I was on hold for this book for months at my local library, and after having read it, I get it. I had a co-worker who said there was a difference between books and literature. At the time, I thought she was being snooty, but every now and then I read a book that makes me go, “Oh, so that’s what she meant.” Gods of Jade and Shadow is literature.
Casiopea Tun lives with her family in a small village in the Yucatán peninsula. Casiopea and her mother are in charge of all of the cooking, cleaning, and errands for the family – punishment for Casiopea’s mother marrying a man who the family thought was beneath them. She dreams of escape but doesn’t know how to make it happen. One day while cleaning her grandfather’s bedroom, she opens a wooden box and frees the Mayan god that has been trapped inside. He orders her to help him recover the pieces of his body that his brother stole so he may regain his throne. Soon Casiopea is criss-crossing the country with a god of death, meeting demons and witches, and having more adventure than she ever dreamed. But if they don’t complete their quest in time, both the god and Casiopea will die.
This is an amazing book. The writing is beautiful and the main characters are very well-developed. Moreno-Garcia uses amazingly descriptive language which makes it easy to picture yourself walking in Casiopea’s shoes. I felt like I was in 1920s Mexico! Cas is such a great heroine. She’s easy to root for, brave, compassionate, and her actions make sense. The author even manages to make some of the bad guys sympathetic. I loved learning about the Mayan gods of death and their kingdom. This is just a fabulous book.