Book review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Waterstones listing


Synopsis

Casiopea and her mother are servants in their own family home, with the loss of her father who dreamt of stars and wrote poetry, they are under Casiopea’s grandfather’s control. He has a secret past in helping the ancient Mayan god of death Yacub- Kamé with a quest to entrap his brother, Hun-Kamé, the true ruler of Xibalba (the underworld), to a lifetime locked in a treasure chest. Casiopea unwittingly frees Hun-Kamé and is tethered to him, she is becoming more godly and he is becoming more human. They go on a magical journey to save the world from Yacub-Kamé, who wants to increase his power by sacrificing humanity. Can they regain him his throne and give Casiopea a life of wonder even the stars would be jealous of?

What I Thought

I really liked the premise of this book, Casiopea was at war with her cousin and with him being a man, he had the respect of the family and she was blamed for everything. She had a lot of strength and sass from the offset and I was so excited for her journey. When we met Hun-Kamé it was amazing, they left Yucatán and started an adventure. As the story went on, I couldn’t help but think it was slow and missed a lot of opportunity for more magic. When we met Loray, the devil, he handed over what Casiopea and Hun-Kamé sought, they moved on to the next place and the next person and the same situation happened, their encounters seemed brief. I wanted to get lost in the mythology of this, I think I definitely amped it up in my mind when in reality it was more of a tale of adventure. I haven’t read a lot of mythology fiction before and I thought it would be a lot more fantastical and dripped in magic.

For the first time in my reading history, I was really into the romance element of this book. I usually hate romance storylines, but the story here was a more will-they-won’t-they storyline and I stuck with this book mainly to see this out because it was a really lovely element to the book.

What I Appreciated

Learning more about Mayan mythology was amazing, I had only ever read Greek mythology before and was excited to meet these gods. There was a lot of travelling around Mexico in this story, I loved to learn more about the cities and the culture. If I wasn’t so scared of flying this is somewhere where I would love to visit!

It was very interesting how the main characters were linked together, the brothers were at war with each other and Casiopea was at war with her cousin. As the story progressed, Hun-Kamé became more human, Casiopea was turning into a goddess, there was a pull between humanity and diety and a duality betweeen love and hate which was amazing to read.


Overall, the premise of this book was good but I felt frustrated a lot of the time reading this because I was greedy and just wanted so much more magic. I would highly recommend this book if you like adventures and Mayan mythology!

Thanks for reading,

Charlon ♦︎