Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
TL;DR: The hype is real on this one if you enjoy mythological or fairy tale style stories. I recommend it highly.
- It’s going to be hard for me to not gush all over this book. I checked it out of the library to see if I liked it enough to buy it when it was on sale on eBook – waited too long and missed the sale, and now I’m sad.
- It tells the story of Casiopea Tun who accidentally sets the caged Mayan God of Death free and goes on a road trip to restore him to his throne, while facing down the obstacles his twin brother and usurper throw in the way. Along the way we get to taste and see the world of southern Mexico and up during the Jazz Age. And that my friends is where this was a delight. Silvia Moreno-Garcia really made that time and setting come to life for me. Almost every chapter had an introduction that described and detailed what a place or culture or opinion was like that related to what was happening. At first I wasn’t sold on it, but by the mid-way point I was loving it because this is something I know nothing about.
- The characters had small developments along the way and changed and evolved in ways I could believe and enjoy but really the strength here for me was the setting, atmosphere, and love that you could feel for the culture and time. I did end up loving the characters, even the ones you don’t think you’ll love.
He was afraid, like when he’d been a small child and thought monsters lurked under his bed; only now they did, and he assisted them.
- I also was surprised by the end with the themes – family being one I didn’t expect to feature so strongly or so positively. Narratives and even narrative voice became something that was looked at, and what shapes that. I can’t find the proper words to express how happy I was with the last quarter of the book.
“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,”
- On that note the ending really cinched this for me. I thought I knew where this was going to go and what was going to happen, but instead it did something I didn’t see coming and honestly I finished and just sat there for the rest of the night. I had to let it sit and settle on me.
- On a final note the writing was splendid. I found myself taking pictures of pages to look at later, quotes to remember. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is an author I’ve always seen and put on TBR lists but never gotten to and now I know much, much better. I can’t wait to find more of her work and read it.
I so very much recommend this if you like the sound of it. Try a chapter or sample online or at your local bookstore, but definitely give it a try.
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