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Gods of Jade and Shadow

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2019)
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.

Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780525620754

338 pages, Hardcover

First published July 23, 2019

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About the author

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

143 books18.3k followers
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow and The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. She has also edited a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu's Daughters). Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,595 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
322 reviews156k followers
August 5, 2022
Gods of Jade and Shadow feels told rather than read, and it pulled me back into the memory of the stories my mother used to tell me.

I was a restless child, always floating, unable to settle in my skin; but my mother’s storyteller’s cadence could always quiet the world around me into stillness, freeze it. My mother did not rob her stories of their sharp edges. She did not drape them in a silk sheet, did not sweeten the nightmares into dreams. Instead, she sliced through her tales, swift and harsh as ax-fall: men lured to their death by beautiful women with hoofed legs, beast-headed widows who dwell among the dead, old women draped in haiks snatching wandering children, and lovers from rivaling tribes doomed to eternal exile in an empty desert. Each tale was more fascinating than the last, ghouls and djinns, the humans who held them in thrall and those who were held captive by them.

I felt a lingering sense of possession after I closed this book, and I can recognize it now for what it was: a deep pang of familiarity. Gods of Jade and Shadow carries the life-and-death stakes of my mother’s tales. “I’m here,” the story said, bristling along my spine. “Sit up. Pay attention,” and just like that, I forgot myself into its pages. I lost my way, willingly.


Once upon a time there was a girl who knew the world was big, and she was sick of pretending it was smaller. Her name was Casiopea. Casiopea wanted to get away—from her grandfather’s voice like the snap of a whip, her cousin’s cruel taunts like a boy pulling the wings off a fly, the litany of chores and the life that pinched like tight shoes.

One day, Casiopea opened a chest in her grandfather’s room, and found it full of bones. While rummaging inside for a secret compartment, a shard of bone lodged itself in her hand, and the Mayan god of death, Hun-Kamé, rose to face her, for Casiopea’s blood had set the Lord of Shadows and ruler of Xibalba well, and truly, and forcibly free.

Well, almost free.

There was a line between life and death, and Hun-Kamé and Casiopea now both stood upon it. Together they must journey across two peninsulas looking for Hun-Kamé’s missing parts, so the last, brittle thread tying Hun-Kamé to the will of his treacherous brother, Vucub-Kamé, may be broken, and the one tying Casiopea to Hun-Kamé—snagged in her hand like a poison slowly leeching into her bloodstream—may also be severed.

Casiopea knew the world was big, and as Death walked beside her, and another kind of death hung over both of their heads like a cloud threatening thunder, the whole world was laid out like a feast for her, and it was like seeing a wish she never thought to make for herself come true.

But wishes, as wishes often do, come with danger and often end in doom.


With its variously tragic and joyful twists, Gods of Jade and Shadow is, at its core, a love story. Or at least the first fragile unfurling of one, anyways. In any case, everything else fades away in the face of Hun-Kamé and Casiopea’s story.

Hun-Kamé was the god of death, with or without his throne, and Casiopea knew all about gods: the violence of their temper and the shifting nature of their whims, how she—as maidens in stories often are—would be but a blip on the otherwise uninterrupted pattern of Hun-Kamé’s immortality. “Was I cruel?” Hun-Kamé asks Casiopea at one point, “I was a god; you might as well ask the river if it is gentle in its path, or the hail whether it hurts the land when it strikes it.

But what Casiopea and Hun-Kamé held between them is the kind of deep, wounded familiarity that comes from traveling with someone, recklessly, curiously, into the unknown in the hopes of finding yourself. Those moments when they would both sit still and hold each other’s gaze, as though seeing some greater part of each other, made for the novel’s most heart-aching bits. Moments when they would lean into each other, and Casiopea would confess the dreams and desires she used to carry within her in fragments tucked like bookmarks between the dull movement of her days, and when the rime of ice Hun-Kamé had placed around his eyes would slip and he would, in return, let her see the desperate fizz of panic that kicks up in his gut at the thought of losing himself to his temporary mortality, of forgetting who he is.

He’d fallen in love slowly and quietly, and it was a quiet sort of love, full of phrases left unsaid, laced with dreams. He had imagined himself a man for her, and he allowed her to see the extent of this man, and he gave her this speck of heart, which was a man, to hold for a moment before taking it back the second before it faded.

But Gods of Jade and Shadow is just as much about power too—what it means to be someone whose wishes the world simply bends to meet, to seek power at greatest cost and rise to heights you did not even know the words to wish for, to have it stripped away from you and feel like you’ve been hollowed out with a carving knife—and about myth and stories and another kind of power held within them.

Above all, it’s about the freeing lightness of hurling yourself past a point of no return, of being someone for whom the world is young and full of possibility. Someone who hungers, and yearns, for the vastness of all there is, for something better. That hunger beats in the novel’s pages like drumming under the ground. It's there, in the way Casiopea is sick of the small spaces the world expected her to fit, and sick of the men to whom she will only ever be a woman. An echo of that yearning shadows Hun-Kamé’s, journey too. Hun-Kamé feels a hollowness in him where his kingdom, Xibalba, used to be, and in the darkness, he wasn’t even afforded the soft comfort of dreams. Even Vucub-Kamé, Hun-Kamé’s usurper brother, was not unburdened by longing. Hun-Kamé’s past continuous dismissal of Vucub-Kamé’s ideas and his expectations of blind deference burned in Vucub-Kamé like molten iron forged into a blade of resentment, and he yearned to break free, to be master of his own will. With their wants and longings, Hun-Kamé and Vucub-Kamé each thought themselves to be the hero. Two proud gods, fractious and unyielding, each certain their kingdom would fail without them, each determined the other would not bowl him over but bow before him. And their journeys are just as riveting and just as important as Casiopea’s, even though they are in opposition most of the time.

Even Martin, Casiopea's cousin, who often wanders into the story in such casual, slantwise ways, seethes with a storm of longings. Martin longed to earn his grandfather’s approval, and that desire burrowed deep in him. Jealous of his little power and endowed with the baseless arrogance that so often plagues young men, Martin is adamant on drawing his cousin, Casiopea, back to the bars of their grandfather’s house instead of the gaps she’s found between them, and he wanted to belive, desperately, that by exacting his grandfather’s wish and returning Casiopea home, he would finally earn that fickle approval.

