Review of Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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I was given an ARC by Jo Fletcher Books and thanks to the wonderful Katya for sending me this book.

THIS is why my blog was started. To review diverse fantasy. And I got this book based on Mayan mythology. There is very little work based on Mesoamerica, and so I thank Silvia for creating a wonderful book.

First off, this is a book that I would reccomand for you to pick up. You like Mayan Gods? Check. You like elaborate description’s of the palaces of the underworld? Check. You like a female heroine that has a strong sense of mind and logic? Check.

I did feel that Caspoiea needed more scenes of her emotional development personally. I also think we needed to see more of her fun side a lot more often. The question that struck me about this novel is, do the Mayan Gods know of the Aztec Gods? Heck, do the Gods of Old Religions know each other in this world?

For me once it got going, it was like being on a long train journey. Everything about the worldbuilding makes you definitely feel the impact that Spanish Rule essentially did to Ancient Meso-America. And what the current descendents of those Spanish Colonalists now living bascially on the land where jaguars roamed and jungles were abundant. I would have liked to seen how the Old Gods saw Christanity and what they did to combat it. Because I am sure that the Mayan Religion is alive, but in very small pockets as compared to its historical past.

I also felt the novel was too short, and too long at the same time. Too short because I am sure Silvia wanted to show more of the Mayan Afterlife, and too long because the climax did drag a little to the end, but that is a minor nit-pick. Hun-Kame has become my favorite God. Very similar to Hades.

But I also appericate how difficult it is to research on Meso-America when the Spanish Conquistadores bascially removed the history of the Inca’s, the Aztec’s, etc. There are not many suriving sources and this is a shame. So kudos to Silvia on doing the best she could do with Mayan Languages. She’s done more research and it takes a lot of hard work to research on Mayan Mythology or even Meso-American Mythology as well. But I want to see more writers tackling this subject. If the Spanish Conquistadores had removed the history of these civilizations, then who is to say we cannot recreate them? There is still dispute even today about the Roman Legions wearing red for their uniforms in battle. Except the Romans had a lot of writing to bascially have as source materials. If we can spend time in destroying a culture, as human history as shown, then we can spend time in recreating it to the best of our ability. That is a opinion of mine and nothing more.

I throughly enjoyed the perspective of the Mayan Gods, and their unique look. They were not kind Gods, but you could also say the same about the Greek Gods. But we must also look at the fact that most of the harsh thing we hear about the Greek/Roman Gods came from a monotheistic perspective. Therefore when trying to understand these cultures, it is best to remove that perspective and understand for what it is. There must have been a reason as to why so many Ancients were worshipping the Gods as they did.

The prose of this book is excellent, the characters are excellent, and my rating is a solid 4.5/5. I really enjoyed this book, and you will not regret buying this at all

To other writers, I do want to read more books about Mayan Mythology, and I generally of the modern day mixing with Ancient. I’d rather be happy with a book that has Ancient stuff in it only because you get to see the glory of the Meso-American World. Heck, you get books based on the glory of Ancient Rome, so why not on the Toltecs, Olmecs, Zapotecs etc?