Gods of Jade and Shadow

Gods of Jade and Shadow

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...

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Title:Gods of Jade and Shadow
Author:Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Gods of Jade and Shadow Reviews

  • Rebecca Roanhorse

    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.

    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.

  • Amy Imogene Reads

    Unlike anything I’ve ever read.

    First off, I am probably in the minority, but

    . The marketing for

    bills it as a Jazz-Age Cinderella, but the story felt much more like Hades and Persephone with a dash of the Art Deco.

    I could not get enough of this story.

    Unlike anything I’ve ever read.

    ★★★★★

    ★★★★★

    ★★★★★

    ★★★★

    First off, I am probably in the minority, but

    . The marketing for

    bills it as a Jazz-Age Cinderella, but the story felt much more like Hades and Persephone with a dash of the Art Deco.

    I could not get enough of this story.

    follows the story of Casiopea, a girl growing up in rural Mexico in the early 1900s who discovers a chest of ancient black bones in her grandfather's bedroom.

    . Hun-Kame was cursed and imprisoned in his bones (well, most of his bones) by his twin brother, and suffice to say Hun-Kame is not pleased with the turn of events.

    .

    Obviously, the tone of

    is dark and mythic in scope—and it reads that way.

    One of my favorite aspects of the novel was

    herself. She stands apart from almost every other female protagonist I've read.

    . Tie these personality traits in with Hun-Kame, an ancient god with no empathy and no sense of sarcasm, and you have a winning match.

    Casiopea, Hun-Kame's inability to understand inflection, Hun-Kame and Casiopea's no-nonsense responses to the absurd, the LACK OF AN INSTANT ROMANCE, the adventure-style journey to different parts of 1920s Mexico, the unfolding of the plot, Casiopea's honestly iconic reactions to her cousin, the final climactic sequence, and

    There’s a romance, but it’s supremely well done and

    .

    Alright, I'll be honest. I struggled with the pacing and lack of intimacy with Casiopea at the beginning. It's a slow entrance and a different way to write fantasy—very much keeping in line with old school myth tales. However, by the end I was HOOKED on the writing style and loved the pacing.

    *****

    Original notes 3/22/19: Unlike anything I’ve ever read. This Mayan death god myth-making tale was one of a kind and its great to see one of my anticipated 2019 YA fantasy releases living up to its expectations. Let’s have more Mexican/Mayan inspired fantasy? Review to come closer to pub date!

  • Emer (A Little Haze)

    Publishing July 23rd, 2019

    I was so excited when I heard about this book and so was beyond thrilled when I was lucky enough to be granted an ARC from NetGalley and WOW DID THIS BOOK NOT DISAPPOINT!!! I loved it. Absolutely loved it. This book to me is the perfect blend of fantasy, mythology and historical fiction. It's filled with Mayan folklore that truly came alive for me. I must confess I know nothing about Mayan mythology but this book has been a wonderful starting point for me. Apparently it

    Publishing July 23rd, 2019

    I was so excited when I heard about this book and so was beyond thrilled when I was lucky enough to be granted an ARC from NetGalley and WOW DID THIS BOOK NOT DISAPPOINT!!! I loved it. Absolutely loved it. This book to me is the perfect blend of fantasy, mythology and historical fiction. It's filled with Mayan folklore that truly came alive for me. I must confess I know nothing about Mayan mythology but this book has been a wonderful starting point for me. Apparently it is inspired by the Popol Vuh which is a text that recounts the mythology and history of the Kʼicheʼ people, one of the Maya peoples, and ahhhh I just need to know more!!!!

    The story focuses on the Mayan gods of death, Hun-Kamé and Vucub-Kamé, and their fight for control of their underworld, Xibalba. And into the story of course comes unsuspecting humans, brilliant Casiopea and her (douchebag!) cousin Martín.

    Casiopea is a brilliant character. Her upbringing was one of sadness and mistreatment (especially at the hands of her cold hearted grandfather and cousin Martín) but I liked how it didn't quell her inner feisty spirit. I basically just loved her sassiness and how she very much owned who she was as a person. And her journey with Hun-Kamé was absolutely everything I love about traditional quests and adventures. I thought that the standoffish godlike-persona of Hun-Kamé really juxtaposed nicely with Casiopea's warmth and therefore, really enjoyed how their relationship evolved showing us how such disparate characters could eventually find their commonality.