It’s greater than you or I, this tale.

Gods of Jade and Shadow comes to a pitch-perfect conclusion, subverting several threadbare tropes while gracefully landing on a significant thematic note. I’m grateful the author did not rob her story of its sharp edges either, because I can’t conceive of a more satisfying ending.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,307 reviews44k followers
October 5, 2022
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.

Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 258 books409k followers
January 20, 2020
I loved Moreno-Garcia’s vampire novel Certain Dark Things, so I was excited to read her take on the Maya gods. Set in Mexico in the 1920s, the book follows Cassiopeia Tun, the ‘poor relations’ granddaughter of a small town patriarch in the Yucatan. Cassiopeia’s mother disgraced the family by eloping with Cassiopeia’s dark-skinned father, then had no choice but to return to her family when her husband died. Now Cassiopeia is forced to work as the family maid, while her arrogant cousin Martín misses no chance to boss her around and get her in trouble. Cassiopeia’s future seems hopeless and bleak until in a moment of defiance she opens a locked chest in her grandfather’s bedroom, and releases an imprisoned Maya god of death, Hun-Kame. Formerly the king of the Maya Underworld, Xibalba, Hun-Kame was overthrown by his treacherous twin brother Vucub-Kame, who charged Cassiopeia’s grandfather with guarding the box that held Hun-Kame’s bones. As extra insurance against Hun-Kame’s return, Vucub-Kame also took bits and pieces of his brother — an eye, a finger, a necklace — and scattered them across the land so Hun-Kame could never be whole again even if he somehow escaped. Hun-Kame rises from his prison neither man nor god, but determined to reclaim his throne. He enlists Cassiopeia as his comrade-in-arms, and the two set off across Mexico to restore Hun-Kame by finding his missing bits. Meanwhile, Vucub-Kame recruits Cassiopeia’s repugnant cousin Martín to stop them. The quest narrative is marvelous, with demons, evil spirits, sorcerers and flappers dancing the Charleston. The romantic tension is electric between Cassiopeia and her god of death companion, who cannot possibly feel love (or can he?) What I especially loved is Moreno-Garcia’s refusal to offer easy solutions, or to cast any of her characters as completely good or evil. We come to understand everyone’s motives, and to feel sympathy for the devil (or at least the gods of Xibalba). This is a delicious novel with Maya mythology seamlessly interwoven into a Jazz Age love story adventure.
Profile Image for Yun.
521 reviews21.8k followers
May 22, 2022
Even though I'm all grown up, I feel like I'm always looking for that magical fairy tale, the one that speaks to the kid in me while still appealing to the adult I am. And I found just that in Gods of Jade and Shadow.

Casiopea and her mother have been living with relatives ever since her father unexpectedly passed away. Because the two of them don't have money of their own, they are treated like servants, ordered to do menial tasks for the family. One day, Casiopea accidentally opens a chest full of bones, and what follows is the adventure she has always dreamed of.

Casiopea is my kind of heroine. Life dealt her an unfair hand, but she works hard and stays true to herself. Though her family treats her badly, she doesn't let that turn her bitter. She keeps dreaming of a better life. And when the opportunity to go on a grand adventure presents itself in the form of a request from the God of Death, she seizes it without hesitation. Then throughout the journey, she remains brave and smart and kind, even when great sacrifices are demanded of her. Honestly, I couldn't ask for a better main character.

Then there is Hun-Kamé, the God of Death. He's the perfect companion for Casiopea. He starts out all rigid and uptight, but as he spends more time around Casiopea and starts to unbend, he becomes likable and interesting. It was joyful to follow along as their sweet but improbable relationship unfurls and takes them both by surprise. The kindness and trust that they show each other is moving and magical, especially given how fragile and fleeting that first love is.

I also really enjoyed all the Mexican and Mayan folklore and mythology in here. It's all brand new to me, and it was fascinating to read this interpretation of the God of Death.

The story kept me in its thralls from the very first page. I wanted to stay curled up and reading, firmly entrenched in its magical universe. It's always a thrill when a book hits all the right notes: terrific cheer-worthy characters, a grand quest, a heart-rending love that could never be, and a showdown between good and evil. I can't believe it's taken me so long to get to this book, but I'm glad I finally did.

See also, my thoughts on:
Mexican Gothic
Velvet Was the Night

Profile Image for  Teodora .
330 reviews1,771 followers
September 20, 2023
3.75/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

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.

It really felt like I was sitting at a wooden table listening to a Mexican grandma telling me a story of her childhood while wrapping up tamales. It really felt that warm.

I liked it very much but I didn't love it.
Mostly because I am weird. But that's not all.

I somehow managed to have a tangled vision of the 1920s Mexico and all I can say is that aside for the time-forgotten little town of Uukumil, everything else was impressively modern. Maybe I am being ignorant, but I wasn't expecting that sort of construction.

This whole idea of a tour around Mexico was indeed very clever and I applaud it mostly because it actually made me go and search on the map all those places mentioned (yes, my ignorant arse strikes again).

Even with the whole travelling around the country, I still felt like the action was a bit stiff. It didn't really happen anything. I wanted more! This wasn't that and it makes me sad to think of it. I needed less blandness in the action for this.


Also, at the beginning and still after a good chunk of the book I felt like I couldn't like any of the characters. Exept for the main character, Casiopea Tun, who was the one that seemed a bit better than the rest. She felt wrong and right at the same time and this is why I liked her from the start. She was lonely and unlucky, but brave and hopeful. Dubiously interesting combination.

“In her spare time, she looked to books or the stars for company.”

And interesting concept comes into the spotlight in this book and this is the awkward but cute friendship between Casiopea and this big, bad god of death, Hun-Kamé. His vengeance on his twin brother who tricked him years ago, Vucub-Kamé, is what sets all things in motion in this book, but Casiopea is the one that gives it the push. Their whole journey tightens their relationship and turns it into a beautiful thing. They come to love and trust each other, a thing more natural than the other. And this is beautiful.

