Some people are born under a lucky star, while others have their misfortune telegraphed by the positions of the planets. Casiopea Tun, named after a constellation, was born under the most rotten star imaginable in the firmament. “– Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Gods of Jade and Shadow
This tale begins as a very close rendition of the typical Cinderella story for Casiopea Tun. The 18 year old is living under the rule of her grandfather in the Yucatan during the jazzy 1920’s. Her mother works in the house as the cook while Casiopea scrubs floors and shines shoes. All of this because her mother did not marry well and upon the death of Casiopea ‘s poor father, they were forced to move back home. This is only made worse by Casiopea’s cousin, Martin, who spends his days smoking cigarettes while being verbally and sometimes physically abusive.
So, the question you may be asking is when does the prince come in and save her? Well, there is no disappointment in that. Casiopea accidentally finds a key to a locked chest and of course proceeds to open it. However, instead of gold or jewels, she finds bones. Being the stubborn young woman she is, Casiopea sticks her hand in the chest to search further and receives a splinter of bone in her hand. This connects her mortality to the bones, which then form into the very handsome Hun- Kame, Lord of Xibalba (who also is the Lord of death).
This story turns into a wild and fun adventure during the 1920’s through parts of South America and then into North America, even into Xibalba itself. Although the story is perhaps not incredibly original, it certainly is beautifully written and a pleasure to read. And also, I thought I knew how it was going to end but I was wrong! There are definitely some entertaining and unexpected surprises with great attention to detail.
I hope you enjoyed my review of Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia! My next read is The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.