    I also loved getting some of the story given to us from Martín's PoV. I liked how seeing his side of events helped to frame him as a more complex character than purely someone who was unkind to his poorer relative.

    What was also really engaging was how the author really made the world her characters were inhabiting come alive for the reader. I very much enjoyed all the touches of the Jazz age that peppered the real world narrative along with some very vivid descriptions of the Mayan Underworld.

    At times this book had an almost Young Adult quality to it, and I mean that in a good way, as the story was very accessible and immediately engaging but it's definitely an adult novel due to some slightly squeamish moments for those of us with weak stomachs towards the end of the book.

    This was a book that I 100% loved and I can't wait to read more from the author ...and grab a physical copy of this once it is released because wow isn't that cover gorgeous 😍😍

    Highly recommended to fans of books that retell mythologies

    *An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Quercus/Jo Fletcher Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    Five in the love of Mayan Gods or in the most charismatic and attractive Hun-kame we trust! What an amazing, vivid, joyful, fast-pacing, perfectly described, one cup of mythology and two cups of Mexican culture and history, three cups of author’s unbelievably impeccable and detailed imagination mixed into a fantastic journey stars!

    I insist to give too many awards to this book, let’s start our award ceremony (Carlos Santana made its opening by singing “Black Magic Woman” which fits perfectly to

    Five in the love of Mayan Gods or in the most charismatic and attractive Hun-kame we trust! What an amazing, vivid, joyful, fast-pacing, perfectly described, one cup of mythology and two cups of Mexican culture and history, three cups of author’s unbelievably impeccable and detailed imagination mixed into a fantastic journey stars!

    I insist to give too many awards to this book, let’s start our award ceremony (Carlos Santana made its opening by singing “Black Magic Woman” which fits perfectly to this book. We don’t have a host, they dropped their gig before the ceremony. Shame on them!)

    Best heroine: APPLAUSE FOR CA-SI-O-PEA! She is defiant, straightforward, honest, smart, sarcastic, born and raised fighter kind of badass heroine! From the beginning of the book she steals your heart. You detest the unfairness she had to endure. You want her have a better future, opportunities! You want to encourage her screaming:” Come on girl, you can do whatever you put on your brilliant mind.) Finally she meets with a God and her story suddenly changes.

    Best hero-GOD- half God/half human: RAISE YOU HANDS TO CLAP our blazing God Hun-Kame! At first he was pretentious, obnoxious, show-off guy who had no sense of humor but as soon as he started to turn into human and learned how to smile, your heart completely warns and you start to root for him.

    BEST CHEMISTRY AND BEST COUPLE: Casiopea and Hun-Kame had hot and cold kind of slow burn romantic relationship but their sizzling, pant dropping kind of chemistry was undeniable. There was a little obstacle. You cannot choose a God as your love interest, right?

    BEST DESPICABLE VILLAIN: Martin is the evil cousin I detested too much because of his nasty behavior, treating so unfairly to Casiopea . I loved the parts of the story narrated by him. Reading his side of story will soften your feelings about him but it still doesn’t justify his wrongdoings. You only pity on him a little because he was also a victim but the victimization turned him into a bitter and mean boy.

    BEST CLASSIC TERRIFYING VILLIAN: Let’s boo and throw all the tomatoes and eggs to his face. Vucub-Kame is evil brother who is power thirsty, selfish, ruthless, detesting, soulless villain. You ask yourself what kind of God is he? And why the Gods are depicted as the harshest and merciless beings?

    BEST SUPPORTING DEVIL WE KNOW: Loray ! Loray! Hurray! Isn’t he reminded of us Tom Ellis’ Lucifer portrait. I was waiting for him to call Casiopea “Detective” in British accent. And don’t forget his raven positioned on his shoulder. This is vivid, remarkable and entertaining character.

    BEST STORY-TELLING: I just imagine every place scene by scene like I was watching a movie and seeing different views from the cities. It was like so real, tangible, vivid, colorful.

    BEST ending: It was a little heartbreaking but it gives some vibes there might be sequel coming. Please please I want to read more Casiopea. I’m so curious about her future stories.

    As a summary: If you want to take a mythological, entertaining, historical trip, get your ticket, sorry your copy of book and join the incredible journey of Casiopea and Hun-Kame! You won’t regret any second of it! Better than lying on the beach.