“It was as if the land opened its lips and breathed again, and was made anew.”

I truly appreciated the fact that the whole thing wasn't revolving around the two main characters falling in love with each other. Their love came natural, following its course and being light and simple and sincere.

The coolest thing about this book, however, is the fact that it is based on actual Mayan mythology. I know very little about Maya civilisation so this was purely interesting and educative for me.

Even though I wanted to encounter more local traditions and maybe some more Mayan day-to-day beliefs, this was very well documented and it highlighted very well some of the most important myths of the Maya culture, anchoring them in the mortal reality of the time. Also, the tiny glossary at the end of the book really sold it for me!

It was a nice book. And I truly recommend it to nearly-clueless people (like me) who want to learn something new that might get fascinating or just desperately want a break from winter on a distant and warm land. It's your call, people, but I'm taking the initiative for you. Read it!

Profile Image for Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
Author 143 books18.3k followers
October 28, 2019
I'm not going to write a review of my own book but here's some common questions I get.

1. Will there be a sequel?
Short answer, no. It's intended as a stand-alone.

2. Is it really adult? Isn't it YA?
Book classification is a funny thing. Some reasons for having this out as an adult book have to do with the choices of my publisher, but also my own feeling that the omniscient tell-don't-show bits of the novel would make it feel distancing and unappealing for teenagers (plus some other stuff, which I won't go into right now). And sure, there's adults who also hate omniscient POVs, but teens seems to hate them more (at least judging by the ones I know). If new adult had taken off as a category maybe that might have worked as a shelf, but it doesn't seem to have done very well. Ultimately, I think it's a fantasy bildungsroman, which may be very appealing to adults who like a fairy tale feel but also cross-over well to older teenagers.

3. Talking about narrators, there's a lot of telling. Is that intentional?
Short answer, yes. Long answer: I discuss Latin American culture and other stuff related to this in a blog post.

4. I liked your Book X, but this sounds totally different from that. Will I be disappointed?
I like writing things that can be wildly different. I don't feel it's disappointing but if you liked the grittiness of, say, Certain Dark Things, this is definitely not grim dark.

5. But it's a Maya God of Death! Why isn't it grimdark?
I wanted to write something hopeful that reflected the beauty of my culture. I've written gritty stuff before and will still do it. But not this time.

6. Are there any resources for book clubs
Del Rey put together a PDF with some info. Also check my website, scroll to the bottom for interviews and articles. And there's a glossary at the back of the book, if you want to start there.

7. Are the locations real?
Yes, for the most part. You can trace the journey on a map. The casino/hotel I mention is based on a real one: Agua Caliente, in Tijuana.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,615 reviews10.7k followers
July 11, 2023
Gods of Jade and Shadow is a Mayan-inspired tale set in Jazz Era Mexico. That should be reason enough for you to want to pick it up, but in case it's not, let me tell you more.

Channeling her inner-Cinderella, Casiopea Tun, is tidying up her Grandfather's living quarters when she unintentionally frees Hun-Kame, the Mayan God of Death.

Captured and sealed in a locked box after being slayed by his brother, Hun-Kame, is ready to get his life and kingdom back.

Unfortunately, for Casiopea, he needs her help in order to do so. Whether she likes it or not, she's along for the ride.

Tied together by an unnatural bond of flesh and soul, they set out on a quest to recover the parts of Hun-Kame that were 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, yet lyrical, flowing smoothly from chapter to chapter.

I first fell for Moreno-Garcia's writing when I read, The Beautiful Ones 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. Simply stunning.

I loved learning more about Mayan mythology and culture. I think anyone interested in modern retellings of myths and legends will enjoy this.

Even if you do not think it 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 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!
Profile Image for luce (that loser crying on the n° 2 bus).
1,438 reviews4,048 followers
August 28, 2021
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2.5 stars

In spite of the beautiful attention that Gods of Jade and Shadow pays to the function of myths and deities in our everyday lives...this turned out to be an unexpectedly juvenile read...

The swift storytelling found in Gods of Jade and Shadow might not appeal to those readers who prefer slower and more in depth narratives such as The Song of Achilles. Here there is a focus on the action or better yet on the quest undertaken by our protagonist. Scenes rarely featured the same backdrop since the various characters keep moving from one location to another which in turn leads to underdeveloped settings. The various places and characters-human and non-encountered by our protagonist(s) are often breezed through so that they have little time to leave an impression on the reader. 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 predictable and follows a repetitive pattern in which our cinderella-like main character Casiopea unwilling joins a former god, Hun-Kamé, who will be able to regain his rightful role as ruler of Xibalbla only after he finds certain 'items' (which are conveniently stored in places he knows of and that are fairly easy to reach). The story in its simplicity seems more fitting in a middle-grade novel rather than an adult one, and in fact, I would have actually preferred it if this book had been clearly aimed at a younger audience.
Another criticism I have is that it should have been more decisive in its tone, darker as Valente's Deathless, or as tantalisingly ingenious as Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series, or even as satirical and fun as Zen Cho's Sorcerer Royal duology. But the tone in Gods of Jade and Shadow remained rather inconsistent, which is a pity since there are many occasions where Moreno-Garcia's writing style does really echo that of a skilled storyteller. The narration at times evoked that of a fairytale yet in certain instances this omniscient narrative seemed rather simplistic and often reached clichéd conjectures.

The setting only comes into focus when the narrative explicitly addresses some of the trends of the twenties...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 literally blurting out these trends on the page:
“Mexico City in the 1920s was all about the United States, reproducing its women, its dances, its fast pace. Charleston! The bob cut! Ford Cars!”

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). The story could have easily had a modern setting 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 detracted from my overall enjoyment of this story was the over use of exclamation marks (“It was not possible. He was ruler of Xibalbla now! Nothing could change this, nothing could ruin his plans.”) or when the narrative used expressions such as 'oh dear' (“That might be a relief, since she did not understand what they were supposed to do in the city, and oh dear, she wasn't ready for any of this.”).

