Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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

36510722Title: Gods of Jade and Shadow
Series: n/a
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Historical; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Del Rey; July 23, 2019

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Synopsis from Goodreads...
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...
Gods of Jade and Shadow was one of my most anticipated book releases of 2019, but it ended up being the first book I read in 2020. Gods of Jade and Shadow was such a complex and amazing tale. It was a coming-of-age story set against a glittering jazz age Mexico setting, with folklore elements and a quest involving a Mayan god of death. It had a fairytale kind of vibe to it, which reminded me a of the type of atmosphere in stories like Uprooted and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, as well as the Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden. Gods of Jade and Shadow was everything I was looking for, and I loved it as much as I thought I would.

Casiopea Tun believes she’s unfortunate, and she is in a lot of ways. Her situation was explored in the early chapters of the story, and right away, I liked her character. I also disliked her family. The casual sort of cruelty they displayed toward Casiopea did not endear them to me, and for much of the story they were dual-antagonists in the ongoing conflict between the gods—particularly Casiopea’s cousin, Martín. That being said, all of the characters were pretty complex, and for the main ones, I enjoyed their individual character arcs. Though Casiopea’s journey is the main focus—and one of my favorite aspects about Gods of Jade and Shadow—and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of her story of adventure and self-discovery.

The overall story was one of my favorites. It was a quest kind of story, with certain objects that had to be found, and there was a good deal of travel as well—it wasn’t until later in the story when the pace picked up. Even so, Gods of Jade and Shadow was fantastic, and I loved all of the mythological elements present in the story. The end wrapped up the story in a bittersweet but satisfying way.

Gods of Jade and Shadow was the first book I read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Suffice it to say, I’m looking forward to her next novel, Mexican Gothic, which comes out on June 30, 2020.

Have you read Gods of Jade and Shadow? If so, what did you think of it?


  1. oooo mayans and a quest, of sorts. sounds like a good one to me
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. It was a quest kind of story. I really enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to Silvia Moreno-Garcia's next book. Thanks for stopping by!


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