  • Amalia Gavea

    Yucatán, Mexico, during the 1920s. Casiopea has found herself in an awful situation. Her beloved father, a lover of mythology and fables, has died. Her mother is a weak woman who only knows how to cry and pray. The young woman has been left practically alone,

    Yucatán, Mexico, during the 1920s. Casiopea has found herself in an awful situation. Her beloved father, a lover of mythology and fables, has died. Her mother is a weak woman who only knows how to cry and pray. The young woman has been left practically alone, struggling to cope with the insults of her tyrannical grandfather and disgusting cousin. Until the day an old chest is opened and the God of Death escapes. In order to fight against treason and fulfill a mysterious destiny, Casiopea and the dashing god will lead us on an unforgettable journey in one of the most fascinating countries of our planet through folklore, mythology and every virtue and vice of the mortal soul. And the immortal spirit.

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia has created an outstanding novel. The culture and vibe of Yucatán come alive through beautiful prose. The political background of the complex 1920s is immediately set and this makes for an extremely interesting start. It is then that I understood

    is so much more than a modern fairy tale. It is a political and social commentary on issues that shape every nation in every era. In my opinion, the beauty of the story lies in the successful balance between Historical Fiction and Mythology. The writer uses the vast Mexican tradition and folklore to demonstrate a young woman’s fight against domestic violence, physical and psychological, against discrimination and limited, preconceived expectations. Through her love for Greek and Mayan mythology and her combined faith to the Christian religion and the beliefs of her forefathers, Casiopea faces a world as fascinating as it is dark, populated with powerful gods and mighty sorceresses, demons, ghosts, strange beings and corrupted priests who use Religion as an excuse to oppress the cries for change. And once again, we come to understand that the vilest of creatures can be found among the mortals. No surprise there really…

    The writing is beautiful, the dialogue is exceptional. Don’t be hesitant if your knowledge of Mayan mythology is limited. The writer is an excellent guide and answers all our questions within the story without being redundant or lectury. However, the strength of this marvelous book lies in the character of Casiopea. She is forced to mature beyond her 18 years and her personality remains an integral part of the plot throughout the book. Despite the circumstances and the constant discoveries she makes concerning herself and the world around her (and beyond…), she doesn’t compromise. She becomes wiser and remains firmly faithful to her values and the principles given to her by her father. She doesn’t lose faith and brings a god to his senses, forcing him to see what is real. Now, Hun-Kamé is perfection. I’m fangirling a bit, yes, but it is true. The God of Death has to come to terms with the mortal nature that is believed to be hidden inside every deity. The dynamic between Casiopea and him is one more driving force of the novel. All characters are excellently drawn, even the ones you’ll come to hate with all your heart, even the tiniest mythical figures will surprise you.

    Magical Realism, Historical Fiction, Fairytale, Folklore....The novel can easily fall into five-six genres. One thing is for certain. You will adore

    from the very first chapters. It is a beautiful token of what happens when a truly gifted writer respects the original sources and weaves an exciting and powerful tale relevant to all. A magical, mystical journey.

    Many thanks to Quercus Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    My reviews can also be found on

  • megs_bookrack

    ~ A Mayan-inspired fable set in Jazz Era Mexico ~

    Channeling her inner-Cinderella, Casiopea Tun, is tidying up around her Grandfather's living quarters, as she does every day, when she unintentionally frees Hun-Kame, the Mayan God of Death, from his imprisonment.

    Brought back to life after his brother slayed him and captured him in locked box, Hun-Kame is ready to get his life and his kingdom back. Unfortunately, or fortunately, for Casiopea, he needs her help in order to do so.

    Tied together by an

    ~ A Mayan-inspired fable set in Jazz Era Mexico ~

    Channeling her inner-Cinderella, Casiopea Tun, is tidying up around her Grandfather's living quarters, as she does every day, when she unintentionally frees Hun-Kame, the Mayan God of Death, from his imprisonment.

    Brought back to life after his brother slayed him and captured him in locked box, Hun-Kame is ready to get his life and his kingdom back. Unfortunately, or fortunately, for Casiopea, he needs her help in order to do so.

    Tied together by an unnatural bond of flesh and soul, they set out on a quest to recover the parts of him stolen and hidden away by his brother. So begins the adventure of a lifetime for young Casiopea, who is finally able to escape the degrading clutches of her family.

