Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Fantasy | Mythology
Published by Del Rey
Released July 23, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
I was inspired to pick up Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow for the #MythTakeReadathon hosted by Ashley at A Frolic Through Fiction. This novel is based on Mexican folklore, which is something that I’ve never read before and was excited to get into. When I saw that Book of the Month was offering it as one of their July selections, I knew I needed to buy it.
The story takes place during the early 1900s in a small town in Yucatan. Casiopea Tun lives with her grandfather and extended family, but she’s forced to work hard to tend to the rest of the family and clean up their messes. She dreams of bigger things and escaping into the city, but doesn’t know how she’ll manage to get out of the frustrating role she’s currently in.
One day she’s left behind during a family outing and decides to open a mysterious locked trunk that her Grandfather keeps in his bedroom. In opening it, she accidentally releases a Mayan god named Hun-Kamé. The god was trapped there after having his head lopped off by his twin brother, and now that he’s free he’s set on taking back his throne and getting revenge. Since Casiopea opened the trunk, she is bound to him, and as he gets stronger, she becomes weaker. They have to win back the throne in order for her to survive.
There were so many aspects of this novel that I loved. I’ve always enjoyed novels set in the 1920s (after all, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books of all time), but I’ve never read a book that was set in Mexico during that time period. It was so exciting to read about, and will definitely inspire me to seek out more books in 1920s Mexico.
The romance in the novel is slow-burn and wonderful, and I really loved the way that the story was tied up in the end regarding that romance. It was more realistic than a fairytale, which is a quality that I wished more fantasy stories had.
Casiopea was a strong, delightful, and snarky character, and I liked her from the very start. She knows that where she’s at in life, in terms of basically being a servant for her family, is not what she wants, and she’s determined to get out and make a new life for herself. I think feeling like we’re not where we’re meant to be is something that a lot of us can relate to.
One last note – I’ve heard from several people that Gods of Jade and Shadow is a Cinderella retelling, but I did not get that vibe or see any of those qualities in this book.
Gods of Jade and Shadow was my first book written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, but I have a feeling that it won’t be the last. She writes in a smooth, full style, and there’s always something going on without being excessive. I was hooked on the story from beginning to end.