concept of what eradicates a religion was also briefly addressed and made me think about all the ones that have unfortunately become extinct.
As for the characters, they all came across as clear, distinct, and relatable in their own way - which is a surprising feat to accomplish.
The only reason I didn't rate this book a full five stars was because, at times, the pacing came across as a bit slow. And not gunna lie, the ending left me just a smidge salty even tho I appreciated what the author was trying to convey. The storyline conclusion was satisfying in a logical sense, but emotionally? I was not fully sated. If you get invested in romances, you'll understand where I'm coming from when you finish this.
This book has so much to offer, and it's legitimately a good book. I'm not sure it'll be your favorite, but I can say without a doubt you'll be able to gain something from it.
That's it for now!
Thank you, NetGalley for providing me with an ebook version of this story. Yet another awesome read urging me forth to purchase the actual physical copy.
Unlike anything I’ve ever read....so beautiful. This Mayan death god myth-making tale was one of a kind and its great to see one of the most anticipated 2019 YA fantasy releases living up to its expectations. Let’s have more Mexican/Mayan inspired fantasy?! Review to come!
Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group -Ballantine via NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.