I’ve been looking for some great diverse historical fiction – because it truly is one of my favorite things to read – and was so excited when I came across Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow. This book combines so many of my favorite things, and I was a little worried it might not live up to my high expectations. But I shouldn’t have been, because this book is exactly what I wanted and more.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) 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 life she can call her own.
Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.
I love historical fiction, especially when it’s set in the 1920s. And I love any kind of mythology. Combine the two, and we’re well on our way to a book that I absolutely love. Which is exactly what I got with Gods of Jade and Shadow. This book is just fantastic. It absolutely blew me away, and I loved it. The Jazz Age is easily one of my favorite all time eras to read about. It’s just so fun, and I really enjoyed what it added to this novel. But the highlight of this novel, for me, was definitely the Mayan mythology.
Going into this book, I didn’t know much about Mayan mythology that I didn’t learn from The Road to El Dorado. Which I’m sure is totally accurate (not). But I really, really loved reading about it. Moreno-Garcia paints such a vivd picture that I felt as if I was walking through this story, and not just reading it. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had such a visceral reaction to a book, but Gods of Jade and Shadow did it. I was almost vibrating with the energy I got from reading this book. I know saying “I couldn’t put it down” is kind of a cliché, but I honestly felt a strange magnetic pull to this book. The writing pulled me in – it felt magical in the way that Erin Morgenstern’s or Neil Gaiman’s writing feels. Which is my favorite kind.
Not only are the setting and mythological element fantastic, the characters and story are, too. I don’t know what to say other than I loved everything about this book. Casiopea is such a great heroine; it was extremely hard not to be immediately invested in her story. It was just so, so good. I’m hesitant to say much more because I really loved going into this book and discovering the story along the way. I wouldn’t want to ruin it for any of you. But trust me when I say this book is incredible, and you should definitely read it.
★★★★★ – I loved Gods of Jade and Shadow. It’s already one of my favorite books of the year. I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoyed Naomi Novik’s Uprooted or Spinning Silver.
Gods of Jade and Shadow will be available in bookstores July 23. If you’re interested, you can order a copy on Amazon now.
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose Gods of Jade and Shadow as one of your two free books.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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