Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
gods of jade and shadow (Silvia Moreno-Garcia)
Title: gods of jade and shadow
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication Date: TODAY!!! (hardcover/e-book)
I fell in love with Moreno-Garcia’s work because of her stellar vampire novel, certain dark things. So I was very much looking forward to this Mayan fairy-tale set during the Jazz age in Mexico. And this book was absolutely wonderful.
I have to admit that I have very little knowledge of Mayan history and culture outside of the bare basics from me trip to Mexico when I was in me early teens. That was a long time ago and facts fall out of me noggin. So this book was a delightful foray into Mayan folklore. I was often looking up places, names, and words while reading to enrich me understanding of what I was reading about. These diversions did not cause me to lose the grip or flow of the storytelling. Rather it intensified the enjoyment.
Part of this was the languorous journey of the plot. The story had the feeling of reading an older historical saga in terms of style. The plot was not full of heady action or serious psychological studies. Instead it was very much showing the individual journey of Casiopea Tun and how she handles the quest she finds herself on.
Casiopea has always longed to get away from the house of her tyrannical, rich grandfather and have a life of her own somewhere else. She has secret dreams of riding in an automobile, dancing the night away, and swimming in the sea. These wishes are held close-to-heart and never spoken aloud. But Casiopea’s upbringing is at odds with her rebellious, curious nature. That curious nature is what leads her to inadvertently release a captive Mayan Death God and change the trajectory of her life.
I absolutely loved Casiopea and the Death God, Hun-Kamé. There was no predictability in terms of their journey or relationship. Casiopea truly felt like a real girl thrown into an extraordinary situation. She has no real magic but that of her inner strength as a person and her moral compass. The change in the relationship between Casiopea and Hun-Kamé was subtle and yet absolutely compelling. I loved how the magic worked between them.
The writing style was once again lyrical and beautiful and unique. It is a story that feels a bit unreal and as a reader I was both engaged and somewhat unattached like I was floating over the story watching from afar. And yet I was also very much concerned with Casiopea’s circumstances and how the story would pan out.
This weird dichotomy only served to intensify the feelings that I was experiencing a fairy tale in a world way outside of me own. I very much enjoyed reading another fairy tale based on a culture that is completely unfamiliar and yet absolutely human in its experiences and feelings that arise from following Casiopea’s story.
This is also a book that for me had the perfect ending. Hopeful and tragic and magical and yet somehow completely realistic. Seriously I need to pick up all of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work. She floats me boat.
So lastly . . .
Thank you Random House!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, 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 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.
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