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Book Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow

by | May 13, 2023 | Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars
Age Rating:
Spice Level: Bell pepper representing 0 spice
(not spicy)

I’ve just closed the final chapter of the captivating historical fantasy novel Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I’m buzzing with thoughts and emotions that I can’t wait to share with you. This isn’t just a book—it’s a mythological tapestry woven over time, a story that feels as ancient as it does fresh.

As I dove headfirst into this world, I was swept away by Moreno-Garcia’s mingling of the tangible reality with the magical threads of Mayan and Mexican mythology. I felt as if I was part of an age-old tradition, sitting around a fire, listening to a tale passed down through generations, only with this 1920s twist.

Speaking of which, I loved the setting of 1920s Mexico. The promise of a quest involving a brave young woman and a Mayan god, a story as old as time yet as refreshing as a new dawn, was simply irresistible. I plunged into this unfamiliar world and found myself absorbed.

Venturing into this novel was like stepping into a time machine, one that whisks you back to an era where stories were more than just entertainment—they were a way of understanding the world. So, let’s gather around our virtual campfire and dive into this story.

Gods of Jade and Shadow Summary

Gods of Jade and Shadow is a historical fantasy tale that takes us back to the Jazz Age. Our protagonist, Casiopea Tun, is a young woman living in a small village in southern Mexico. Her life consists of mundane tasks, like cleaning her wealthy grandfather’s house, yet she dreams of a life far removed from her dusty small town.

Her life takes an unexpected turn when she discovers a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. In opening the box, she accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, Hun-Kamé. Now bound to the god, she finds herself on a mission to help him reclaim his throne from his treacherous brother. The stakes are high – failure will cost Casiopea her life, but success might fulfill her deepest dreams.

Their journey together takes them from the jungles of Yucatán to the bustling cityscape of Mexico City and deep into the Mayan underworld. Throughout their adventure, they navigate a world filled with gods, demons, and magic.


I’ve always been drawn to stories that weave mythology into their tapestry, and Gods of Jade and Shadow is no exception. The author blended real-world settings with fantastical elements, weaving in Mayan and Mexican mythology to create a captivating world.

The integration of mythology in the story is done skillfully, enhancing the plot rather than overshadowing it. It adds depth to the setting and characters, making them more intriguing and relatable. The gods and goddesses featured in the book are not just one-dimensional characters; they are complex and multifaceted, with their own motivations and personalities. The author’s thorough research into these mythologies is reflected in her vivid and respectful portrayal of them, making the story engaging and immersive.

My Review

Gods of Jade and Shadow is a well-crafted blend of history, fantasy, and mythology. It transports readers into the vibrant era of the 1920s Jazz Age and the rich folklore of Mexico, creating an immersive experience for the reader.

In this vibrant setting, we are introduced to our relatable protagonist, Casiopea. She fights against the expectations and limitations placed on her as a woman, adding an interesting twist to her journey. I found myself rooting for her because of her bravery and determination in the face of challenges. Casiopea has dreams of seeing and experiencing more of the world, a freedom she knows she must create for herself.

As Casiopea’s journey unfolds, the reader is treated to lush descriptions of the landscapes and culture. I loved the vivid portrayal of the rich history of the Mayan gods and goddesses through Casiopea and Hun-Kamé’s travels. The settings, from the bustling cities to the quiet countryside, are crafted with attention to detail that makes you feel there alongside the characters.

Amid these vivid settings, the nuanced relationship between Casiopea and Hun-Kamé takes center stage. Their relationship is a delicate, nuanced dance of power and trust. The author skillfully navigates their power dynamics, underscoring the importance of trust and communication. This evolving relationship offers a heartfelt exploration of love, sacrifice, and the human condition. That said, while there may have been a hint of potential romance, I wish this was explored further and more deeply.

Adding to the story’s tension, a formidable antagonist contributes to the compelling narrative. The palpable sense of danger and urgency keeps you on the edge of your seat as Casiopea and Hun-Kamé rush against time to avert the apocalypse.

At its core, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a tale brimming with adventure, bravery, and self-discovery. This journey into a world where myth and reality blend effortlessly will capture your interest and spark your sense of adventure.

If you found this review helpful, you can check out the book at Bookshop.org here and support local bookstores along the way!