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Gods of Jade and Shadow

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  9,693 ratings  ·  2,086 reviews
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
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by Del Rey
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Silvia Moreno-Garcia Thank you! Yes, this is an adult novel, as are all my other novels and novellas. SFF by women seems to be automatically classified as YA, which is…moreThank you! Yes, this is an adult novel, as are all my other novels and novellas. SFF by women seems to be automatically classified as YA, which is where the error comes from.

PS: The reasons for having this out as an adult book have to do with the choices of my publisher, but also my own feeling that the omniscient tell-don't-show bits of the novel would make it feel distancing and unappealing for teenagers (plus some other stuff, which I won't go into right now). And sure, there's adults who also hate omniscient POVs, but teens seems to hate them more (at least judging by the ones I know). If new adult had taken off as a category maybe that might have worked as a shelf, but it doesn't seem to have done very well. Ultimately, I think it's a fantasy bildungsroman, which may be very appealing to adults who like a fairy tale feel but also cross-over well to older teenagers.(less)
Jite I completely agree. I got VERY STRONG YA vibes whilst I was reading this, and I don't recall anything in this that makes it inappropriate for a…moreI completely agree. I got VERY STRONG YA vibes whilst I was reading this, and I don't recall anything in this that makes it inappropriate for a secondary school-aged child. Casiopea is pretty much a child and thinks and reacts like a child even though she's remarkably brave and inspiring. However, the author insists that it is not YA so we must respect that, but that shouldn't stop you from recommending it to your daughters. It's an excellent tale of courage and girl power and just competent outstanding girl magic, my instinct is to recommend it to younger girls too or at least adults who really like YA-style fantasy / mythological fiction.(less)

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Chaima ✨ شيماء
Me, flirting with this cover: Hey, have I seen you from somewhere? You remind me of a book....that I should get to know (。•ᴗ-) ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-m-intrigued
Five in the love of Mayan Gods or in the most charismatic and attractive Hun-kame we trust! What an amazing, vivid, joyful, fast-pacing, perfectly described, one cup of mythology and two cups of Mexican culture and history, three cups of author’s unbelievably impeccable and detailed imagination mixed into a fantastic journey stars!

I insist to give too many awards to this book, let’s start our award ceremony (Carlos Santana made its opening by singing “Black Magic Woman” which fits perfectly to
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf

I've dreamed of travelling to Mexico since I've first discovered telenovelas decades ago and if this book is the closest thing to that then so be it.

It really felt like I was sitting at a wooden table listening to a Mexican grandma telling me a story of her childhood while wrapping up tamales. It really felt that warm.

I liked it very much but I didn't love it.
Mostly because I am weird. But that's not all.

I somehow managed to have a tangled
Amalia Gavea
‘’Some people are born under a lucky star, while others have their misfortune telegraphed by the position of the planets. Casiopea Tun, named after a constellation, was born under the most rotten star imaginable in the firmament.’’

Yucatán, Mexico, during the 1920s. Casiopea has found herself in an awful situation. Her beloved father, a lover of mythology and fables, has died. Her mother is a weak woman who only knows how to cry and pray. The young woman has been left practically alone,
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-read
~ A Mayan-inspired fable set in Jazz Era Mexico ~

Channeling her inner-Cinderella, Casiopea Tun, is tidying up around her Grandfather's living quarters when she unintentionally frees Hun-Kame, the Mayan God of Death, from his imprisonment.

Brought back to life after his brother slayed him and captured him in locked box, Hun-Kame is ready to get his life and his kingdom back.

Unfortunately, for Casiopea, he needs her help in order to do so. Whether she likes it or not, she's along for the ride.

Amy Imogene Reads
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unlike anything I’ve ever read. This Mayan death god myth-making tale was perfect.


First off, I am probably in the minority, but I did not see this story as overly similar to a Cinderella tale—the similarities end after the first few chapters. The marketing for Gods of Jade and Shadow bills it as a Jazz-Age Cinderella, but the story felt much more like Hades and Persephone with a dash of the Art Deco.

I could not get enough of this story.

