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The Goldsmith's Daughter

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  275 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
A young girl's struggle to change her destiny set against the destruction of the Aztec empire.
In the golden city of Tenochtitlan, Emperor Montezuma rules with an iron rod and people live in fear of the gods. Itacate, a girl born under an ill-fated sky, is destined for a life of submission and domestic drudgery. But when her father, a goldsmith, discovers her talent for hi
Paperback, 290 pages
Published June 2nd 2008 by Walker Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 597)
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I loved this book.

Not only did it outline my ideas and images of the Aztec society,
but it carried on a romance that for me was wonderful.
Even though this is a rather depressing tale, I think it really does touch on the role of women in society
as well as the fall of the empire itself.

Lastly I feel this is not for the faint of heart. It is not a read that will leave you feeling particularly happy
but more of a sense that the main character is stripped of what she has known her whole life (view s
Book Concierge

A novel set in the 15th century city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire ruled by Montezuma. Fifteen-year-old Itacate has lived under a cloud of darkness since she was born and the priests predicted she would bring ruin to her family. Her mother died in childbirth, but her father has cared for her and her twin brother Mitotiqui. As they leave childhood behind their paths diverge – Mitotiqui begins formal schooling, while Itacate, like other girls her age, begins to learn house
Shanna Smith
Another female empowering book, but not as good as "I am Apache."
Faith Chin
Nov 28, 2011 Faith Chin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grade-6
This book is fantastic! It really shows a lot of facts about the Aztecs. This story is about a Aztec girl named Itacate. She was 15 when the Spaniards arrive in Mexico (I'm not sure what the place is called then) and started to take over the Aztec cities and empire. Itacate was a talented goldsmith like her dad (though women can't be one). It impressed the king, Montezuma, yet also the leader of the Spaniards, Cortez. Itacate is a very skilled goldsmith, from tiny gold figurines, to massive gold ...more
May 27, 2011 Krystle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You know for a book that takes place during the Aztec period, you’d think this would be some awesomeness, right? Hah, wrong! I can’t believe how boring this thing was!

I mean, for such a short book, it took me ages to finish this thing. Mostly because I wasn’t attached to any of the characters and the plot was really uneventful. The girl was sort of a selfish brat and I don’t know, it just lacked tension. The romance was super rushed. How do you fall in love just by seeing someone for like two se
I enjoyed this book, but I am only giving it 3 stars instead of 4 because I found the historical inaccuracies troubling. I think historical fiction should be based in historical fact as much as possible. The author states that she combined history of Peru and the Carribean in with the history of the Aztec Empire, and even combined Cortés and Alvarado into one person, Cortés. Wtf?
Upon her birth, which caused her mother's death, Itacate was declared by Aztec priests to be a curse, that she would bring ruin to those around her. As she grows up, her twin brother Mitotiqui enjoys the freedom and education allowed boys while she feels hemmed in by domestic duties. What saves her is her natural talent working with gold; her father secretly allows her to help in his workshop. But the violent arrival of Cortes and the Spaniards turns life in Tenochititlan, and the population's l ...more
Jan 24, 2016 Ella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was pretty boring at the beginning, but when things started getting a bit more tense in the middle that became more interesting. If I were in Itacate's shoes, I'd feel all the pain and emotions that she hides within herself. For her to have a such a talent is wonderful and for her to fall in love with a man other than her kind is wonderful as well. The loss, the pain, feelings.. they just come in one huge package. When she mourn for someone, I felt the pain as well. For her to go into ...more
Tanita S.
Jul 02, 2009 Tanita S. rated it liked it
How often do you run across a book set in the Aztec empire in YA?
Erin Sterling
Set at the height of Tenotchitlan's glory with Montezuma in power, Itacate is a teenage girl who really wants to be a goldsmith like her father but knows that girls are not allowed to be and has a curse hanging over her head. However, when she secretly begins helping her father and taking over the craft, the emperor takes notice of the goldsmith's art and Itacate has to go to the temple with her father and create a masterpiece. Meanwhile, her twin brother, who is jealous of her father's interest ...more
Sep 27, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Itacate was born in the great city of Tenochtitlán during the last years of the ill-fated Aztec empire. Her mother died giving birth to Itacate and her twin brother, and Itacate herself almost didn’t survive. As a result, she is considered from birth to be unlucky and destined to a terrible future, while her brother is believed to be destined to greatness. She spends her childhood mostly ignored, until her father, a goldsmith, discovers her talents and makes her his secret apprentice. But the ye ...more
Sep 27, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Itacate was born in the great city of Tenochtitlán during the last years of the ill-fated Aztec empire. Her mother died giving birth to Itacate and her twin brother, and Itacate herself almost didn’t survive. As a result, she is considered from birth to be unlucky and destined to a terrible future, while her brother is believed to be destined to greatness. She spends her childhood mostly ignored, until her father, a goldsmith, discovers her talents and makes her his secret apprentice. But the ye ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for

