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.”—Bustle
NEBULA AWARD FINALIST • NAMED 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)
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, Mart n Levya. A minor act of rebellion, opening her grandfather's secret chest, releases the injured and imprisoned Mayan death god, Hun-Kam , Supreme Lord of Xibalba, and inexorably binds her to his quest to regain his underworld throne. Hun-Kam 's bond to Casiopea infects him in return with vestiges of mortality a circumstance his ambitious twin, Vucub-Kam , plots to use to his advantage, assisted by a somewhat reluctant Mart n. 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. Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the character Vucub-Kam 's name.
Reading a book that allows you to feel every emotion and teaches a few lessons here and there is invaluable. I fell in love with the characters as they fell in love with each other. Every character is complex and have understandable motives. I’m not exactly sure why I cried so much, but my heart broke as we neared the end. There was really no way for this book to have a complete ending, so I’m somewhat satisfied with the “open” ending. The writing was so so beautiful, and I lived and breathed every city these characters set foot on-real or not.
I read this book throughout my shift and I had to put it down sometimes. My mind would imagine scenarios that I wished would happen. The route the book went was beautiful. I wish it had ended a different way, but in all honest truth the ending was perfect.