I read Gods of Jade and Shadow while I was on the beach yesterday. It’s currently storming, so I’m inside writing this review!
In Gods of Jade and Shadow, eighteen-year-old Casiopea Tun lives in Mexico in the 1920’s. But her town is small and traditional, and she lives in her grandfather’s house, where she is forced to serve him and his grandson, Martín. But one day, she opens a locked box in her grandfather’s room and unleashes the Mayan god of death: Hun-Kamé. Together, Casiopea and Hun-Kamé go on a journey to reclaim Hun-Kamé’s throne from his brother in Xibalba: The Underworld.
In a lot of ways, this book defies genres. It’s a mix of Mayan mythology, magical realism, and historical fiction. I love all of the different elements thrown together; it makes for such a rich and interesting culture and setting. Moreno-Garcia crafts a dark and mythic world.
I love Casiopea’s character, and I enjoyed following her journey. She’s such a strong character who, even though she’s a little lost in the world, knows who she wants to be. She’s determined and strong-willed but caring and righteous, and I enjoyed getting to know her.
I also enjoyed reading about the character of Hun-Kamé. I loved how the author described him and wrote him as a complex god who tried his best to figure out Casiopea as well as his brother.
This is one of those books that’s full of memorable lines.
“Dreams are for mortals.”
“Because they must die.” (121).
“Is that why you stare at stars?” he asked. “Are you searching for beauty or dreaming with your eyes wide open?” (122).
“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.”
I loved the author’s descriptions, and I loved reading about Casiopea and Hun-Kamé’s journey.
VERDICT: 5 stars