    This is such a beautifully told story. From beginning to end, Moreno-Garcia weaves the most intricate tale of love, power, forgiveness and sacrifice. I love her writing so much. It is simple and lyrical, flowing smoothly from chapter to chapter.

    I first fell for Moreno-Garcia's writing when I read,

    in 2017. Even though that book was also beautifully written, this one displays her skills at a whole new level. Her writing has matured a lot and this story truly transports you not only to the culture she is introducing but to the time period as well.

    I loved learning more about Mayan mythology and culture. I think anyone interested in more modern retellings of myths and legends will enjoy this one. Even if you do not think that is something you would be crazy about, at its heart, this story is a quest and it delivers in that capacity in spades.

    Casiopea is such a wonderful character. Although raised in terrible circumstances, mistreated and abused by those around her, she has an incredible sense of will and resolve that she channels throughout this adventure. In her heart, she has the strength of a lioness and that serves her well. I admired her, I adored Hun-Kame and the two of them together is pure magic!

    Thank you so much to the publisher, Del Rey, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and had such a great reading experience with this one. Silvia Moreno-Garcia has a fan in me and I will definitely be picking up anything else she writes!

  • Anna Luce

    2.5 stars

    In spite of the beautiful attention that

    pays to

    ...this turned out to be an

    read...

    The

    found in

    might not appeal to those readers who prefer slower and more in depth narratives such as

    . Here there is a focus on the

    or better yet on the

    undertaken by our protagonist. Scenes rarely featured the same backdrop

    ★★★✰✰ 2.5 stars

    In spite of the beautiful attention that

    pays to

    ...this turned out to be an

    read...

    The

    found in

    might not appeal to those readers who prefer slower and more in depth narratives such as

    . Here there is a focus on the

    or better yet on the

    undertaken by our protagonist. Scenes rarely featured the same backdrop since

    which in turn

    . The various places and characters-human and non-encountered by our protagonist(s) are often

    . Having finished this book a few days ago I recall not one of the characters that Casiopea and Hun-Kamé encounter...which isn't a good sign.

    The story is

    and follows

    in which our cinderella-like main character

    who will be able to regain his rightful role as ruler of Xibalbla only after he finds certain 'items' (which are

    stored in places he knows of and that are fairly easy to reach). The story

    rather than an adult one, and in fact, I would have actually

    it if this book had been clearly aimed at a younger audience.

    Another criticism I have is that

    , darker as Valente's

    , or as tantalisingly ingenious as

    's

    series, or even as satirical and fun as

    's

    duology. But the tone in

    remained

    , which is a pity since

    . The narration at times

    and often reached

    .

    The setting only comes into focus when

    ...mentioning a couple of times the popular dances and haircuts from this period does not render the time in question. At times it did so by

    blurting out these trends on the page:

    I wanted more of the vernacular (which I know is difficult since the characters are not speaking in English but I'm sure that there are differences between contemporary Yucatec Maya and the one spoken in the 20s).

    as the only thing that truly emerges from this historical setting is that our protagonist as a woman has little control over her life.

    Another thing that

    (“

    ”) or when the narrative used expressions such as '

    ' (“

    ”).

    this was done to

    but it seemed

    and was not handled all that well.

    As the story focuses on the quest,

    . Casiopea was

    of certain YA fiction, she is

    yet has

    (alienated from the rest of her family, made to their bidding, etc...). Much was made of her '

    ' so much so that I kept excepting a trace of it but found none. I'm not sure why her

    was emphasised so much, and in often

    :

    It made a potentially interesting character into a love interest, turning

    .

    In spite of all these flaws

    It was in those moments that the narrative really brought into focus the events and figures it spoke of. And

    but these were far too few.

    Overall, I'm not sure I do recommend this one.

    Cho's fantasy-romp series (

    &

    ) offers a similar type of fast-paced storytelling but with much more historical detail, while

    's

    creates a much more complex and compelling narrative that addresses dynamics between humans and divine beings.

     / / / 

  • enqi ☁️✨ kell maresh lovesite

    "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

  • Chaima ✨ شيماء

    Hey, have I seen you from somewhere? You remind me of a book....that I should get to know (。•ᴗ-)

    Hey, have I seen you from somewhere? You remind me of a book....that I should get to know ‎(。•̀ᴗ-)✧

  • Teodora

    I've dreamed of travelling to Mexico since I've first discovered telenovelas decades ago and if this book is the closest thing to that then so be it.

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