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Gods of Jade and Shadow Kindle Edition
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“Set in a lushly rendered and gorgeous world, this is historical fantasy at its best: a fresh, feminist coming-of-age tale that lets the ancient and the new meld and clash in a tale you can't put down.”—S. A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper
“An evocative and moving modern Indigenous fairy tale filled with quiet moments of vulnerability and honesty. Oh, my heart!”—Rebecca Roanhorse, Hugo and Nebula award winning author of the Sixth World series
“Simultaneously heartbreaking and heart-mending, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a wondrous and magical tale about choosing our own path. I felt weepy and happy and hopeful when I finished—everything you want to feel at the end of a great story.”—Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles and A Plague of Giants
“An elegant and immersive tale, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow opened my eyes to the Mayan Underworld and took me on an adventure with a strong-willed, practical heroine and a prickly fallen god that I never wanted to end. It feels like a modern classic and is absolutely unforgettable.”—Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series
“A lush, bittersweet tale of courage, love, and carving your own place in the world . . . Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s evocative prose will take you on an adventure for the mind and the heart.”—Christina Henry, author of Alice and The Girl in Red
“A vibrant story of grit, giddiness, and glory with a protagonist whose personality burns bright as a star. Casiopea Tun will capture your heart and draw you into a jewel-toned world of mythmaking and jazz music.”—Lara Elena Donnelly, author of the Amberlough Dossier trilogy
“A beautiful work that will draw you in and keep you transfixed and reading far too late. It blends the ‘real’ and the mythic seamlessly, and the clear-sighted heroine is a joy to read about. It’s the sort of book that will leave you with beautiful afterimages for weeks to follow, and going back to reread favorite sections.”—Genevieve Cogman, author of the Invisible Library series
About the Author
- ASIN : B07KDX5NTF
- Publisher : Del Rey (July 23, 2019)
- Publication date : July 23, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 8399 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 367 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #15,633 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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The hero, Casiopeia, is a Cinderella figure stuck in a small rural town. She meets a Mayan deity who, of course, is tall, dark and handsome. After the obligatory "ugly duckling" makeover (haircut, fancy clothes and jewelry), they fall in love and then, after a couple of passionate kisses, he leaves her. The end. So where in this story is anything unique about Jazz Age Mexico or Mayan myths? Does Casiopeia take advantage of her freedom to become an artist like Frida Kahlo? Does she dream of advocating for women's rights like María del Refugio García? Does she want to contribute to the modernization of Mexico, like architect María Luisa Dehesa Gómez Farías? Nope. She wins the love of the guy from Central Casting and thus "wins" the story. Sad to see that this arc is still considered to be the best that a female character can hope for.
Instead, Silvia Moreno-Garcia wrote something purer. A road trip, a quest, not a modern Quixote tilting at windmills but a young woman walking with gods through the unfamiliar worlds of Mexico and Xibalba, from the Yucatan to Tiajuana. Ordinary people enmeshed in the extraordinary, but to them, that's just how the world is.
The 1920s saw the rise of Mayan Revival architecture, when ancient forms could be re-imagined in concrete and plaster. Not so much a looking-back as a bringing-the-past-forward, out of the ruins and into daily life, where people could see and interact with it for real, instead of in some dusty history or locked away in a museum. For me at least, GODS Of JADE AND SHADOW seeks to capture that spirit of bringing the old into the present. Grounding it in what is and might be rather than just was.
The reader follows along for the ride. Whatever your idea might be of Mexico during Prohibition in the United States - or Mexico today - let go of your kingdoms of dust and smoke and live for a while in Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexico of hope and weirdness, on the road with gods of jade and shadow, to taste the waters of the Pacific and see if they taste any different.
Casiopea is a girl who dreams of the stars and freedom, but she's stuck in her small town in Yucatan, Mexico. One day, she opens a wooden chest, and accidentally unleashes Hun-Kamé, an ancient Maya god of death who had been trapped and betrayed by his brother. She's fierce and he's broody and together they embark on a journey to reclaim Hun-Kamé's kingdom.
The characters in this book were so solid and layered. They constantly break the conventions that their archetypes traditionally fall into. By doing this, Moreno-Garcia creates a well rounded and nuanced narrative driven by its characters. The antagonists are slightly more wooden, but they are given the backstory to their actions, and I really enjoyed the final showdown between Casiopea and her "enemy", her cousin, Martin.
Our main protagonist, Casiopea shines. She's strong, vulnerable and unapologetically herself. I loved reading from her perspective and she has quickly become one of my favorite characters in literature. Casiopea is a girl who feels so much that it spills into Hun- Kamé. They are both so, so lonely and have been for so long that their relationship feels tragically poetic. It's one of the strongest points in the novel. Moreno-Garcia is an expert at building tension and slow burn bittersweet angst.
This story pulls from the Popol Vuh and Maya mythology and I am so happy to read Latinx rep from an ownvoices author. Although this book takes place in the 1920's , as a Xicana, it felt so warm to read about characters going on journeys in places ( the Baja California scenes!) and eat food that I am familiar with( I'm talking about the bolillo dipped in coffee scene se me hizo agua la boca). Silvia Moreno-Garcia continues to be a bright voice in the Latinx SFF communtiy and I can't wait to see what's next!
Top reviews from other countries
Agent: Great news, Silvia I've got your next book for you!
Silvia: Aren't I meant to-
Agent: The public is crying out for more stories where teenage girls and beautiful, brooding immortals fall in love. Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey that's two massive franchises right there. Yours will be number three.
Silvia: Well technically in 50 Shades-.
Agent: Don't forget it has to be YA. All the kids are reading and all the non-kids want to read what the kids are reading you follow?
