Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 381
Gods of Jade and Shadow
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Eighteen-year-old Casiopea feels trapped in her rich grandfather’s home in southern Mexico. She wants to leave their small town and experience life, but she's in charge of caring for her grandfather who treats her as the ‘poor’ relative. What keeps Casiopea going is her grandfather’s promise of receiving money at his death. Only then will her dreams of leaving come true. Then when she’s forced to stay behind after she gets into an argument with her cousin Martin, she opens a mysterious box in her grandfather’s room. She unleashes Hun-Kame, the Mayan god of Death, who gives her a quest: find his murderous brother and receive all you desire. Fail, and be destroyed.

What worked: Love this diverse fantasy novel based loosely on Mayan folklore. Casiopea at first seems to be a 1920s Cinderella, but she has spunk and doesn’t back down. She stands up to her abusive cousin and doesn’t fall for his charm. Even when Hun-Kame demands her to go on a quest of vengeance, she still speaks out and doesn’t just fall at the god’s feet.

The quests Casiopea goes on include visiting a trickster demon, going on a journey through the dark underworld of Xiabalba, and standing up to Vucub-Kame’s threats.

There’s so much to love about this novel. There’s adventure, high stakes, mystery, hints of a romance all set in the world of Mayan folklore.

Mesmerizing diverse coming of age tale where a strong protagonist chooses her own path even when otherworldly elements are thrown her way. Courageous, magical, and highly entertaining. Totally recommend for fans of fantasies set in a Mayan world.
Good Points
1. Engaging diverse fantasy based loosely on Mayan folklore
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