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Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Gods of Jade and Shadow

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Quick take

A whip-smart Cinderella gets tangled up in a 1920s jazz-age epic that brings Mayan mythology to life.

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

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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.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Gods of Jade and Shadow.
Gods of Jade and Shadow

Chapter 1

Some people are born under a lucky star, while others have their misfortune telegraphed by the position of the planets. Casiopea Tun, named after a constellation, was born under the most rotten star imaginable in the firmament. She was eighteen, penniless, and had grown up in Uukumil, a drab town where mule-drawn railcars stopped twice a week and the sun scorched out dreams. She was reasonable enough to recognize that many other young women lived in equally drab, equally small towns. However, she doubted that many other young women had to endure the living hell that was her daily life in grandfather Cirilo Leyva’s house.

Cirilo was a bitter man, with more poison in his shriveled body than was in the stinger of a white scorpion. Casiopea tended to him. She served his meals, ironed his clothes, and combed his sparse hair. When the old brute, who still had enough strength to beat her over the head with his cane when it pleased him, was not yelling for his grandchild to fetch him a glass of water or his slippers, her aunts and cousins were telling Casiopea to do the laundry, scrub the floors, and dust the living room.

“Do as they ask; we wouldn’t want them to say we are spongers,” Casiopea’s mother told her. Casiopea swallowed her angry reply because it made no sense to discuss her mistreatment with Mother, whose solution to every problem was to pray to God.

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Why I love it

From the moment I spotted the phrase “the Mayan god of death in the Jazz Age,” I knew I needed to get my hands on Gods of Jade and Shadow. I’ve always been a fan of historical fantasy, and there’s little I love more than seeing ancient figures thrown into a more modern world. Add in a stunning cover, hints of a rags-to-riches protagonist, and a journey to the Underworld? I was sold.

But this wondrously written book is so much more than that. The story follows Casiopea Tun, who, in an attempt to escape her grandfather’s home, inadvertently links up with a Mayan god eager to take back his throne. Soon she finds herself on a death-defying adventure, and experiencing the equally terrifying prospect of first love.

This is both a classic fairy tale—the mysterious box, the alluring figure offering the promise of a new beginning—and a fresh, coming-of-age journey that lets Casiopea be at once fierce and frightened, larger-than-life yet human. Casiopea leaps from the page, her hopes and dreams clashing with the life of servitude her power-hungry relatives have forced her into. With some of the best—and eerie!—imagery I’ve ever read and an ending that left me both hopeful and heartbroken, this is a book I’ll be gushing over for a very long time.

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Member ratings (11,056)

  • Brooklynn T.

    Charlotte, NC

    I would travel to the ends of the Underworld to read one of Moreno-Garcia's books, and I am unashamed. I must have them all. BEAUTIFUL BOOK. I CRIED. 200/10 would read again. Just read it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Kayla P.

    Brooklyn, NY

    Amazing, evocative, heartbreaking read. The mythology surrounding the story is captivating. Cassiopia is an amazing female protagonist — headstrong, not quite fearless but close, and big-hearted.

  • Daniela R.

    Rio Vista, CA

    The way that this book broke my heart and made me cry…it was absolutely beautiful. I felt every single part of this book. The imagery it invoked. The culture. The emotions. Just ALL OF IT!!! ????????????????

  • Jeni W.

    Germantown, NY

    I do not typically enjoy fantasy, but this story grabbed me on the first page! Caseopia is such a bad bitch- amazing character & i fell in love with Hun-Kamé. I absolutely loved the ending. ????????????????

  • Ella A.

    Saint Paul, MN

    I almost NEVER like the romance in a book but I actively loved this one. The mix of fantasy, historical fiction, folklore, and an international setting reminded me of Yangsze Choo’s books, which I ❤️.

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