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Gods of Jade and Shadow

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  20,715 ratings  ·  3,926 reviews
The Mayan God of Death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore, for readers of The Song of Achilles and Uprooted.

Here we shall begin to tell a story: a tale of a throne lost, of monsters and magic. A tale of gods and of the shadow realm. But this, our story, it begins in our world, in the land of mortal
Kindle Edition, 352 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 whe…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 second…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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Nilufer Ozmekik
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rick Riordan
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 miss ...more
3.75/5 ⭐

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 vis
chai ♡
when a friend presses a book into your chest and says, “read this mortal/immortal slow burn romance with the god of death that’s set in the underworld of Jazz-age Mexico and is inspired by Mayan folklore,” you do not ask further questions and JUST DO IT!
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i enjoyed this a lot more than i thought i would! im really into reading stories inspired by mythology that im not very familiar with, and recently ive had an interest in mesoamerican culture, so this did not disappoint.

i found this to be extremely easy to read. the writing is very straightforward and has more of a ‘telling rather than showing’ feel to me, but i honestly didnt mind it. its also a long journey narrative with not a whole lot happening other than subtle character development. again
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, strug
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read
~ A Mayan-inspired fable set in Jazz Era Mexico ~

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

Captured and sealed in a locked box after being slayed by his brother, Hun-Kame, now free, is ready to get his life and 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.

Tied together b
3.75 stars. This is a beautiful book, but it’s a beauty that kept me at a distance. The world and mythology is lush, and the prose fits the story well, but the feeling of reading a myth kept me from truly engaging with the story. I loved our main character and rooted for her, but truly never felt she was in danger and even though this isn’t a mythology I’m familiar with, I still felt I knew the general beats the story would take. This reminded me a bit of American Gods in that way with the prose ...more
Amy Imogene Reads
Unlike anything I’ve ever read. This Mayan death god myth-making tale was perfect.

Writing: ★★★★★
Concept: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★

I could not get enough of this story.

Gods of Jade and Shadow follows the story of Casiopea, a girl growing up in rural Mexico in the early 1900s who discovers a chest of ancient black bones in her grandfather's bedroom. Accidentally cutting herself and bleeding on the bones, Casiopea resurrects the Mayan god of death, Hun-Kame. Hun-Kame was cursed and impris
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Oct 27, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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
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 backd
Rebecca Roanhorse
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
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Gods of Jade and Shadow, Casiopea and her mother have been living with relatives ever since her father unexpectedly passed away. Because the two of them don't have money of their own, they are treated like servants, ordered to do menial tasks for the family. One day, Casiopea accidentally opens a chest full of bones, and what follows is the adventure she has always dreamed of.

Casiopea is my kind of heroine. Life dealt her an unfair hand, but she works hard and stays true to herself. Though he
“‘Do you understand what is at stake,’ he asked?
She had no idea… She was, however, curious.
‘Tell me,’ she said, knowing a story lay ahead, as fine as any of the legends and tall tales her father had spun for her.”

Gods of Jade and Shadow is like reading modern mythology–mythology set in the 1920s in Mexico, that is. Though it is also a coming-of-age tale, Moreno-Garcia gives those conventions her own twist, paralleling it with a mythological hero’s journey. I highly recommend it, even for those w

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
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
enqi ☁️✨
"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 ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 me
Lilith Black Bee
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
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 Y
Spencer Orey
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 1920s Mexico setting is awesome! I'm less sure about the Mayan mythology elements, which to me seemed a little... not strange enough? I guess I'd expect timeless Mayan death gods who arrive into our world to feel so so so horrifically out of place. There were some glimmers of Mayan death god terror but mostly it was an oddly chill reading experience? There are certainly some strange elements woven in, and some of the "why isn't this stranger?" aspects are explained in the story. But overall ...more
Elle (ellexamines)
"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 th
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 e
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 villain ...more
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of myths and fairy tales (and possibly old soul romantics)
Recommended to jade by: Nicholas Perez
“mythmaking. it’s greater than you or i, this tale.”

casiopea’s life in 1920s yucatán is a strained routine. living under her elderly grandfather’s roof, she’s mostly stuck doing chores and contend with her bully of a cousin.

but then unexpected excitement enters her life when she opens the chest by her grandfather’s bed: out hops a pile of bones that turns into a handsome, otherworldy death god ready to take revenge on his twin brother.

and so casiopea gets drawn into a modern day myth
The Nerd Daily
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Ca
Jade Ratley
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really high 4 star rating. The second to last chapter actually made me shed a tear or two, and that rarely happens.

I loved the way this book wove mythology into the mundane, and the 1920's Jazz age Mexico mixed with Mayan mythology was a gorgeous combination. I had such an incredible time reading this, I grew so attached to these characters and felt so surrounded by the atmosphere, it was all so well done.

I can't really fault it, it just didn't quite hit that 5 star nerve for me for s
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Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow and Untamed Shore. 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.

Articles featuring this book

Myths and mayhem, the fantastical and the scientifically plausible, these are readers’ most popular sci-fi and fantasy novels published in the...
147 likes · 29 comments
“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.” 38 likes
“Is that why you stare at the stars?” he asked. “Are you searching for beauty or dreaming with your eyes wide open?” 28 likes
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