Gods of Jade and Shadow

Written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Review by 3 Chiara Prezzavento

In 1927 young Casiopea, as the poor relation to a wealthy family, leads a Cinderella-esque life in a drab small town in Yucatan, quietly dreaming of pretty dresses, fast cars, and freedom – someday. Not that she sees herself as a fairy-tale heroine: life has taught, if nothing else, wariness and pragmatism. So, when she opens her tyrannical grandfather’s mysterious chest as an act of defiance, the last thing she expects is to wake an imprisoned Mayan god of death… or to be whisked off on a life-or-death quest across Mexico and the Netherworld, in the company of the newly-awakened Hun-Kamé. And who knew that ancient gods of death could be so handsome, and so irritating? Moreno-Garcia combines Mayan myth, folklore and the Mexican version of the Roaring Twenties in a breathless magical adventure – written so vividly that one can feel the different kinds of heat – never sagging as it cleverly explores such hefty matters as life, death, the pursuit of dreams, and individual responsibility. Recommended.