Title: Gods of Jade and Shadow
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Source: Purchased (Book of the Month Club)
One sentence synopsis
Casiopea Tun, a young girl growing up in 1920’s Mexico, opens the wrong trunk and has to go a-questing with the Mayan god of death.
“Words are seeds, Casiopea. With words you embroider narratives, and the narratives breed myths, and there’s power in the myth. Yes, the things you name have power.”
Putting this out there right now, this was a complete cover buy. I mean… look at it!! It’s flipping gorgeous! After I made it my BotM choice, I actually read the synopsis and thought it sounded interesting. I find Mayan mythology fascinating and it’s not something you read about in fantasy often! So I was excited when I decided to pick this up and give it a read.
The story of Casiopea’s journey begins when she opens a trunk in her tyrannical grandfather’s bedroom. Out of the trunk pops Hun-Kame, the Mayan god of the dead, who was tricked and trapped by his villainous brother, Vucub-Kame, so that he could take over his kingdom. Casiopea is forced into a quest to recover literal pieces of Hun-Kame so that he can take back his throne. She doesn’t much mind, though… she’s tired of being a maid for everyone in her family and being treated like she is worth less than dirt. She wants to be free to live her life as she wishes and an adventure sounds like her ticket out.
Sounds pretty thrilling, right? And it was… to an extent. The adventure to recover Hun-Kame’s power has a lot of twists and turns and I loved travelling the road with our main characters. I enjoyed learning more about Mayan mythology, which is so incredibly rich and intense. And I loved watching the blooming romance between Casiopea and Hun-Kame.
But there was just something… off. Even though there were thrilling things happening, the whole book read like a textbook. It was just so dry. The tone and the writing style were very explanatory. Like I was sitting in a lecture about Mayan myths and legends. The characters beyond our two mains were so very one-dimensional. It took awhile for me to really connect with Casiopea and Hun-Kame, too! I don’t know if it was just the writing style, but I had a hard time really getting into the story and the characters and that’s why this book fell a little flat for me.
Final thoughts: Exciting concept, loved the quest aspect, but the tone and writing felt very flat to me.
Have any of you read this book? What were your thoughts on it?
Let me know in the comments!
And, as always, happy reading!