“Words are seeds, Casiopea. With words you embroider narratives, and the narratives breed myths, and there’s power in the myth. Yes, the things you name have power.”– Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Gods of Jade and Shadow
Title: Gods of Jade and Shadow
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: adult, historical fiction, mythology
My Rating: ★★★★☆
This review is spoiler-free!
The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this 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.
[ This synopsis was taken directly from Goodreads. ]
Gods of Jade and Shadow is set during the 1920’s following a girl named Casiopea. She is treated like crap by her family because her father was Mayan (in her culture, the lighter your skin/more European you are, the more you are considered “above” everyone else). If I had to compare her situation with something familiar to me, she was basically treated like Cinderella, acting as a maid to her own family. She dreams of leaving her family and living her own life. When she accidentally frees the god of death, she set into motion an adventure of a lifetime. The chapters change perspectives between the four main characters of the story: Casiopea, her cousin Martin, and the two brother Mayan gods Hun-Kame and Vucub-Kame.
With all the basic information aside, let’s get onto the review!
—– ❤ —–
This book surprised me. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I did because I don’t read many adult books, let alone of the historical mythology genre. However, the story was a pleasant surprise!
Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing style feels very lyrical and old-timey. I felt as though I was reading a classic, minus the confusing and old-fashioned language. I know I’m not making any sense, but I’m not sure how else to describe it. Her writing feels like it was of the past (even though this book was published in 2019), but it is still easy to read and understand. Part of the reason I don’t like classics is because I have a hard time understanding what the heck the author wrote. This book has the old-timey vibe without the frustration that comes with classics.
I can’t say that I know how accurate this book is to the original Mayan mythology since I have no frame of reference. However, if it is anything like this book, I need to read more. We rave about all these mythologies like Greek and Norse, but I don’t think many non-European lore get enough attention. If you like mythology in general, I think this book would be well worth your time.
Part of the reason I enjoyed this book a lot is because it is very unique compared to the other books I’ve read in the past. I have never read a historical mythology book before (that I remember). I have not come across a book published recently that feels like it was written in the 1920s. I have never read a book about Mayan mythology. (As I’m writing this review I’m realizing I should probably branch out more with the types of books I read…. whoops.)
Overall, I really liked Gods of Jade and Shadow and you’d be missing out on a wonderful story full of adventure, magic, and deceitful games if you pass up on this book.
I feel like if I were in her shoes, I would be much more bitter than she was throughout this story. It goes to show just how strong she is as a human being.
I like the dude. I really do. I just wish I could like him more. I understand why he doesn’t act like a person (because he’s a god), but the romantic in me just wants him to be more human than he is. That’s just my personal preferences, though. Nothing bad against the actual character.
He reminds me of a Hollywood crime boss because he’s charismatic yet terrifying.
All I wrote in my notes was “Martin is a sad excuse of a person.”
Ay! I have new rating graphics that were digitally drawn by yours truly! I’m super excited to replace the dinky looking unicorn horns I drew a year and a half ago! XD
Anyhoot, I give Gods of Jade and Shadow 4 stars!
Until next time….