Rating: 3 / 5
GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW by Silvia Moreno-Garcia has been on my TBR for ages and after reading and loving MEXICAN GOTHIC, I automatically added this to my September BOTM order. When it was then announced as the September/October Magic Mayhem Reads buddy read, it was perfect timing!
GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW is set in Mexico in the 20s. Casiopea Tun is a young woman living in her grandfather’s house, but more as a servant than a future heir of her grandfather’s fortune. She dreams of a different life full of travel and independence. When she happens to be left home alone one day, she finds a mysterious box and opens it which releases the spirit of a Mayan god. She is bound to him, forced into helping him on his quest to confront the brother who has stolen his throne.
I really went into this one hoping and expecting to love it, but it didn’t live up to the high bar set by MEXICAN GOTHIC. While some of the author’s writing really shines, I felt like the book was a bit choppy overall. There is a lot of great information on the various places Casiopea visits on the cross country journey she takes, full of interesting discussions of the culture and mythology and even the interaction with American tourists crossing the border. While interesting, these passages often took me out of the actual narrative itself as they weren’t really integrated into the story.
One of the ways MEXICAN GOTHIC shined for me was in the build up of the atmosphere and the setting. Here, there were places that were more developed than others, but overall with characters constantly on the move between locations there wasn’t the depth I had hoped for.
I do wonder whether I would have enjoyed this one more if I had read it before MEXICAN GOTHIC set such a high bar. It did have a strong premise in the beginning and I thought it wrapped up well, but in the middle it was more of a struggle to pick it back up. All that said, I will absolutely be picking up Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books in the future!