Perhaps this was done to lend immediacy to the events narrated or to give urgency to certain moments or thoughts but it seemed a bit contrived and was not handled all that well.
As the story focuses on the quest, the characters seemed rather flaky. Casiopea was the typical heroine of certain YA fiction, she is kind and just yet has endured many wrongs (alienated from the rest of her family, made to their bidding, etc...). Much was made of her 'temper' so much so that I kept excepting a trace of it but found none. I'm not sure why her will was emphasised so much, and in often such cheesy lines:
She was wilful, daggers hidden beneath her muttered yeses, her eyes fixing on him, slick as oil.

The romance was unnecessary and 'blossomed' out of nowhere. It made a potentially interesting character into a love interest, turning yet another dark and powerful death god into little more than eye-candy.
In spite of all these flaws I still enjoyed those passages which solely focused on reiterating Mayan mythology. It was in those moments that the narrative really brought into focus the events and figures it spoke of. And there were certain descriptions that had a nice rhythm but these were far too few.
There was the slim veneer of civilty to his actions. He spoke unpleasantries, but in the tone of a gentleman.

Overall, I'm not sure I do recommend this one.
Cho's fantasy-romp series (Sorcerer to the Crown & The True Queen) offers a similar type of fast-paced storytelling but with much more historical detail, while N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season creates a much more complex and compelling narrative that addresses dynamics between humans and divine beings.

Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
March 11, 2020
i enjoyed this a lot more than i thought i would! im really into reading stories inspired by mythology that im not very familiar with, and recently ive had an interest in mesoamerican culture, so this did not disappoint.

i found this to be extremely easy to read. the writing is very straightforward and has more of a ‘telling rather than showing’ feel to me, but i honestly didnt mind it. its also a long journey narrative with not a whole lot happening other than subtle character development. again, i know this will bother some readers, but i was okay with it.

so i know its my adoration for the subject which kept me so invested. i really enjoyed reading about mexico in the 1920s, learning about the different mayan gods, and experiencing the underworld of xiabalba. it was all really fun!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Samantha.
440 reviews16.8k followers
January 28, 2020
3.75 stars. This is a beautiful book, but it’s a beauty that kept me at a distance. The world and mythology is lush, and the prose fits the story well, but the feeling of reading a myth kept me from truly engaging with the story. I loved our main character and rooted for her, but truly never felt she was in danger and even though this isn’t a mythology I’m familiar with, I still felt I knew the general beats the story would take. This reminded me a bit of American Gods in that way with the prose and the mythology, and that’s a story that I also felt at arms length from. I still enjoyed this for the beauty that it was, but it will probably not live in my feelings in the way that I had hoped.
Profile Image for Robin.
327 reviews1,832 followers
March 17, 2021
↠ 5 stars

Oh to unlock a chest, accidentally bringing the god of death back to life and binding him to your mortal body, then accompanying him on his journey to reclaim his throne from his brother in the underworld. Set in the backdrop of 1920's Mexico, Casiopea Tun leaves home to embark on a journey encompassing a world she's only ever dreamed of, and one she never thought existed. With a Mayan god at her side, and the jazz age in full swing, who knows what will happen along the way.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is an incredible novel about the beauty in the small things and the yearning and hunger we feel for new experiences. Told with lyrical prose and astounding imagery, Silvia Moreno-Garcia once again showcases her ability to weave a flawless narrative, all while managing to make me cry. True talent. This is definitely a story about new beginnings and the people that make them possible. The mythological elements intwine with the personal to create a truly exceptional and wholly different kind of tale. I loved every aspect of Casiopea and Hun-Kamé's journey towards ousting the false king of the underworld and reclaiming his throne. The subtle emotional journey that builds up between the two of them over the course of the novel made my heart ache and then irrevocably shatter in two. Who'd have thought this book would be as painful as it was because I sure didn't. At the same time, the entire book seems to be a prelude to more. As if it all was simply the prologue in their respective stories. Either way, I should have known that this book would astound me in every way possible. Silvia Moreno-Garcia continues to raise the bar and is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. What an imaginative and transformative story that I won't be forgetting any time soon. Casiopea sequel when?

Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, abusive grandparent, animal death, death of a parent (mentioned), physical violence, colourism, self-harm, misogyny, alcohol consumption
Profile Image for carol..
1,574 reviews8,230 followers
August 15, 2020
“‘Do you understand what is at stake,’ he asked?
She had no idea… She was, however, curious.
‘Tell me,’ she said, knowing a story lay ahead, as fine as any of the legends and tall tales her father had spun for her.”

Gods of Jade and Shadow is like reading modern mythology–mythology set in the 1920s in Mexico, that is. Though it is also a coming-of-age tale, Moreno-Garcia gives those conventions her own twist, paralleling it with a mythological hero’s journey. I highly recommend it, even for those who don’t normally enjoy the young adult journey (me).

I’m going to do something I rarely do, and be quite lazy in my review, pointing you onward to better places. I mean, I’m often quite lazy, but in this case, I think you should go read jade’s review, which is both beautiful and informative.

The story does do a few curious things with narrative. Although told largely from Casiopea’s point of view, it occasionally calls out both Casiopea’s and Hun-Kamé’s actions for what they are, an overt commentary that points the reader in interpretive directions. Structurally, it also felt somewhat formal, like a translation. I found that curious; certainly appropriate for a mythological tale, although not entirely sure it wasn’t also just me. I’ve been working diligently at improving my Spanish.

The pre-ending is extremely non-American, which was fascinating and appropriate when involving Mayan gods, and then continued to become extremely emotionally satisfying, so I’d just call that well done all around.
Profile Image for Rebecca Roanhorse.
Author 55 books8,070 followers
January 28, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
974 reviews850 followers
May 1, 2021
5 stars

Unlike anything I’ve ever read. This Mayan death god myth-making tale was perfect.

Writing: ★★★★★
Concept: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★

I could not get enough of this story.

Gods of Jade and Shadow 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. Accidentally cutting herself and bleeding on the bones, Casiopea resurrects the Mayan god of death, Hun-Kame. 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. Finding herself tied to Hun-Kame through her blood, Casiopea embarks on a quest with the death god to collect his missing bones and defeat his twin brother to reclaim the Mayan underworld.

