Gods of Jade and Shadow Book Review

Count Your Unlucky Stars


The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy scrubbing floors in her wealthy grandfather’s house to do more than dream of a life far from her small town in southern Mexico.Until the day she accidentally frees an ancient Mayan god of death, who offers her a deal: in return for Casiopea’s help in recovering his throne, he will grant her whatever she desires.From the jungles of Yucatan to the bright lights of Mexico City and deep into the darkness of Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, Casiopea’s adventure will take her on a perilous cross-country odyssey beyond anything she’s ever known.Success will make her dreams come true, but failure will see her lost, for ever…


It was my goal to broaden my horizons this year with my reading and I’m so thankful I did because this right here is a grand old time!
At first I was worried it would be a Cinderella kind of retelling just set in Mexico (and in a way it is!), but I was surprised to find that narrative (and my expectations) flipped on its arse and taken down another route. We still get the poor, ‘black sheep’ of the family member scrubbing floors and wishing for more, but she doesn’t just get a fairy godmother, she gets a god of death – which is 100% cooler am I right? There’s no prince, there’s no magic carriage, there’s no love at first sight, or happily ever after, so if you’re looking for that don’t come here. Instead, we get adventure, demons, jazz music, insight into another country and culture, we get a bitter-sweet ending and a slow burn that leaves you cold when its done. This book surprised me in every way possible and I am so here for it!
Casiopea is a stubborn, resourceful, intelligent woman who knows what she wants and doesn’t put herself second for a man, or her family, or her friends, in fact the only time she puts her needs aside is for the sake of the world and I gotta say I really admired her for that. She is the ultimate idol for young impressionable girls. She has flaws, she cries, she gets angry, she gets awkward, but she manages to stick to who she is while questioning everything she’s been told to believe. I love her standards and that she doesn’t just drop everything for simple convenience. I can see this beautiful Mexican woman with all her fire in my mind’s eye and it inspires me. It really does and I won’t say that often!
I wish there was a little more Mayan and/or Mexican language throughout to make it feel a little more authentic, but it’s also a translated version so I can’t be mad at Silvia for that. But whenever I stumbled across a Mexican word I forced myself to pronounce it in my head properly, I didn’t want to white-wash these character names or the cities they travel to (even in my own head). I find Mexican and South American culture so interesting, Mayan history is SO cool and so metal I just I can’t even express my intrigue into that whole world. This story gave me a different perspective of this culture and these places that my uneducated ass needed badly. Living in Australia there’s not a lot of associations with South American where I am, unfortunately.
The only thing I would have to criticise this story for is the ease in which the characters overcome certain obstacles. Sometimes it just felt too easy which presented a lack of anticipation in the end because it was just all so convenient. The fact that Hun-Kame is a God does help make things easier – which I get – but I wish he had more obstacles as well. Some may disagree with me that they had plenty of complications and obstacles thrown before them, but I guess I was expecting bigger scarier ones maybe?
The ending of this book is the pièce de résistance for me. It was so well done, with a completely different outcome than what I had been expecting. I LOVED it. It’s a bitter sweet ending – and I’m not going to spoil ANYTHING for you – but at the same time it. just. worked. so. well. yes. thank you. life. That’s all I’m going to say so you better read it and find out why I live for this ending child. Yes!

Rating – 4. 5/5 stars

Author – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Publisher – Jo Fletcher Books

PB ISBN 978 1 52940 264 3

EB ISBN 978 1 52940 261 2


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