Gods of Jade and
Rebecca Roanhorse
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh, my heart! So, so very good. This is a evocative and moving fairy-tale about a downtrodden girl and the Maya God of Death and how they both find each other and their humanity together. Moreno-Garcia consistently knows how to find my heartstrings and pull them - not in a sappy way but in quiet moments of vulnerability and honesty. Her vision of 1920's Mexico and, more strikingly, the Maya Underworld, are vivid and enchanting and bring the story alive. I'm convinced both are/were equally real. ...more
Emer (A Little Haze)
Publishing July 23rd, 2019

I was so excited when I heard about this book and so was beyond thrilled when I was lucky enough to be granted an ARC from NetGalley and WOW DID THIS BOOK NOT DISAPPOINT!!! I loved it. Absolutely loved it. This book to me is the perfect blend of fantasy, mythology and historical fiction. It's filled with Mayan folklore that truly came alive for me. I must confess I know nothing about Mayan mythology but this book has been a wonderful starting point for me. Apparently it

Why you may not like this book: A peak through the reviews might leave you confused as some people describe this as slow and some as swift. I think it depends what you are expecting. To me, this didn't have those injections of action sequences that I've come to expect from fantasy, but it was a quest and there is a time clock that pulls you toward the end. I would describe this as steady. If you want a slower, deeper character study or a faster, more action filled adventure, this will not quite
enqi ☁️✨
Jun 23, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019-wishlist
"a dark fantasy set in 1920s Mexico inspired by Mayan mythology" and is that a hades & persephone reference i see? this is WONDERFUL. sign me up
Anna Luce
2.5 stars

In spite of the beautiful attention that Gods of Jade and Shadow pays to the function of myths and deities in our everyday lives...this turned out to be an unexpectedly juvenile read...

The swift storytelling found in Gods of Jade and Shadow might not appeal to those readers who prefer slower and more in depth narratives such as The Song of Achilles. Here there is a focus on the action or better yet on the quest undertaken by our protagonist. Scenes rarely featured the same backdrop
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Oct 27, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm not going to write a review of my own book but here's some common questions I get.

1. Will there be a sequel?
Short answer, no. It's intended as a stand-alone.

2. Is it really adult? Isn't it YA?
Book classification is a funny thing. Some reasons for having this out as an adult book have to do with the choices of my publisher, but also my own feeling that the omniscient tell-don't-show bits of the novel would make it feel distancing and unappealing for teenagers (plus some other stuff, which
Rick Riordan
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved Moreno-Garcia’s vampire novel Certain Dark Things, so I was excited to read her take on the Maya gods. Set in Mexico in the 1920s, the book follows Cassiopeia Tun, the ‘poor relations’ granddaughter of a small town patriarch in the Yucatan. Cassiopeia’s mother disgraced the family by eloping with Cassiopeia’s dark-skinned father, then had no choice but to return to her family when her husband died. Now Cassiopeia is forced to work as the family maid, while her arrogant cousin Martín ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2019-shelf
This one could have gone either way with me. Either I would bounce or I would fall in love. Fortunately, it had all the right mixtures, enjoyable classic storytelling, great characters, and above all, it was a very fun read.

So I call this one a winner. Whew! Aztec death gods. The 1920's. And we throw this poor girl into a situation where she must help a death god find his missing pieces before he drains the life from her and he loses his godhood... in mortality.

Such. A. Classic. Storyline. I
Lilith Black
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Amazing book! As l have said in my last update, l am not a big fan of political background. This, and the fact that in the first half the book was slow to read, made me give it 4 . But, otherwise, l highly recommend this beautiful piece, mostly to people that read and liked/loved Middlegame. ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have two reviews for this beauty!
A video on booktube:

and the below written review originally appeared on Open Letters Review:

In her newest release, Silvia Moreno-Garcia gives readers the glitz of the Jazz Age, south of the border. Gods of Jade and Shadow, based in Mayan mythology, tells the story of eighteen-year-old Casiopea Tun, who unwittingly releases the rightful king of the underworld of Xibalba from his makeshift tomb in her grandfather’s home. Set on the
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Jun 23, 2018 marked it as on-my-shelf
"a dark fantasy set in 1920s Mexico inspired by Mayan mythology" this sounds AMAZING
First. let me say that I really enjoyed the complexity of the characters, especially Martin. I mean, I totally hated him and thought he was a horrible person, but I understood him and how he had been shaped by his surroundings to become the little jerk that he did.

I also liked Casiopea and her internal struggles. And yet, at the same, I really didn't like her all that much for some reason. I don't know why! I also didn't quite like Hun-Kamé but at the same time I actually kind of did. I think
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Nerd Daily
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Emma Knight

Gods of Jade and Shadow is inspired by Mayan mythology, which is not written about very often but it really should be. From this book alone, I want to know more about the demons that lurk around the world and the different Gods. Moreno-Garcia links religion and mythology together seamlessly by showing the power of words and belief in what seems improbable.