Obviously, the tone of Gods of Jade and Shadow is dark and mythic in scope—and it reads that way.

One of my favorite aspects of the novel was the gritty realism brought to the plot by Casiopea herself. She stands apart from almost every other female protagonist I've read. She's no-nonsense in the pragmatic sense, she's extremely dry with her humor, and she does NOT fall into any of the main tropes. 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.

Things I loved: 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 again for the people in the back THE LACK OF AN UNDERDEVELOPED AND OVERHYPED ROMANCE. There’s a romance, but it’s supremely well done and slow.

Things I didn't love: 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.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,827 reviews429 followers
July 5, 2023
A lifelong obsession with mythology and much interest in the Mayan culture led me to have waaaay too high expectations for this too often excruciatingly slow-moving narrative of a Mayan folktale. I wanted to love this book so much. I already had a love for Silvia Moreno-Garcia after The Beautiful Ones. However, this caused me to come to this book from a different viewpoint, expecting strength in character and storytelling. While I knew Silvia likes to tell her stories slower than many others, it worked for her before, just not for me here.

Gods of Jade and Shadow had a great beginning with the ties between the Mayan lore and the Cinderella tale. Martin, Casiopea, and her grandfather were initially well depicted, and I just wanted to sleep. It began to get tedious VERY early on in the story, and I was bored before she even introduced Hun-Kame, the Mayan God of Death. He brought some respite from the slow movement, but not for long. The jazz era twist was a good idea, but I was already too disconnected from the characters to come back to love them.

I wanted so much more from this. It wasn't a horrible book, but I definitely could have read historical documents with more action and adventure faster than this. If you do not have a lot of background knowledge already, then this may be a great way to taste the Mayan beliefs, but if you do, it could be disappointing if you do.

I tried both the audio and physical versions of this, and the narrator had an excellent voice to provide to Casiopea that did help a bit. I hate rating this book so low since I love that there is a current literary work to bring light to the awesomeness of the Mayan culture and beliefs, but unfortunately, I can't rate this book as anything more than "it was just ok."

Leaving me at a 2.5-star rating.

With that being said, I still have hopes for Silvia's future work and would give any future books a chance.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
784 reviews12.5k followers
November 7, 2020
“Mortals have always been frightened of the night’s velvet embrace and the creatures that walk in it, and yet they find themselves mesmerized by it.”

As much as gods may tell puny humans to cower in fear, they actually need us, mortals. They needs worshippers, belief and sacrifice to fuel the godhood itself. And in order to play their godly games, they need mortals to be their chess pieces, even if the role required is usually disposable sacrificial pawns. And since we create them in our image, they are subjects to the same vices - cruelty, bloodthirst, revenge. But more than anything, it’s the hunger for power that seems to be the chief godly attribute, the desire to have more - just like us, after all. Gods we create are an uncompromising mirror showing us our own ugly selves.
“The imagination of mortals shaped the gods, carving their faces and their myriad forms, just as the water molds the stones in its path, wearing them down through the centuries.”
In Gods of Jade and Shadow Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves a mesmerizing story reflecting our old myths and fairytales. Warring gods use humans as pawns in their wars for power (think every myth ever) - and one of them falls in love with the human pawn. It’s a new take on the old idea - and it’s fresh and fascinating in Moreno-Garcia’s hands.
“Casiopea Tun was off into the world, not in the way she had imagined, but off nevertheless.”
Casiopea Tun is an outcast in her rich provincial Yucatán family. Born out of an undesired marriage and inheriting more “Indian” blood than her family desired, she is treated as little more than a servant and is subjected to the strong antipathy from her cousin who is slated to become an heir for the family fortunes. Mexican Jazz Age in 1927 may as well be happening in another world; to her it’s little but unattainable dreams and secret newspaper clippings. And then, one day she unwittingly frees the trapped Mayan god of Death Hun-Kamé and through parasitic life-draining spiritual link becomes his accomplice and tool on his quest to reclaim the Underworld - Xibalba - from his usurper brother. But through his link to her, through parasitic use of her life force, the god of Death himself attains shreds of humanity. And where young man and woman meet, love is certain to follow, or so the stories go.
“The things you name do grow in power, but others that are not ever whispered claw at one’s heart anyway, rip it to shreds even if a syllable does not escape the lips.”

That’s the story, but told like that it sounds cliche and cheesy and ripe for the pages of a young adult novel with the heroine who doesn’t know she’s beautiful (oh how I loathe that trope) and an attractive immortal whose darkness hides the heart of gold.

And it says something about Moreno-Garcia’s skill that it never becomes this tired cliche.

What saves it and makes it special and memorable?

The dinosaur-killing asteroid responsible for Chicxulub crater on the Yucatán peninsula also added magical energy to that place. Apparently.

I think the main saving grace is the deft use of not only Mayan mythology (of which I confess I know nothing outside of what this book tells us) but Moreno-Garcia’s ability to create a truly atmospheric setting, interweaving mythology and already historic Jazz Age modernity. The world of gods she created has teeth and is not afraid to bite. Blood sacrifices and hungry ghosts of the supernatural realm and sexism and racism and classism of the mundane world compliment each other perfectly.
“Was I cruel? I was a god; you might as well ask the river if it is gentle in its path, or the hail whether it hurts the land when it strikes it.”

There’s something about her prose there that falls in the fairy-tale rhythm seemingly effortlessly, with slightly formal undertones that give the narration a somewhat dreamy and surreal feel, appropriate to the myths in which is finds its roots. The rhythms and cadences are suited so well for the feel of being *told* this story, in the oral tradition of myths and folk tales, by the omniscient third-person narrator which fits the story mood so well. (I’m getting tired of frequent first-person narration, honestly.)
“She smiled at Hun-Kamé. He smiled at her too. What was this? A simple act of mimicry? No. The smile, like his laughter, like the errant dream, came from his heart. Did he realize it? No. Does everyone who has been young and foolish realize the extent and depth of their emotions? Of course not.”
It is also a story where characters try to act like adults. There are hard choices to be made, and they are made with reason and logic and thoughts of the future beyond immediate gratification and fairytale love-conquers-all bring-on-the-happily-ever-after attitude. First love is not all-encompassing. Childhood slights do not form the beacons for the future. Revenge is pitted against reason, and reason seems to prevail. And the romance is light, blissfully never overpowering, never sliding into that angst that other stories of this kind can get oversaturated with.
“It wasn’t fair. But there wasn’t an “after” in stories, was there? The curtain simply fell. She was not in a fairy tale, in any case. What “after” could there be?”
I read this book in one sitting in a slightly dazed post-migraine brain haze that may have made it even more evocative than what it actually is - and those were few hours well-spent. I loved the journey through the Jazz Age Mexico and into the Underworld with a part-human Mayan Death god and a practical young woman figuring out what freedom and love mean. I see why it got the Nebula Award nomination.

