Title: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published: July 23, 2019 by Random House Audio
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Inspired by Mexican folklore, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a magical, wildly imaginative coming-of-age tale for fans of Katherine Arden, Naomi Novik and Helene Wecker.
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy scrubbing floors in her wealthy grandfather’s house to do more than dream of a life far from her small town in southern Mexico.
Until the day she accidentally frees an ancient Mayan god of death, who offers her a deal: in return for Casiopea’s help in recovering his throne, he will grant her whatever she desires.
From the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City and deep into the darkness of Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, Casiopea’s adventure will take her on a perilous cross-country odyssey beyond anything she’s ever known.
Success will make her every dream come true, but failure will see her lost, for ever . . .
Why did I wait so long to read it?
This. Book. So I had it on my TBR as soon as the publisher dropped news of it, but I never got around to reading it. It was recommended to me about twenty times before I decided to go the audiobook route and read it.
“‘God sees your heart, Cassiopeia. It is a good heart.'”
Cassiopeia is one of my favorite characters of all time. Yeah, I said it. From the onset, I realized that I loved her character and I continued to admire her boldness and strength. She is the strong, determined woman that YA deserves and I am so here for it. Cassiopeia brought this book up by several notches and her character growth was amazing.
I’m going to be honest (I always am): I didn’t care for the sibling rivalry half as much as I cared for the slow burn romance.
Oops. The struggle for power, the lack of brotherly love, that doesn’t call to me. However, the dynamic between Cassiopeia and Hun-Kamé was fire. Glances when the other isn’t looking, noting how the other is acting different (why are they acting different?!?), and the banter between the two. I’m not sorry for loving this relationship, it was such a good buildup. Definitely one of the best slow burns I’ve read in a long time.
NO SPOILERS but I’m going to tip toe around the end while giving a few random thoughts from the book.
Martín was the worst but that character growth really was something. It showcased the strength of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing. Writing real characters is one thing, writing real characters and making you hate them is another, writing real character that you hate until they see the error of their ways and start to change is some next level stuff.
The folklore was amazing and I appreciated it so much. The setting, 1920s Mexico City, is comparable to 1920s New York so I’m not sure why more authors aren’t writing books in this setting.
This book was magical. Really! The fantasy element of this novel did not disappoint in the slightest and while it wasn’t something I was actively focused on, it really made the book that much more perfect.
I had so many feelings. From start to finish, this was an emotional read. The ending was what I wanted, even if it hurt. When the book was over and I took out my earbuds, I cried. This book was beautiful.
If you haven’t read it yet, please please consider changing that. I highly recommend it to lovers of fantasy, slow burn romance, and anyone looking for an interesting and diverse read.