Life through the eyes of Casiopea changes from dull to vibrant through a simple
Book of the Month
"Why I love it"
by S. A. Chakraborty

From the moment I spotted the phrase “the Mayan god of death in the Jazz Age,” I knew I needed to get my hands on Gods of Jade and Shadow. I’ve always been a fan of historical fantasy, and there’s little I love more than seeing ancient figures thrown into a more modern world. Add in a stunning cover, hints of a rags-to-riches protagonist, and a journey to the Underworld? I was sold.

But this wondrously written book is so much more than that. The story follows
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is kind of reminds me of one of my favorite desserts, deep fried ice-cream. In my favorite restaurants that serve it vanilla is only is only flavor with optional choice of topping, In it's core it's still plain vanilla ice-cream but combination of cold ice-cream, hot pastry around it and topping (caramel ftw) make it more than sum of it's parts and more enjoyable than it sounds. This book is kind of like that. In it's core it's vanilla ice-cream, fairytale like story with awful ...more
K.J. Charles
This was tremendous. A downtrodden girl in 20s Mexico inadvertently wakes the imprisoned Lord of the Dead and has to go on a quest to recover his missing body parts (this is the point we're glad it's fantasy not romance :P) in order for him to reclaim his throne. Wonderful defiant angry heroine, fabulous mythology and magic, really well drawn setting, a lovely villain whose evil lies in selfishness and privilege rather than innate badness, and a terrific thread of romance as well.

It really is
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gods of Jade and Shadow is a fantasy story set in the 1920s. It follows Casiopea Tun, a young woman from a small town in Yucatán, as she travels through Mexico with Hun-Kamé, a Maya god. Hun-Kamé is trying to regain his throne as the god of death, but his closeness with Casiopea makes him more human every day; Casiopea is escaping her abusive and racist family for a free life, but being tied to the god of death might kill her.

This is a journey book. One of the main things I look for in journey
I imagined an old, warm Mexican grandmother telling this story to me while we sat in the backyard gazing at the stars, because why not?

It reads like a fairytale. It reads like a dream. The writing was simply beautiful: it flows like water and sparks the imagination like no other without being overly descriptive or purple.

I like my female leads willful, and sensible and that is what I got in Casiopea.

It is quite easy to draw the parallel with Cinderella at the beginning of the story, but the
Candace Robinson
I was pretty excited for this because I especially loved Sylvia's last book, The Beautiful Ones. And then she's done really great Mexican settings in the two other books I've read by her as well!

What I really liked here was the MC—Casiopea was the perfect character and I loved reading her wittiness in her dialogue and her remarks that she would give to Hun-Kamé. I seriously loved Hun-Kamé, too, especially as his character progressed in the book! The two together had such great chemistry!

Jessica {Litnoob}
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is actual magic and nobody can convince me otherwise. The author managed to take beautiful prose and never bogs us down with it while making the reader feel like we were on a long journey, caked with grainy dirty and jostled by the trains. The seamless blending of “modern” Latin American culture with the wisps of what was there before was everything. I won’t go into details of the story because spoilers but know this is a very character driven tale about finding yourself and your place ...more
Sep 06, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnf, audiobooks
for a god of death he sure does have the personality of a sack of flour
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gods of Jade and Shadow is a brilliantly crafted coming of age story that is part historical fiction, part mythology. Set in 1920's Mexico and drawing on Mayan mythology, the story is brilliantly placed at an intersection of old and new, with all of the complexities that come with it. Casiopea is a young woman from a small village where she spends her days in drudgery, she and her mother being at the mercy of her wealthy and harsh grandfather. Her cousin Martin torments her, frustrated that she ...more
Laura ☾
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
5 stars!

‘Fate is a force more powerful than gods, a fact that they resent, since mortals are often given more leeway and may be able to navigate its current'

In late 1920s Mexico, Casiopeia lives with her grandfather in his Manor House and is essentially treated like a maid, because her mother, who also works for her grandfather as a cook, had eloped with her indigenous late father. They are both the black sheep of the family, and want to escape their lives and the cruelty of their relatives,
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Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Gods of Jade and Shadow. She has also edited a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu's Daughters). Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination.
“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.” 18 likes
“Is that why you stare at the stars?” he asked. “Are you searching for beauty or dreaming with your eyes wide open?” 14 likes
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