Gods of jade and shadow A novel

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book - 2019

"The Mayan God of Death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore"--

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SCIENCE FICTION/Moreno-Garcia, Silvia
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Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Published
New York : Del Rey [2019]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
338 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780525620754
0525620753
Main Author
Silvia Moreno-Garcia (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Moreno-Garcia has a talent for taking Mexican folklore, customs, and mythology, twisting them around, and turning out fascinating stories immersed in different genre tropes. She took on vampires with Certain Dark Things (2016), then romantic historical fantasy in The Beautiful Ones (2017) and now she has reimagined the Cinderella mythos using Mayan (and a little Greek) mythology. Ill-used and treated like a servant by her abusive grandfather and ever-demanding aunts and cousins, Casiopea Tun dreams of fast music, dancing, night swimming, and living in the city. Like Pandora, she accidentally opens a forbidden box and ends up going off into the world—not in the way she had imagined, but nevertheless off to adventure. It soon turns out, though, that her life is on the line in a contest between two gods of the underworld: the Lord of Shadows, who she freed from imprisonment, and his treacherous, usurping brother, the Lord of Jade. Fans of lush, evocative language will be thoroughly delighted. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

Moreno-Garcia has a talent for taking Mexican folklore, customs, and mythology, twisting them around, and turning out fascinating stories immersed in different genre tropes. She took on vampires with Certain Dark Things (2016), then romantic historical fantasy in The Beautiful Ones (2017) and now she has reimagined the Cinderella mythos using Mayan (and a little Greek) mythology. Ill-used and treated like a servant by her abusive grandfather and ever-demanding aunts and cousins, Casiopea Tun dreams of fast music, dancing, night swimming, and living in the city. Like Pandora, she accidentally opens a forbidden box and ends up going off into the world—not in the way she had imagined, but nevertheless off to adventure. It soon turns out, though, that her life is on the line in a contest between two gods of the underworld: the Lord of Shadows, who she freed from imprisonment, and his treacherous, usurping brother, the Lord of Jade. Fans of lush, evocative language will be thoroughly delighted. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

This latest stand-alone from Moreno-Garcia (Signal to Noise; The Beautiful Ones) is a stirring historical fantasy set in the Roaring Twenties and steeped in Mayan mythology. Headstrong Casiopea Tun and her mother are treated horribly by their more wealthy relations. She's been her grandfather's maid ever since they returned to their small village after her father's death. When she discovers the bones of a decapitated Mayan god of death in the patriarch's secret chest, she sets off a chain of events that could not only change her fortunes but also the fate of the world. The revived (and broodingly handsome) Hun-Kamé takes her on a cross-country adventure—from the Yucatán to Mexico City, Arizona, and more—in search of his missing body parts, which his twin brother and rival has scattered among demons, sorcerers, and others. Lavish clothes; jazzy music; and ruminations on life, death, fate, and the cosmos combine with blood-drenched nightmares, grisly religious rituals, and road-trip high jinks. An author's note and glossary of Spanish and Nahuatl terms further explores the source material. Snappy dialog, stellar worldbuilding, lyrical prose, and a slow-burn romance make this a standout. VERDICT Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N.K. Jemisin are popular. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]—Shelley M. Diaz, BookOps, New York P.L. & Brooklyn P.L. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Moreno-Garcia (The Beautiful Ones) crafts a magical novel of duality, tradition, and change, set in the late 1920s as Mexico transitions from its post-Revolution period to the Jazz Age. Casiopea Tun leads a constrained life in her grandfather's household in a small town, barely daring to dream of more. Such dreams are quickly snuffed by both her grandfather and her spoiled, narcissistic yet self-deprecating cousin, Martín Levya. A minor act of rebellion, opening her grandfather's secret chest, releases the injured and imprisoned Mayan death god, Hun-Kamé, Supreme Lord of Xibalba, and inexorably binds her to his quest to regain his underworld throne. Hun-Kamé's bond to Casiopea infects him in return with vestiges of mortality—a circumstance his ambitious twin, Vucub-Kamé, plots to use to his advantage, assisted by a somewhat reluctant Martín. Moreno-Garcia's seamless blend of mythology and history provides a ripe setting for Casiopea's stellar journey of self-discovery, which culminates in a dramatic denouement. Readers will gladly immerse themselves in Moreno-Garcia's rich and complex tale of desperate hopes and complicated relationships. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary. (Aug.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the character Vucub-Kamé's name. Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A dark fairy tale inspired by folklore is set against the Jazz age in Mexico’s underworld, where a young dreamer is sent by the Mayan God of Death on a life-changing journey. By the award-winning author of Signal to Noise.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"The Mayan God of Death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

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."A spellbinding fairy tale rooted in Mexican mythology . . . Gods of Jade and Shadow is a magical fairy tale about identity, freedom, and love, and it's like nothing you've read before.''BustleNAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR ' Tordotcom ' The New York Public Library ' BookRiot 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.Praise for Gods of Jade and Shadow"A dark, dazzling fairy tale . . . a whirlwind tour of a 1920s Mexico vivid with jazz, the memories of revolution, and gods, demons, and magic.''NPR'snappy dialog, stellar worldbuilding, lyrical prose, and a slow-burn romance make this a standout. . . . Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N. K. Jemisin are popular.''Library Journal (starred review)"A magical novel of duality, tradition, and change . . . Moreno-Garcia's seamless blend of mythology and history provides a ripe setting for Casiopea's stellar journey of self-discovery, which culminates in a dramatic denouement. Readers will gladly immerse themselves in Moreno-Garcia's rich and complex tale of desperate hopes and complicated relationships.''Publishers Weekly (starred review)