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Gods of Jade and Shadow
Cover of Gods of Jade and Shadow
Gods of Jade and Shadow
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.
"A spellbinding fairy tale rooted in Mexican mythology . . . Gods of Jade and Shadow is a magical fairy tale about identity, freedom, and love, and it's like nothing you've read before."—Bustle
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • Tordotcom • The New York Public Library
  • BookRiot

    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.
    Praise for Gods of Jade and Shadow
    "A dark, dazzling fairy tale . . . a whirlwind tour of a 1920s Mexico vivid with jazz, the memories of revolution, and gods, demons, and magic."—NPR
    "Snappy dialog, stellar worldbuilding, lyrical prose, and a slow-burn romance make this a standout. . . . Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N. K. Jemisin are popular."Library Journal (starred review)
    "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 of desperate hopes and complicated relationships."Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • 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.
    "A spellbinding fairy tale rooted in Mexican mythology . . . Gods of Jade and Shadow is a magical fairy tale about identity, freedom, and love, and it's like nothing you've read before."—Bustle
    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • Tordotcom • The New York Public Library
  • BookRiot

    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.
    Praise for Gods of Jade and Shadow
    "A dark, dazzling fairy tale . . . a whirlwind tour of a 1920s Mexico vivid with jazz, the memories of revolution, and gods, demons, and magic."—NPR
    "Snappy dialog, stellar worldbuilding, lyrical prose, and a slow-burn romance make this a standout. . . . Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N. K. Jemisin are popular."Library Journal (starred review)
    "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 of desperate hopes and complicated relationships."Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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    Excerpts-
    • From the book Chapter 1

      Some people are born under a lucky star, while others have their misfortune telegraphed by the position of the planets. Casiopea Tun, named after a constellation, was born under the most rotten star imaginable in the firmament. She was eighteen, penniless, and had grown up in Uukumil, a drab town where mule-­drawn railcars stopped twice a week and the sun scorched out dreams. She was reasonable enough to recognize that many other young women lived in equally drab, equally small towns. However, she doubted that many other young women had to endure the living hell that was her daily life in grandfather Cirilo Leyva's house.

      Cirilo was a bitter man, with more poison in his shriveled body than was in the stinger of a white scorpion. Casiopea tended to him. She served his meals, ironed his clothes, and combed his sparse hair. When the old brute, who still had enough strength to beat her over the head with his cane when it pleased him, was not yelling for his grandchild to fetch him a glass of water or his slippers, her aunts and cousins were telling Casiopea to do the laundry, scrub the floors, and dust the living room.

      "Do as they ask; we wouldn't want them to say we are spongers," Casiopea's mother told her. Casiopea swallowed her angry reply because it made no sense to discuss her mistreatment with Mother, whose solution to every problem was to pray to God.

      Casiopea, who had prayed at the age of ten for her cousin Martín to go off and live in another town, far from her, understood by now that God, if he existed, did not give a damn about her. What had God done for Casiopea, aside from taking her father from her? That quiet, patient clerk with a love for poetry, a fascination with Mayan and Greek mythology, a knack for bedtime stories. A man whose heart gave up one morning, like a poorly wound clock. His death sent Casiopea and her mother packing back to Grandfather's house. Mother's family had been charitable, if one's definition of charity is that they were put immediately to work while their idle relatives twiddled their thumbs.

      Had Casiopea possessed her father's pronounced romantic leanings, perhaps she might have seen herself as a Cinderella-­like figure. But although she treasured his old books, the skeletal remains of his collection—­especially the sonnets by Quevedo, wells of sentiment for a young heart—­she had decided it would be nonsense to configure herself into a tragic heroine. Instead, she chose to focus on more pragmatic issues, mainly that her horrible grandfather, despite his constant yelling, had promised that upon his passing Casiopea would be the beneficiary of a modest sum of money, enough that it might allow her to move to Mérida.

      The atlas showed her the distance from the town to the city. She measured it with the tips of her fingers. One day.

      In the meantime, Casiopea lived in Cirilo's house. She rose early and committed to her chores, tight-­lipped, like a soldier on a campaign.

      That afternoon she had been entrusted with the scrubbing of the hallway floor. She did not mind, because it allowed her to keep abreast of her grandfather's condition. Cirilo was doing poorly; they did not think he'd make it past the autumn. The doctor had come to pay him a visit and was talking to her aunts. Their voices drifted into the hall from the nearby living room, the clinking of dainty china cups punctuating one word here and another there. Casiopea moved her brush against the red tiles, attempting to follow the conversation—­expecting to be informed of anything that went on in the house in any other way was ridiculous; they never bothered talking to...
    About the Author-
    • Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of Signal to Noise, named one of the best books of the year by BookRiot, Tordotcom, BuzzFeed, io9, and more; Certain Dark Things, one of NPR's best books of the year, a Publishers Weekly top ten, and a VOYA "Perfect Ten"; the fantasy of manners The Beautiful Ones; 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). She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      Starred review from April 1, 2019
      Moreno-Garcia (The Beautiful Ones) crafts a magical novel of duality, tradition, and change, set in the late 1920s as Mexico transitions from its post-Revolution period to the Jazz Age. Casiopea Tun leads a constrained life in her grandfather’s household in a small town, barely daring to dream of more. Such dreams are quickly snuffed by both her grandfather and her spoiled, narcissistic yet self-deprecating cousin, Martín Levya. A minor act of rebellion, opening her grandfather’s secret chest, releases the injured and imprisoned Mayan death god, Hun-Kamé, Supreme Lord of Xibalba, and inexorably binds her to his quest to regain his underworld throne. Hun-Kamé’s bond to Casiopea infects him in return with vestiges of mortality—a circumstance his ambitious twin, Vucub-Kamé, plots to use to his advantage, assisted by a somewhat reluctant Martín. 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 of desperate hopes and complicated relationships. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary. (Aug.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the character Vucub-Kamé's name.

    • Library Journal

      Starred review from June 1, 2019

      This latest stand-alone from Moreno-Garcia (Signal to Noise; The Beautiful Ones) is a stirring historical fantasy set in the Roaring Twenties and steeped in Mayan mythology. Headstrong Casiopea Tun and her mother are treated horribly by their more wealthy relations. She's been her grandfather's maid ever since they returned to their small village after her father's death. When she discovers the bones of a decapitated Mayan god of death in the patriarch's secret chest, she sets off a chain of events that could not only change her fortunes but also the fate of the world. The revived (and broodingly handsome) Hun-Kamé takes her on a cross-country adventure--from the Yucatán to Mexico City, Arizona, and more--in search of his missing body parts, which his twin brother and rival has scattered among demons, sorcerers, and others. Lavish clothes; jazzy music; and ruminations on life, death, fate, and the cosmos combine with blood-drenched nightmares, grisly religious rituals, and road-trip high jinks. An author's note and glossary of Spanish and Nahuatl terms further explores the source material. Snappy dialog, stellar worldbuilding, lyrical prose, and a slow-burn romance make this a standout. VERDICT Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N.K. Jemisin are popular. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]--Shelley M. Diaz, BookOps, New York P.L. & Brooklyn P.L.

      Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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