Title: Gods of Jade and Shadow
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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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.
Casiopea Tun is tired of her repetitive life of doing chores for her grandfather and getting picked on by her cousin Martin. She dreams of a life of adventure away from their hometown but this dream seems to be unreachable. Until she opens a chest on her grandfather’s room which carries the imprisoned bones of a God of Death. Together with the newly freed Hun-Kame, Casiopea embarks on a quest and on the adventure she longed for.
Honestly, the beginning kind of threw me off. The first few chapters are just introductions of the main character Casiopea and her boring life in Uukumil, her hometown. The first few chapters are not interesting and it made me want to give up the whole book. However, I kept going and the story starts to get interesting when Hun-Kame and Casiopea starts their quest.
At first, I thought that there was nothing different with this book from other books with the same concept of the characters going on quests. The main characters also seemed just similar to other characters – a girl with a rebellious streak and a cold type of guy who will slowly warm up. However, the setting really adds spice that makes everything different and unique. I haven’t really read much about any Mayan stories and I haven’t really heard much of the places mentioned which made everything fresh for me. It made me excited of what’s yet to come after every chapter.
The romantic tension is electric between Cassiopeia and her god of death companion, who cannot possibly feel love (or can he?)Rick Riordan
I also really liked the romantic aspect in this book. As Rick Riordan mentioned, it was electric. I loved how it didn’t happen right away but they slowly fall in love as their journey progresses. But even if the romance is slow-paced, you could feel the chemistry lurking with every chapter. The development in their romance also stayed true to how the characters develop as the story progresses. I just love portrayal of romance this way in books.
But what impressed me the most with Gods of Jade and Shadow is the ending. It wasn’t the ending I would have expected but it was an ending that made sense. All the character development (and loss of character development) were tied up neatly. I think it was the best ending the book could’ve had.
Overall, Gods of Jade and Shadow was simply just beautiful and I recommend it to everyone who haven’t read it yet.