Fifteen-year-old Itacate, an Aztec girl who lives in the great city of Tenochtitlán, began her life by defying the gods, refusing to be cast aside in the corner and left to die. Born under a bad sky a few moments before her twin brother's welcome birth, the priests predict that she will bring ill fortune to all those around her, while her brother is destined to be a great warrior.

Itacate loves her brother, Mitotiqui, dearly, but cannot help but fe
Dec 26, 2014 Alexandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Goldsmith's Daughter was written really well. A friend of mine recommended it to me a while ago, and only now I had the chance to read it. I must tell you, I was impressed with it. It was a great story with a wonderful plot. I felt like I was right there next to the main character, Itacate throughout the entire novel. It was very descriptive and included a lot of facts that helped me better understand facts about the Aztec Empire. I will definitely recommend it to my friends and family and I ...more
Laura Cassels
May 01, 2016 Laura Cassels rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great empowering tale for women - this book is written with such rich descriptions I could picture what it would have been like to live as a skilled and wilfull woman during the Aztec empire. The tale isn't the usual love conquers all, happily ever after affair that many modern books boast of. I appreciated its honesty that misfortune and romance often go hand in hand. The male to female roles and the descriptions of sacrifice and honouring Gods were also fantastic.
Mar 29, 2010 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't entirely sure where this would go - the cover was pretty, and the review sounded like it might be good. That is often all I have to go on.

It was a good story, with familiar elements - young girl in a society where women are not valued, who has a talent that only men should have. She was marked as 'bad luck' at birth, and that - with the whole "women are worthless" thing, colored her existence. Despite this, she thrives. Her father recognizes the talent and even breaks tradition by allo
Candy Wood
The Goldsmith's Daughter is about the conquest of the Aztecs in 16th-century Mexico. Though Landman lists twelve sources in a bibliography at the end, she doesn't claim that the story is historically accurate. The narrator is a girl in Montezuma's city--she, not her twin brother, has the aptitude to take up their father's craft, but she is supposed to do women's work instead. When she falls in love with one of the Spanish invaders (who also trained as a goldsmith, and loves her at first sight to ...more
Hayley Jones
Jul 29, 2013 Hayley Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up about the same time as I got Apache. When I started reading it I didn't really want to. I wanted to read a mermaid book I have. I'm so glad I read this, it was so good. Easy to read, beautifully written and I didn't know where the story would go next.

I thought the gods and culture were really interesting and I could tell that Tanya Landman had done a lot of research into it. The characters were interesting and I liked the main character a lot. Although I couldn't pronounce the
Jul 28, 2011 Maria rated it liked it
I prefer my historical fiction to be a little more complex than this. On the other hand, this is easy to read and for readers without much knowledge of the time and place in which it is set, it offers some insights into a civilisation. I just wish there'd been more of an exploration of what motivated Montezuma to simply allow the Spanish into his city - I don't go along with the idea that it was simply cultural differences, and a thirst for gold, that led to the destruction of a people.
The char
Dils AB
Nov 01, 2015 Dils AB rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-ya
A story of an Aztec girl during the height of Tenochtitlan era, just before the Spanish invasion. She was born from a twin, a brother who was prophesied to be great and she was prophesied to be nothing, and even to bring doom to all.

