Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, ARC Review

My Review:

The publisher, Quercus Books, kindly offered me an advanced reader copy (ARC) of Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia via NetGalley. Yet, this is an honest review of the book expressing my humble opinion.

S.A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass, said “This is historical fantasy at its best” and she couldn’t be more right. Gods of Jade and Shadow is a masterful historical fantasy that is not merely one of the best in the genre but re-defines the genre. If there was a dictionary that described each genre, then Gods of Jade and Shadow would be the very definition of historical fantasy.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is written in 3rd person and offers skilled and eloquent narration, but the reader also feels closed to the main character at the same time. You immediately root for Casiopea, get invested in her journey, and you don’t just want her to succeed. You need her to thrive. If you are not fan of 3rd person, like me, I’ll tell you this: You won’t even notice it. Gods of Jade and Shadow is perfection. I was in awe with every page I read.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is inspired by Mexican folklore and features Mayan mythology, and it is set in 1920, Mexico. The world-building is outstanding. The author has managed to weave so many details into the story. I don’t have words to describe how extraordinary this book is.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is one of the best books I have ever read. The author is a master of prose and world-building. Gods of Jade and Shadow is outstanding and revolutionary.

5 stars – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Quercus Books

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About the book:

A vivid, wildly imaginative and feminist historical fantasy set in roaring 1920s Mexico. Perfect for fans of Katherine Arden, Isabel Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This is magical realism meets historical fiction with fantastic cross-genre appeal. 

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

Here we shall begin to tell a story: a tale of a throne lost, of monsters and magic. A tale of gods and of the shadow realm. But this, our story, it begins in our world, in the land of mortals. 

It begins with a woman. For this story, it is her story. It begins with her. 

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but it’s passing Casiopea Tun by. She’s too busy scrubbing floors in her wealthy grandfather’s house to do anything more than dream of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she could call her own. 

This dream is impossible, distant as the stars – until the day Casiopea opens a curious chest in her grandfather’s room and accidentally frees an ancient Mayan god of death. He offers her a deal: if Casiopea helps him recover his throne from his treacherous brother, he will grant her whatever she desires. Success will make her every dream come true, but failure will see her lost, for ever. 

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed only 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 Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. 

About the author:

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of Signal to Noise, named one of the best books of 2015 by BuzzFeed and more; Certain Dark Things, a Publishers Weekly top ten; The Beautiful Ones, a fantasy of manners; and the science fiction novella Prime Meridian. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). Born and brought up in Mexico, she now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 

Silvia is available to write pieces, for interview down-the-line and for features. 

Follow her on Twitter: @silviamg

Praise:

‘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’ Publishers Weekly, starred review * 

‘Set in a lushly rendered and gorgeous world, this is historical fantasy at its best: a fresh, feminist coming-of-age tale that lets the ancient and the new meld and clash in a tale you can’t put down’ S.A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass 

‘Moreno-Garcia’s prose is like the best kind of fairytale–dark, enchanting, and makes you wish that you could live within its pages. Casiopea’s journey belongs on every bookshelf’ Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Labyrinth Lost 

‘Simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-mending…a wondrous and magical tale about choosing our own path. I felt weepy and happy and hopeful when I finished – everything you want to feel at the end of a great story’ Kevin Hearne, New York Times-bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles 

‘A vibrant story of grit, giddiness, and glory with a protagonist whose personality burns bright as a star. Casiopea Tun will capture your heart and draw you into a jewel-toned world of myth- making and jazz music’ Lara Elena Donnelly, author of The Amberlough Dossier 

‘A lush, bittersweet tale of courage, love and carving your own place in the world . . . Silvia Moreno- Garcia’s evocative prose will take you on an adventure for the mind and the heart’ Christina Henry, author of Alice and The Girl in Red 

‘An evocative and moving fairy-tale about a downtrodden girl and the Mayan God of Death and how they both find each other and their humanity together . . . Loved it. Highly recommend’ Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Trial of Lightning 

‘Part Jane Eyre and part Cinderella story… a beautiful fantasy tale based on Mayan mythology…with a beautiful prose and description of a Mexico of the 1920s’ A Wondrous Bookshelf 

‘An easy, fun read that enchanted every step of the way, with the mood of a classic fairy tale drifting beneath a whirl of Mayan myth and 1920s Mexico’ While Reading and Walking

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