Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-GarciaGods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

on July 23 2019
Also by this author: Mexican Gothic, The Beautiful Ones, Certain Dark Things
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 341

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.

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.

Thanks to Moon for pointing me in the direction of the contest run by the author, which I won. My review reflects my honest opinion about the book.

Even if I hadn’t won the contest, I would’ve bought this book anyway. Moon, Mexican herself, recommended this to me (and everyone else) shortly after. Read her review here. Now, when your friend is super excited about a book, there’s always a little bit of anxiety: will I like this book as much as she did? Well, I did.

Gods of Jade and Shadow has a lot of things I love. Mythology, gods, mystery, 1920s, and set somewhere that isn’t the US or UK. I wasn’t familiar with Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing style at the time, so I had no idea what to expect. But once I started reading, it was hard to stop. Casiopea and Hun-kame are an odd couple together, but what do you expect from a God of Death and a human girl? I love that Casiopea has a chance to escape her abusive family, even if it might cost her her life. If she stayed there she wouldn’t have had the chance to live either.

The story itself is enchanting, the worldbuilding mesmerizing. Moreno-Garcia knows how to add colour to her worlds, even if they’re the shadowlands. The emotions evoked by those places are real, and I experienced them as Casiopea did. Despite having never been to Mexico and barely knowing things about the culture, I didn’t feel left out, like you should ‘know’ to be able to understand it. Casiopea’s adventure with Hun-kame is universal, a fairy tale like many others. A tale everyone can enjoy.

I give Gods of Jade and Shadow five stars. I absolutely loved it. It made me feel all the feels. I cheered very hard towards the end and it left me full of love upon finishing it. It’s definitely a book I’ll reread more than once. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves mythology and fairy tales.

Also check out my review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest book, Mexican Gothic.

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