4 stars.

My Hugo and Nebula Awards Reading Project 2020: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Mari.
708 reviews5,595 followers
January 15, 2020

Why you may not like this book: A peak through the reviews might leave you confused as some people describe this as slow and some as swift. I think it depends what you are expecting. To me, this didn't have those injections of action sequences that I've come to expect from fantasy, but it was a quest and there is a time clock that pulls you toward the end. I would describe this as steady. If you want a slower, deeper character study or a faster, more action filled adventure, this will not quite satisfy. I would not recommend this for people who generally don't enjoy fairytales, as I think you will miss a lot of what Moreno-Garcia has recreated. I also would avoid if you struggle with love stories that are on the angsty/star-crossed style. I've seen plenty of comparisons between this and Cinderella, which feels kind of cheap considering the real tie is that our MC starts the story working for her rich family. This is more closely a death and the maiden story, to me, which I think is helpful in deciding if you will enjoy.

Why I loved this book: That steady pace was so delicious to me. It felt thoughtful and I enjoyed every single piece Moreno-Garcia put down, from each element of Mayan mythology to each detail about the Jazz age to every step in Casiopea's character arc.

I love Moreno-Garcia's writing. I find it very evocative and I love the ways she uses the senses in order to build her fantastical worlds. This is a setting and a story that is rich in color. She grounds the her story of gods and magic in not only a historical context, but with a main character I felt was an excellent entry point into the story. This is very much a coming of age story, and while this is adult fiction, I think the influence of that coming of age, of Casiopea being out in the world for the first time, makes this read younger than expected. I love coming of age stories, however, and I didn't mind one bit.

This story explores a lot of duality, the strengths and weaknesses of our Casiopea's character, the push and pull of Hun-Kame becoming human and more relateable, and becoming the own master of your destiny alongside the inevitable pull of death.

I loved it so much.
Profile Image for ;3.
441 reviews887 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 6, 2019
for a god of death he sure does have the personality of a sack of flour
July 5, 2023
Gods of Jade and Shadow is an indigenous fairy tale that is closely intertwined with Mayan mythology. It was doubtless beautiful and intricately written – but it was mostly lost on me. I went into this fully wishing for and expecting a Hades and Persephone-esque tale... but I didn't get it 🥺🥺🥺

It’s the Jazz Age in Mexico, but Casiopea Tun lives in a small, forgotten town and spends her days scrubbing the floors of her wealthy grandfather's house. She's certainly too busy to listen to any fast tunes, but she dreams of seeing the world outside her town, of exploring what lies beyond. This, however, seems to be a distant and unlikely future -- until one day she stumbles across a box in her grandfather's room. It turns out to contain the bones of the Lord of Death, and he entrusts Casiopea to journey with him in regaining his throne. The adventure brings her from the forests of Yucatan to the bright lights of Mexico City, and finally to the bleak darkness of the Underworld.

The synopsis sounds magical and that's why I picked it up, but I found that I couldn't enjoy the book because it was so difficult for me to get into it. It just didn't have that addictive storytelling skill that is typical of fairy tales (and pales in comparison to THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE, which also deals with mythology and folklore).

The story itself was a love letter to Mexico. But ironically, this made me feel even more disconnected from Casiopea and Hun-Kame. The descriptions of Mexican architecture and the culture during the Jazz Age were interesting, but dragged at times to the point I found it slightly onerous. Every time a new destination was reached, Moreno-Garcia feels the need to outline it in great detail; while this was undoubtedly supposed to have the purpose of painting a clear picture, it rather turned me off. If I had to pinpoint why I didn't love Gods of Jade and Shadow as much as others did, it would probably be this.

However, I will not deny that the author's whimsical way of writing about romance, and the death god gradually becoming more mortal was beautiful. So I shall leave you with these quotes, for you to decide if you like Moreno-Garcia's writing style (which didn't really resonate with me).

They were quiet and they were foolish, both of them, thinking they were treading with any delicacy, and that if they somehow moderated their voices they'd stop the tide of emotion. The things you name do grow in power, but others that are not ever whispered claw at one's heart anyway, rip it to shreds even if a syllable does not escape the lips. The silence was hopeless in any case, since something escaped the god, anyway: a sigh to match the girl's own.

When there was but a gray speck of his heart left, he bent down and kissed her again, briefly, a brush of lips. A grain of dust may contain a universe inside, and it was the same for him. Within that grey speck there lived his love and he gave it to Casiopea, for her to see. He'd fallen in love slowly and quietly, and it was a quiet sort of love, full of phrases left unsaid, laced with dreams. He had imagined himself a man for her, and he allowed her to see the extent of this man....
Profile Image for Pang.
421 reviews359 followers
June 27, 2023
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Mayan Divine Stars!! 😁👏👏🏻👍


Wow!! 😮 I have never read any fiction about Mayan before.
( From what I remember! lol ) So, me Pang and my friend Heather then travelled together through this ancient civilization fantasy world and met Mayan God of Death!! 😱

Casiopea accidentally frees this death god spirit, Hun-Kamé whose his throne lost to his bro! So, Casiopea must help him to get his throne back! With the adventure to 'Xibalba' and slow-burned romance that happen along the way.

