Gods of Jade And Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia [ARC REVIEW]
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: July 23rd 2019
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.
ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review
Its not everyday that I read Adult Fantasy, but in those rare moments that I do, I am almost always swept off my feet. Gods of Jade and Shadow is the epitome of those moments. Set in the roaring 20’s in Mexico, the fantasy tells the tale of eighteen year old Casiopea, a girl who dreams of getting away from her rundown and abusive life where she lives to serve her grandfather and cousins. Her chances of freedom and the things she could only imagine are given an opportunity when she accidentally frees a Mayan death god, Hun-Kame. Irrevocably tied to the death god, Casiopea is tasked with helping Hun-Kame reclaim his thrown and gain the revenge on those who betrayed him. Forced into a world wind of adventure, Casiopea takes on the journey of learning the true meaning of love, revenge, and what it means to be truly alive.
“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.”
This book was as riveting as it was vivid. Casiopea was probably one of my favorite things about this book. Her never failing determination and loyalty to Hun-Kame were what grabbed me and stole me away. I felt like I connected and related to our heroine as well as her companion in so many ways that the book became more than a story for myself–but it became a real and tangible thing. Moreno-Garcia’s writing style is beautiful in this novel as she entrances you with her dialogue, and description of the characters, setting, and world building.
“The imagination of mortals shaped the gods, carving their faces and their myriad forms, just as the water molds the stones in its paths, wearing them down through the centuries.”
I honestly cannot do justice to just how beautiful this story was. From the pacing, writing, characters, to even the concept–everything was thought out and executed phenomenally. I found myself in these pages, and learned new things about not only me but the world around me as Hun-Kame faced his own questions of mortality and what it truly is to be self/someone. His own story line was one that made my heart soar as I watch him battle against giving in and letting go of who he is, and fighting to keep a hold of the man he knows he is and should always be.
Moreno-Garcia paints a lyrical and lively portrait of the culture and life of Yucatan during the jazz age, to the point where you almost feel like you are right there in the midst of it. However, Gods of Jade and Shadow is so much more than a historical fantasy. As the pages are turned and I devoured more of the story I found that Moreno-Garcia beautifully interweaves a track of social and political issues that not only were relevant to the day and age that the novel was set–but also to present day as well. Blending fantasy, lore, and history together, Moreno-Garcia shows the struggle and the issues of female rights, living and fighting against varying ranges of abuse (domestic, physical, mental, and verbal), discrimination based on socio-economic status, and stereotypes based upon where one lives.
“Fear is generous and does not exclusively lodge in the hearts of mortals.”
Concise, riveting, and yet beautifully powerful and commanding, Gods of Jade and Shadow combines lyrical Mayan mythology with adventure, life, and important political and social issues that can be related back to our current day and age. A breath of fresh fantasy, this is a book that you will not want to skip. I highly recommend anyone and everyone to give this book a try. It will forever change your view on life and take your breath away at the same time.
Huge thank you to Netgalley for sending me an ARC for my honest review! Quotations taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon final publication.