I like the story, I understand that it is not that historically accurate but whatever the author fabricate is quite wonderful.

The girl seems distant, but reachable. Her struggle is familiar even to us the modern women, that we are sympathetic for her but we never t
the plot was whatever, but I found all the Aztec cultural aspects fascinating. sometimes it read like a textbook rather than a novel, though.
Jan 14, 2010 Jon rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
YA orientated fiction based around the arrival of the Conquistadores into Pre Columbian Mexico and the ensuing blood bath and clash of religion and beliefs. Touch of Romance woven in. I usually go for a bit meatier book fare, not a huge YA buff, but wasnt at all bad, and actually bordering on the PG rated i would have said for your average early teen. Things hotted up in the second half, pretty action packed. Quite thought provoking too, i.e on the obscene business of colonial expansion, in this ...more
The real action of the book didn't start until about the halfway point. Until that time it was a lot of blah blah blah about daily life in the Aztec Empire, which you would think might be fascinating, but in this book read kind of dry. Then once the action started, it didn't last long enough, everyone died, and then there was a lame escape at the end. And THEN I read the author's notes only to find that she kind of relocated a couple of things from Peru and the Caribbean, changed a couple histor ...more
Mar 22, 2010 paula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
There is a lot to like in this book. Ms. Landman skilfully works a luxury of detail into the story. All five senses are engaged by descriptions of the crowded marketplace, the floating fields, the smelly conquistadors and meticulously-groomed Aztec nobles, the gold and turquoise treasures - even the fighting and the food are depicted in vivid language. It is difficult, however, to shake one's distaste for Itacate's love life.

Full review on Pink Me:
Sarah Grujic
Adventrous book!!!
Varsha Seshan
Jan 23, 2014 Varsha Seshan rated it really liked it
The story of a young girl, restricted by stereotypes, a barbaric government and history. Yet, a story that transcends all these.
Aug 03, 2010 Tina rated it liked it
Fairly well written with a predictable plot. The story takes place during the final days of the Aztec empire, culminating with the desolation by the Spanish conquistadors. Interesting portrayal of 2 very violent, gold obsessed cultures. Since I know little about the history of MesoAmerica during this time, I'm curious about which events are actual and which are fiction (e.g. astronomical phenomena, etc.) I would say it is definitely a Young Adult level book, due to the themes.
"When I slid into this world, my tiny body gliding wetly across the floor of my father's house like a fish plucked from the lake, I was pronounced dead." How can you not read on?


Somewhat stark and graphic. An Aztec girl is swept up in Cortés's plundering of the magnificent city of Tenochtitlán. While we get a reading of the clash of two religions that privileges the Aztecs, ultimately the narrator rejects all religion and society. Oh, and there's romance.
I was expecting to see rich, luscious folds of forest green, Aztec gold, terracotta red and obsidian blades. Instead the story felt bland. There was no struggle, only flat jealousy, talent that was undeveloped and unexplained, incredulous I-saw-you-in-a-dream-and-so-it's-love-at-first-sight, interior monologue that was an incessant drone of her worry and self-observed risk and bravado...don't bother with this. Really.
Jenny Blackford
A fast, interesting read, and nice prose, but the Aztec heroine's mindset is anachronistically modern, the prophecies of doom at her birth too portentous, her rivalry with her male twin too familiar, and it becomes increasingly irritating that she (an obscure craftsman's daughter) just happens to be right next to the centre of almost every big event in the conquest of Mexico (even some that didn't happen).
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