' Journey to an Ancient Mayan Divine world. Oh wow so exciting!! '

Seriously guys! I was skeptical all the way that which god is good? which god is bad? 🤔 and I'm afraid of the twists!! I'm afraid if I'm rooting for the wrong one, he will fool me and my Casiopea's poor little heart will shatter. 😭💔

Whatever, they both are hott with capital 'T' :P *always fall for cunning boys sighhh* The climax scene with Casiopea is oh so much fun and heartstopping!! which made me rooting for her till the end!! 😢 OMG *sobs* bitterwseet, my friends. 😭


The describtion of Xibalba is really mesmerizing, man 😮 that made want to see it real. So, I beg someone adapt this book to the movie, I want to see it pretty pls!! lol!

Last but not least..
Profile Image for Marzuqa.
63 reviews57 followers
January 7, 2021
My 10 year old “fairytale-buff” self is thoroughly satisfied. I expected this to be good, but not this good. This was so heartwarming and mesmerizing.
I went into this with absolutely zero knowledge on Mexican folklore, but that didn’t matter because the writing and story line were so consuming.
I truly feel like Moreno-Garcia’s works deserve a lot more acclaim than they get. I’m just so glad I picked this up.
Profile Image for Charlotte Kersten.
Author 3 books467 followers
February 6, 2022
“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.”

Spoilers and mentions of abuse and suicide follow.

So What’s It About?

“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.”

What I Thought

I have been meaning to read something by Silvia Moreno-Garcia for a very long time, and now I will definitely be seeking out more of her works in the future. Gods of Jade and Shadow was a thoroughly enjoyable tale of love and mythology intertwined in the most magical of ways.

A lot of my enjoyment has to do with how absolutely replete with ambiance this book is: the settings from Veracruz to Tijuana to Mexico City were all so vividly described and beautifully realized. You truly feel the vibrancy of Mexican life and culture in the Jazz Age, while it’s also clear from Casiopea’s humble beginnings in a poor little town that many people were not able to partake in that enjoyment and excitement. While the real world settings jumped off the page, I also loved the descriptions of Xibalba, the realm of the Mayan gods of death.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Casiopea as a protagonist. She was funny, smart, courageous, kind and good and overall just such a pleasure to read about. It sounds cheesy but in many ways the story is about her learning to believe in her dreams, and gradually realizing that she can live a life filled with agency as opposed to abuse and drudgery. She also learns to overcome some of her internalized judgement regarding what makes a “good” or “bad” woman after doing things like getting a haircut, wearing more modern clothes and being drawn to Hun-Kamé.

Hun-Kamé himself seems to be one of the more polarizing aspects of the story, and some of my friends have said that they found him to be boring. I can understand that, but instead of describing him as boring I’d say that in the beginning of the book he is simply aloof and inaccessible in the way that you might expect from an immortal all-powerful being bent on vengeance. Over the course of the story he grows more human and we see him learn about compassion and humor and vulnerability before becoming a god once again. I think it’s possible that some readers didn’t care for this process of transformation, or possibly they found it too subtle, or they were offput by that distance he embodies in the beginning.

I’m actually a pretty big fan of the romance that develops between Hun-Kamé and Casiopea because I’ve only read a few romances that do what I think Moreno-Garcia does here: she creates a romance where it is apparent that these characters do care for each other, but you also see why their relationship will not and should not work. At the heart of this matter is Hun-Kamé’s nature as a god and the power dynamic it creates. We see Hun-Kamé’s entitlement to all that Casiopea must do for him, and over the course of the story she must repeatedly make sacrifices and put herself at risk for his sake to the point that she sacrifices her life to win the competition in the Underworld. Clearly this is not a healthy relationship because part of Hun-Kamé is unable to see her as anything more than a disposable tool in his quest for vengeance. But there is another part of him, the human part, that does truly come to care for her, and the conflict between these two parts is what makes their parting at the end of the story incredibly bittersweet but entirely appropriate. I haven’t read many romances that end like this one does, with both people ending up happy despite the fact that they are not with the person they love, and I have to say that it was deeply refreshing.

I also loved that the main antagonists were given. Martin ultimately finds a bit of redemption upon refusing to kill Casiopea, and Hun-Kamé’s brother has a clear motivation for his actions. I found his cause to be fascinating in that he wanted to spread Mayan worship across the world to increase his influence after the fall of the Mayan civilization. If I have any complaints about the plot it'd probably be that it feels as though the retrieval of each piece of Hun-Kamé comes so easily for the pair of them that it rather lowered the stakes of the story. I think the difficult part was always supposed to be the confrontation between the brothers, but it did bother me that the rest of it seemed so easy.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rodrigo Unda.
Author 1 book4,023 followers
January 20, 2023
Uffff, cuando comencé este libro jamás me imaginé encontrarme con una historia que me atrapara tanto.

Un Dios maya de la muerte es liberado por Casiopea, quien ahora está atada a él hasta ayudarlo a recuperar su reino. Si falla, ambos morirán.

WOOOOW jajaja, desde la trama sabía que tenía potencial de ser una novela que me gustara mucho. Y me siento demasiado feliz de que así haya sido.

Personajes complejos, mensajes sobre la muerte y el miedo que los humanos le tenemos a esta, una aventura súper entretenida y… un romance que jamás espere encontrar.

Casiopea se me hizo un personaje muy completo. Me encantó su actitud y su fortaleza. De esos personajes que sientes que son héroes sin capa por sus convicciones y valores.

La neta es que cada capítulo valió la pena y me hizo querer seguir y seguir sin parar.

Para hace mucho no leer fantasía; y no considerarme un fanático de este género, considero que es una obra muy completa que si o si, se disfruta.

Un plus es que está desarrollada en México y la cultura Maya. Entonces pude apreciar Yucatán, la CDMX, tijuana y hasta Veracruz. Y la ambientación de los años 20, que es cuando se desarrolla, esta muy bien lograda.

Recomendada 🙌🏻
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,102 followers
September 3, 2019
This one could have gone either way with me. Either I would bounce or I would fall in love. Fortunately, it had all the right mixtures, enjoyable classic storytelling, great characters, and above all, it was a very fun read.

So I call this one a winner. Whew! Aztec death gods. The 1920's. And we throw this poor girl into a situation where she must help a death god find his missing pieces before he drains the life from her and he loses his godhood... in mortality.

