If you remember, one of my top books from 2020 was Mexican Gothic, which was written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I came across Gods of Jade & Shadow during a Book Riot daily deal for Kindle and decided to give it a shot, because I liked Garcia’s writing. I find it very interesting that the author classifies this book as an adult fiction book, when it so clearly reads as YA Fiction instead. The main character, Casiopea, is your typical headstrong YA protagonist who is caught in a semi-Cinderella story, but refuses to say it’s a Cinderella story because she doesn’t want to be the helpless damsel in distress.
I’ve got really mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I feel like I lost a lot of context because I don’t know Mayan mythology very well (I know very little, and what I do know I learned in fifth grade world history, so it’s been a hot minute). I feel if I’d taken the time to research some of the mythology and learn a lot more before/while reading it, I would have understood it better. At the same time, Garcia does try her best to explain things a little bit in the book itself, but it’s not enough, in my opinion, to help those who know nothing. And with mythology like this, it’s not always the author’s job to give us the entire backstory of everything! We should have to do research on our own sometimes.
In general, the book seems very rushed. Casiopea is a whiny teenage girl, her cousin Martin is that jerk frat boy that you keep encountering, and I honestly believe the book would have been better off if we’d seen more of Casiopea and less of Martin. Martin’s chapters don’t really add much to the story, and they just leave me with a really disgusting feeling. (We’ve all encountered slime balls like Martin at some point in our lives.) I love the mythology behind the story, but the ending leaves me feeling…empty. That’s why I’d give Gods of Jade and Shadow a 3.5/5 star rating. I’m sure others who have a firmer grasp of Mayan mythology may enjoy it more, or if the reader was a little younger (I’d say that 15-year-old me would have LOVED this book), but reading this as an adult makes me want to shake Casiopea and make her understand that the world is bigger than she is.
Have you read Gods of Jade and Shdaow? Do you have a recommendation for one of Garcia’s other books? Let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.