Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication: 23 July 2019
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.
It started out like Cinderella and Pandora’s box, then turned into an adventure with a Mayan death god.
Gods of Jade and Shadow was written in the third person, and followed three points of view- Casiopea, Martin, and Vucub- Kame. I appreciated the insight into the minds of all three. It made the ‘villains’ less two-dimensional, and I actually understood where they came from.
The world building was very detailed. There was so much information about places, clothes, events, items etc. that I had a very clear picture of the world the characters inhabited. Sometimes it felt like I was reading a textbook though, which I found a bit off putting.
The writing style had the effect of keeping the reader somewhat removed from the characters and action as well. For some, this will make it feel somewhat like a fairytale, but I imagine for others it will be a problem.
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Young Adult Fantasy
Publication: September 2013
Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family.
I struggled with the rating for this one. It’s not a terrible book, and it doesn’t deserve a lower rating. That being said, normally a 3 star book is one I’d still recommend, but I’m not sure I’d really encourage anyone to go out of their way to read this. So let’s just move on to what I liked and disliked.
I liked the mythology aspects of the book, and how ancient Egyptian gods were brought into the modern era.
Isadora, as an MC, was at times hilarious, and others, very annoying. I appreciate that she knows what she’s interested in, and what she’s good at – interior design. I quite liked the snark and sarcasm at times. That being said, she whinges a lot, and it gets irritating and repetitive. There was also very little character development beyond Isadora, and even then, I feel it’s quite limited.
It also wasn’t hard to guess where the plot was going or who the main players were, so there were really no surprises.
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna
Young Adult Fantasy
#1 of 3
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.
Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.
It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.
Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.
I actually cannot think of a single thing I disliked about this book. It had a bit of everything – a smart protagonist, a twisty revenge plan, political intrigue, a touch of romance, a dash of mystery, three dimensional characters, a complicated family dynamic, wonderful writing, fabulous worldbuilding, and an exciting plot.
It was completely gripping, and I had trouble taking breaks from it. I was emotionally invested in every moment. I was laughing, and crying, and anxious, and excited, and angry.
And I was absolutely wrecked by that ending. Good thing book two comes out later this month!