Such. A. Classic. Storyline. I mean, you can almost smell the romance from here. The transference of godhood and mortality between these two individuals, the hearts racing, the shared desire to quest it out sooner, faster, harder, before she loses all her vitality? Beautiful.

No spoilers. This is just beautiful Mexican storytelling. Tragic and heartfelt and desperate. And don't think this is all. It's a story about family, too. About brothers. Cousins. About life and death and reaching for what you want NOW. :)

Am I a fan? Yes, I am.

Profile Image for B.
120 reviews12.2k followers
August 12, 2021
I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would! After reading Mexican Gothic I was a bit on the fence about Sylvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing/plot style, but I really didn’t need to be. That one was convoluted because it’s a thriller/mystery- this was extremely straightforward. A classic adventure story following a girl who’s wanted nothing more than to get away from a household that doesn’t appreciate her. Of course, snooping where she shouldn’t be she accidentally awakens an ancient Mayan God of Death and has to journey with him to regain his thrown.

There were a few plot points that I felt never were resolved, ones that I thought would impact the story more. I also just wish that the love story was a bit *more*, but that’s personal preference. I loved the slow build, I liked the classic journey pattern, and I actually enjoyed the ending even if it’s not something I expected to come out of it.

Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
580 reviews4,078 followers
January 29, 2023
Me ha gustado mucho, es verdad que es una historia más bien sencilla y contada de una manera ligera, pero para mi esto ha sido positivo, me ha enganchado muchísimo la historia y la he disfrutado un montón.
El tono juvenil y el punto romántico que tiene no me ha molestado tampoco, para mi lo mejor del libro es esa fascinante ambientación llena de mitología Maya, seres fantásticos y el increíble México de los años 20 como contexto.
El desenlace creo que le da sentido a toda la historia y me sorprendió muy positivamente, de hecho hacía tiempo que un final no me sacaba una sonrisa tan amplia.
Profile Image for Olive Fellows (abookolive).
613 reviews5,001 followers
January 23, 2021
I have two reviews for this beauty!
A video on Booktube...

and the below written review originally appeared on Open Letters Review:

In her newest release, Silvia Moreno-Garcia gives readers the glitz of the Jazz Age, south of the border. Gods of Jade and Shadow, based in Mayan mythology, tells the story of eighteen-year-old Casiopea Tun, who unwittingly releases the rightful king of the underworld of Xibalba from his makeshift tomb in her grandfather’s home. Set on the Yucatán peninsula in the 1920s, the story braids together the familiar and the novel.

Comparisons to Cinderella will come quick to the mind when readers are presented with the downtrodden situation of the main character when we first meet her. Casiopea and her mother have lived in her grandfather’s lavish abode for years but receive none of the spoils of his wealth. Quite the opposite, in fact; they are expected to wait on their relatives while suffering verbal and physical abuse due to the family’s belief that the actions and background of the mother-daughter pair brand them as lower class. Casiopea yearns for the opportunity not solely to be free of this torment, but to finally experience the world beyond her small town:

She had looked up at the night sky far too often, trying to divine her future in the face of the pockmarked moon. Casiopea was a realist, but her youth made it impossible to remain rooted to the earth every second of the day. Once in a while she sneaked a line of poetry into her heart, or memorized the name of a star.

There are indeed several similarities between Casiopea and arguably the most famous of all fairy tale princesses. Both are trapped by family, both long to hear the click of their heels on the dance floor, and, most critically, both are deeply kind at the core. However, our leading lady is far more of a spitfire than Cinderella ever dreamed of being. She is rarely afraid to speak her mind or go against those with far more power than her own if she believes she is doing the morally correct thing. She is far from the vain and boastful queen of the constellation for which she was named.

This proves helpful and problematic for the former prisoner, the ousted ruler of the underworld Hun-Kamé. It is exclusively Casiopea’s lifeblood that sustains him in his partially human resurrected form, so she must accompany him on his quest to find three missing body parts he needs to obtain before regaining his full power and status. While he is kept alive by the fiery energy of our young protagonist, there is a serious time crunch factor. The longer the two are linked, the more human the god will become; if the situation goes on too long, he will absorb the life right out of her. He must find the lost appendages before he is made whole and can sever the link between them, at which point he will triumphantly reclaim his throne and exact his revenge.

As Cassiopea and her devilish companion inch closer to their mutually beneficial goal, we begin to notice a change in Hun-Kamé that, on the surface, appears to be an improvement. He’s softer around the edges and notably less harsh with our heroine. Yet this is actually evidence of the urgency of their task; he is becoming more human by the minute as his link with Casiopea intensifies. This provides a refreshing yet heartbreaking take on the slow-burn romance: the growing affection between these two characters produces as much anxiety as it does satisfaction since the more relatable the god becomes, the worse their mutual situation grows. Will Casiopea sever the link between them through her own act of sacrifice? Or will she be a Mexican Mephistopheles, serving at the hands of the devil until the bitter end?

Moreno-Garcia’s 2015 release Signal to Noise had readers hearing the music that sits at the heart of the main character as well as the story. But in this new novel, the author pivots on what sense she targets. She focuses not on our ears but our mind’s eye as she brings this world to life with color. The titular jade is abundant and the author’s palette is expansive. As Casiopea and Hun-Kamé travel around Mexico and into the Southwestern United States, the simple yet richly evocative prose vividly paints their path and the various other magical characters they meet on it. Even the underworld, a place we would assume would be the epitome of drab, comes alive with vibrant hues:

Xibalba, splendid and frightful, was a land of stifling gloom, lit by a cheerless night-sun and lacking a moon. The hour of twilight did not cease here. In Xibalba’s rivers there lurked jade caimans, alabaster fish swam in ink-black ponds, and glass insects buzzed about, creating a peculiar melody with the tinkering of their transparent wings.

The effect is deeply sensory and absorbing, taking the reader on a visual and emotional journey as the two leading characters are confronted with fearsome foes and impossible choices.

Readers of Naomi Novik will drink this book in with greedy gulps. Concise yet commanding and measuredly paced, Gods of Jade and Shadow combines whimsy, adventure, and an uplifting central message to create the kind of rip-roaring good time that myths are made of.
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