Silvia: Well, I guess, but my stuff is usually a little darker-
Agent: Yes! Darker! Edgier! Your heroine will be a feisty girl abused by the family who are meant to care for her, basically their slave until a handsome man takes her away from it all.
Silvia: Sounds derivative of Cinderella and every other fairy tale for about two centuries.
Agent: No! No! Well... yes, but you'll mention that in the first couple of chapters. You can't be derivative if you acknowledge your derivative.
Silvia: That's not how it-
Agent: Besides it's not the same because he'll ALSO be abusive, threatening her life and pimping her out, but it's cool because he's hot and gets her pretty dresses.
Silvia: I'm not sure about this...
Agent: Trust me, the kids and the non-kids will love it. We've even got your title for it.
Silvia: But I haven't even started writing it!
Agent: No need we've got the YA Title Wheel, right here.
Agent: *reveals cheap spinning prize wheel seen on fairgrounds with three interconnecting discs*
Agent: The first disc is the subject - city, god, king, prince, queen, princess. The second disc is something solid - knifes, swords, malachite, diamonds, coal, jade. The third disc is ethereal - storms, whispers, shadows, moonlight. You get the gist? Watch!
Agent: *spins* City of Coal and Moonlight - ohhh evocative! *spins* Queen of Swords and Whispers - nice and dark! Must get these to marketing before lunch! Oh you've got Gods of Jade and Shadow by the way, we added an 's'. The board things extra gods sell better.
Silvia: Well... Gods of Jade and Shadow doesn't sound-
Agent: Yep, Gods of Jade and Shadows: a perfect blend of fantasy, mythology and historical fiction set in Jazz Age Mexico.
Silvia: Kind of you to say, but like I said I haven't even started writing it yet.
Agent: *non-plussed* Sorry, you lost me that's the Kindle title.
Silvia: Shouldn't people decide that for themselves rather then having thrust it down their throats?
Agent: *pats her on the hand* Leave the sales to me Sweetie, you go write us a YA cash cow we can hopefully turn into a movie. Remember to keep that Mexican/Mayan stuff in it's our USP! But you know whatever you're the artist. Just don't forget to use lots of exposition telling people how they should feel about each character.
Silvia: But that's bad writing!
Agent: No! Well, yes, but think of the time the reader saves not having to think about these things for themselves! Stick with me kid we're going to go far!
After a few such attempts, I realized it really wasn't me, but the book.
Set in 1920s Mexico, it should have been perfect. And if you read the blurb, it even sounds perfect too. Casiopea dreams of a different life. She's pretty much a nobody in her household, where unlike her other relatives, she needs to do chores, in order to earn her keep - all because her mother fell in love with a man Casiopea's grandfather didn't approve of.
Enter the Mayan god of death - I want to weep, it was THE recipe for a DA*N BRILLIANT book and major favorite - who whisks Casiopea off on quite the adventure, in order for him to get his throne back from his treacherous twin brother.
Doesn't this all sound so very good to you? But alas, it just didn't work out. Maybe the execution, the author's style, maybe the lack of connection, I don't know. That spark, that je ne sais quoi, was missing, the one that would have me declare it an all-time favorite.
But don't let my review stop you from reading it. Maybe you find the spark I didn't.
3 stars, mostly for the mythology and lore part. And because it was set in 1920s Mexico and I learned new stuff.
Gods of Jade and Shadow is set in the 1920's but for our protagonist, Casiopeia, her life in small town Mexico is anything but full of the excitement of the Jazz Age. Instead she's stuck working as an unpaid servant for a family who begrudge her very existence, with both self-important cousin Martín and belligerent grandfather Cirillo demanding her attention and obedience. Casiopeia's life is about to take a turn for the strange, however, when she opens a metal chest in her grandfather's room and discovers a set of bones inside - the bones of one of the gods of Xibalba, who promises Casiopeia her heart's desire (if she can ever figure out what that is) if she'll help him regain his throne.
Meanwhile, Cirillo's wealth and status has come about because of his deal with the god's twin and Casiopeia's cousin is recruited to stop her. Through a series of journeys with the now-resurrected god Hun-Kamé, she starts to experience all the things she'd wanted to try and expands her horizons greatly - it's her own stubborn nature that will help Casiopeia make it through to the end of the story, as Hun-Kamé regains the parts of himself that make it possible for him to rule Xibalba and also struggles with becoming more human.
Another entertaining novel from this writer, with a lot of interesting world-building - I'm not particularly familiar with the mythos of this region, having heard of some of the characters who appear here but not really knowing much about them. For once, I also quite liked the open-ended nature of the way the story finishes, with Casiopeia still trying to figure out what she wants but now having both the means and opportunity to obtain it, once she decides what it is.
Casiopea is the perfect protagonist, she is strong and independent, but she still shows weakness, which makes her human and more relatable. Sometimes with YA books, I find they can get a little cheesy, especially when love interests are concerned, even more so when the love interest is a god, or an angel, or some other mythological creature. It’s so easy to write this off as one of those sorts of stories at first glance – but it’s not. There is a romantic element to this book, but the end result was surprising, and not in a bad way. It was a refreshing change of pace for a YA book and I felt that although the romance was a key theme, it was still secondary to the adventure itself.
The story was really well-written and you can tell from reading the sheer amount of effort that went into researching and conveying the mythological aspects of the story. Mayan mythology is not one of my strong points, so I especially loved learning even more about it. I also liked that the setting was not simply the modern-day and that instead, the author opted for 1927 when jazz was at a high and prohibition was still very much a thing. It added an interesting new facet to the story, as sometimes a modern setting can seem a little bit bland.