Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Garcia-Moreno

Folktales are full of such coincidences that are never coincidences at all, but the brittle games of powerful forces.

If you follow trends in novels, then you must have heard of this book by now, or at least the author’s other famous novel Mexican Gothic. I put Gods of Jade and Shadow on my hold list at the library, but the wait was too long so I bought the book instead. The premise of the book is rooted in Mexican mythology and written in a fairy-tale style. Casiopea Tun is relegated to the role of servant to her rich Mexican family. One day, she unwittingly releases the Mayan God of Death and is dragged along to help him reclaim the throne from his duplicitous brother.

She glimpsed, for the very first time, the naked skull beneath the flesh. And if a god feared Death, should she not fear him too, rather than share oranges and conversation with him?

*A very important note about this book: I didn’t realize there was a glossary in the back of the book until I got towards the end. Please don’t be like me: utilize that glossary from the very beginning.

I was nervous to read it because when you want to read something so badly it can turn out to be a disappointment. Thankfully, that did not happen. In all honesty it is pretty predictable (the ending I liked a lot better than I expected), but it should absolutely not deter you from reading the book. It does have pizzaz and good vs evil is always a classic. Garcia-Moreno fills the book with wonderful descriptions and is very adept at threading the mythology into the story. If you don’t know much about Mexican geography, I suggest googling a map to learn where the states are that the characters travel to.

My favorite plot point of the book is that the God of Death becomes more and more human the longer the quest goes on. It makes for some very vulnerable and touching moments. Casiopea’s spunk is why you will root for her.

“Ghosts are hungry,” he said simply.

Casiopea thought she had no business holding any man’s hand for an extended length of time, but then, she didn’t like the word “hungry” paired with “ghosts.”

“I’ll hold on to your hand and I will not look into their eyes,” she muttered, and she laced her fingers with his, feeling a little bold, but he did not complain.

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