Book Review

Book Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Historical fiction + Mythology + Fantasy
Length: 352 pages
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: July 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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.

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.


This had some strengths and weaknesses. I went through it pretty fast and thought it was a clever story overall.

I loved the folklore and fairytale vibes it gave off. It was whimsical and easy to follow. The culture and heritage came alive in Mexico and it was great following Casiopea and Hun-Kame around. It was a true adventure and had a light quality to it even when Casiopea was running around with a death god.

The love story was soft and simple. It came on slowly and sweetly. I definitely shipped them and was conflicted with how the ending came out. Though, with the whole fairlytale aspects it made sense. Casiopea was on a personally journey that took getting out of her situation to be able to grasp and hold on to. I was happy that she really grew into herself and had a chance at freedom.

I HATED Martin. So much so that it was a big reason that I lowered my rating. I did not like his point-of-view chapters. I did not like the way he treated anyone and how highly he thought of himself. UGH. And he never got better. Martin was this untethered end that I wanted to cut and throw away. I even wrote in my notes: Martin is the literal worst.

It was a pleasant read and I did enjoy it, but I also felt it was easy to put it down. Nothing grabbed me and kept me going. A positive 3 stars overall, only a couple things that were iffy.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + fantasy
  • Langauge: a little strong language (f-words are used)
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: off screen mentions of decapitation, some scuffle scenes

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