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.
What an amazing ride was this book. You can tell all the time, and research Silvia (I’m calling her by her first name because in my mind we are best friends) put into writing this book. I’m a sucker for mythology books; Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Middle Eastern, you name it, I’m down. However, I’ve never read Mexican mythology in a book EVEN THOUGH I’M MEXICAN (I’m such a hypocrite, sorry), but that has changed now!
What I liked
I loved the quest element of the story and how they have to go to different places to get all of Hum-Kame’s things. It was so intriguing to see Mexico City in the 1920s (and how some things haven’t changed lol).
Plus, one of their stops was in Veracruz, my hometown! This was the first time I’ve ever seen my hometown in a book! It’s safe to say I was excited. I LOVED seeing my city and all its traditions from someone else’s perspective, el Carnaval, el Malecon, even the coffee shop the main characters go to! (which in case you didn’t know, it’s actually a super popular coffee/restaurant place called La Parroquia).
Mexico has such a rich culture that there isn’t just one mythology for the whole country. No, there are different mythologies depending on the area of the country. Like the Teotihuacan civilization was where Mexico City is right now, and the Mayan civilization was in the current Yucatan area. Being from Veracruz, where the Olmeca civilization was located, I know more about it than of the Mayan civilization. So, it was very interesting to learn more about Mayan mythology.
The relationship development between the main characters Casiopea and Hum-Kame was so heartbreakingly beautiful. Not only their romance but the partnership they build by learning from each other. I really enjoyed how subtle it was and how we could see it slowly grow (with the help of Silvia’s outstanding writing) into the driving force of the novel.
What I didn’t like
Even though the story is fantastic, the only reason why I didn’t give it the full 5 stars was because I wasn’t completely gripped by the story. Whenever I love a book, I’m consumed by it, mind, and soul, and I just didn’t feel completely overtaken by this book. Don’t get me wrong, Gods of Jade and Shadow is PHENOMENAL, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fantasy book with Mexican mythology.
Thank you for Reading!