Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Synopsis (via Goodreads): The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatรกn to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.


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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is a book that's meant to be savored. I never felt like skimming the pages, or skipping ahead to see what would happen, even though I was really curious how this story would end. This story begs to be read word by word, and with slow precision. The world Silvia Moreno-Garcia created is vibrant and the details are incredible. Whenever Casiopea would arrive somewhere new, we're given a brief history and a rich description of her surroundings. They visit towns we're familiar with, but we see them with new eyes as we're shown what they might've looked like in the past.

This book felt like mythology, historical fiction, and fantasy all wrapped into one, and I really enjoyed the contrast. The author blends her characters, the world, and the story together seamlessly, and I looked forward picking this up throughout the day. It's a book you think about while you're doing the dishes, or when you finally close your eyes at the end of the day. The characters stick with you, and their well-being becomes a very important priority. I love when I feel this attached to the people I'm reading about!

Additionally, I really enjoyed the Mayan mythology interwoven throughout the story. I was unfamiliar with most of it, and loved learning about new people and places. I know that the Greek gods fought with one another, and their stories are often violent. However, the Mayan mythology felt darker. There seemed to be more blood, bones, and black magic. This could also be because the story is about gods of Death.

Casiopea has lived a very difficult life. When she's presented with an opportunity for adventure, it comes at a price. Despite the dire circumstances, Casiopea was always trying to be the better person. She encouraged her companion to let go of his anger, and never wanted people to get hurt. I thought she was an incredible character that deserved all the happiness in the world, and I'm happy with where her story stopped. It was bittersweet and perfect.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is a story about family and forgiveness, magic and mythology, and the power one girl has to change the world forever. We are presented with choices every single day, and it's easy to forget that every choice matters. What we do and what we say can have a profound impact on the rest of our lives.

18 comments:

  1. Some books are just like that. :) I love mythology too, including lesser known myths, so this would probably be my thing. Plus I keep hearing good things about all of this authors work so far.

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    1. I had no knowledge of Mayan mythology going into this one, and I loved every second of it! I haven't read any of her other books, but I'm definitely adding them to my TBR. Let me know if you ever read this one!

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  2. I love your last sentence because that is so very true! I think I would like this one as well. Great review!

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    1. Thanks! I think we sometimes forget how impactful our choices can be. Choosing to be kind instead of cruel can leave a lasting impression on someone's life.

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  3. Oh cool! Glad to hear you liked it - adds to my list.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. It was really enjoyable! A fantastic read. :)

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  4. I thought this sounded interesting - and the cover is great - but it's your review that's convinced me to add this to the TBR!

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    1. It was so good, Nicci! The mythology, the characters, the world-building... all of it was excellent! <3

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  5. I CANNOT wait to dive into this one!!! Awesome review!

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    1. I hope you love it! I'm already looking forward to hearing your thoughts! :)

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  6. Thanks for sharing your review! It does sound very refreshing and I am really looking forward to reading it. ๐Ÿ‘✨

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    1. It was a remarkable read, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! ;)

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  7. I'm reading this right now and I definitely agree with you about savoring it. I love the fairytale aspect and that Mayan mythology got it's time in the sun!

    (Amber Elise @ Du Livre)

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    1. Yes! I really wanted to take my time with this story and absorb all of the mythology and world-building. Mayan mythology isn't something I've seen too often in books, and I was thrilled with its portrayal. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did! <3

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  8. I like the sound of this book, Lindsi. I'll have to look out for it.

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    1. Let me know if you have a chance to read it!

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless