Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Book Review
This story is set in Mexico in the 1920’s. The main character, Casiopea Tun, along with her mother have been turned into servants, tending to her very cruel and wealthy grandfather, her entitled cousin and the home they live in.
Casiopea and her mother came to live with her Grandfather after Casiopea’s father died. Her father was a dark skinned man, this disgraced the Grandfather and the family and so she and her mother were treated poorly. Although this life Casiopea has known since she was little, she dreams of a better life and is not afraid to speak her truth to her cousin, who is quick to insult and find trouble for her in any way he can. Casiopea’s mother, who has become a rather docile woman, discourages Casiopea from speaking up for the mistreatment.
One day while Casiopea was cleaning her Grandfather’s room her curiosity gets the better of her when discovers the key to a wooden box that is kept in her Grandfather’s room. Upon opening the box, she pricks her finger with the contents inside and soon discovers that this box was actually holding the spirit and bones of a Mayan death God, Hun-kame. She soon discovers that her finger was pierced by a piece of bone belonging to the Death God.
The bone infuses itself in her and assures death for her if she does not assist the God in recovering his missing body parts that were taken from him in order to dethrone him and has left him powerless and kept him prisoner in this box. Once he is whole again, Hun-Kame can reclaim his throne.
Although she is at first unwilling, she understands that she has no choice but to assist him. Their journey begins into the underworld of Mayan Gods & travels to places she never imagined visiting.
I loved this book, all of the Mayan culture, the tools, the deities that are brought to life. The way that the story is told had me “in it” from very early on. It’s a deep story, a story of light and shadow where you are witness to the life lessons, discovery and transformations. The important thing to remember about this book is that it is referencing the Underworld and the practices that are associated with it, so you do need to be prepared for conversations involving death, sacrifices, and offerings.
It’s so deep and offers insightful and thought provoking quotes. This book touched me