Gods of Jade and Shadow

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.


“Moreno-Garcia takes her, and the reader, on a whirlwind tour of a 1920s Mexico vivid with jazz, the memories of revolution, and gods, demons, and magic which are both indigenous and foreign-born.”


“Gods of Jade and Shadows is set in a fantastical 1920s Mexico. Casiopea Tun lives with her overbearing grandfather and her odious cousin, Martín. Since this is a fairy-tale, she lives a suitably Cinderella-ish existence, cleaning her cousin’s shoes, washing floors and atoning for her mother’s decision to marry into a lower class. Casiopea is a memorable heroine with “a knack for quiet insurrection”. One day she accidentally awakens a Mayan god of death, the urbane and gorgeous Hun-Kamé, Lord of Shadows. Cassiopea accompanies the god through the delights and colours of jazz age Mexico in a quest to help him to recover his throne from his treacherous brother. This is all a bit whimsical for my tastes, but Silvia Moreno-Garcia writes with verve and the Mayan mythology she draws on is fascinating.”

The Times

“Readers will gladly immerse themselves in Moreno-Garcia’s rich and complex tale of desperate hopes and complicated relationships.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Snappy dialog, stellar worldbuilding, lyrical prose, and a slow-burn romance make this a standout.”

Library Journal, Starred Review

“The magic that Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves in her 1920s-set historical fantasy, GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW, immerses the reader in a fairy tale like no other [...] Readers will be floored by Moreno-Garcia’s painstaking attention to detail. Her descriptions of the emotionally charged interactions between realistic human characters and otherworldly gods, witches and demonic forces are unforgettable, as are as the fairy-tale and folktale aspects of the plot.”

BookPage, Starred Review

“GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW is a magical fairy tale about identity, freedom, and love, and it’s like nothing you’ve read before.”


“[GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW] is a moving description of a young girl’s coming of age and a seamless fusion of the real and the magical.”

The Guardian

“Although pre-Columbian mythology and magic and the Roaring Twenties may seem like a strange combination, in Moreno-Garcia’s hands they comprise an enchanting cocktail, just as Casiopea’s unsentimental view on her story is the perfect counterpart to its fantastic and at times hair-raising events. Raise a glass, and keep more like this coming.”

Strange Horizons

“Moreno-Garcia has a talent for taking Mexican folklore, customs, and mythology, twisting them around, and turning out fascinating stories immersed in different genre tropes […] Fans of lush, evocative language will be thoroughly delighted.”


“The balance between Mayan mythology and historical fantasy is handled with impressive assurance and disarming good humor.”


“Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest is striking.”

SFX Magazine

“GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW is a page-turner that immerses you in a forgotten culture and it is a coming-of-age story about finding what you really want in the most unlikely of circumstances.”

The Nerd Daily

“Silvia Moreno-Garcia uses beautifully descriptive prose to take us on a tour of 1920s Mexico.”

Fantasy Literature

“This magical story blends Mexican history and mythology into a fantastic adventure. The lush world Moreno-Garcia has built will carry readers away on a feminist coming of age journey with Casiopea, a heroine for our time.”

Ms. Magazine

“Silvia Moreno-Garcia beautifully weaves the glamour and possibility of the Jazz Age with Mexican folklore, crafting a lush, enthralling coming of age fairytale. Full of wonder and symbolism, it delves into the power of myths and stories, the choices that make a hero, and what it means to actually live. The relationship between Casiopea and Hun-Kamé develops tenderly and quietly, built on courage and wistful dreams. This is a hopeful and bittersweet tale, with a whip-smart, practical protagonist, and will appeal to fans of S.A. Chakraborty, Naomi Novik, and Katherine Arden.”

The Skinny

“Casiopea Tun leads a constrained lives in 1920s Mexico until, in an act of rebellion, she opens a casket belonging to her grandfather and unleashes the Mayan death god who insists she help him regain his throne. Based on folklore, this is a coming-of-age fairytale of haunting shadows co-mingled with vibrant life.”

The i

“GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW is a page-turner that immerses you in a forgotten culture and it is a coming-of-age story about finding what you really want in the most unlikely of circumstances.”

The Nerd Daily

“[GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW is] full of energy, vibrancy and Mayan culture.”

Umut Reviews

“This is an extremely impressive tale that immerses me in an epic quest and journey of discovery for two very different yet both powerful people who need the other to find themselves.”

Runalong the Shelves

“Moreno-Garcia has a way with words.”

A Dance With Books

“I recommend Gods of Jade and Shadow to fantasy/mythology fans looking for something a little different.”

Nicki J. Markus

“Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s prose is like the best kind of fairytale–dark, enchanting, and makes you wish that you could live within its pages. Casiopea’s journey belongs on every bookshelf.”

Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Labyrinth Lost

“Pushed down by her grandfather and cousin all her life, stubborn Casiopea is surprised to find herself a hero when she accidentally frees the Mayan God of Death from imprisonment. Inextricably tied together, Casiopea must assist him as he regains his strength to battle his treacherous brother for the Underworld. What neither of them realize is the simple power that humanity holds in his world of glittering and ravenous shadows. I absolutely loved this gorgeous and original historical fantasy, a great comp to Katherine Arden’s Winternight series or Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.”

Sami Thompson, Square Books

“Simultaneously heartbreaking and heart-mending, GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW is a wondrous and magical tale about choosing our own path. I felt weepy and happy and hopeful when I finished—everything you want to feel at the end of a great story.”

Kevin Hearne, The New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, the Seven Kennings trilogy, and the Tales of Pell with Delilah S. Dawson

“Set in a lushly rendered and gorgeous world, this is historical fantasy at its best: a fresh, feminist coming-of-age tale that lets the ancient and the new meld and clash in a tale you can’t put down.”

S.A. Chakraborty, Bestselling author of the award-nominated The City of Brass

“A lust, bittersweet tale of courage, lover and carving your own place in the world […] Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s evocative prose will take you on an adventure for the mind and the heart.”

Christina Henry, Author of the national bestselling Black Wings series

“A vibrant story of grit, giddiness, and glory with a protagonist whose personality burns bright as a star. Casiopea Tun will capture your heart and draw you into a jewel-toned world of myth-making and jazz music.”

Lara Elena Donnelly, Nebula/Lambda-nominated author of The Amberlough Dossier

“A beautiful work that will draw you in and keep you transfixed and reading far too late. It blends the “real” and the mythic seamlessly, and the clear-sighted heroine is a joy to read about. It’s the sort of book that will leave you with beautiful after-images for weeks to follow, and going back to re-read favourite sections.”

Genevieve Cogman, author of the Invisible Library series

“An elegant and immersive tale, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW opened my eyes to the Mayan Underworld and took me on an adventure with a strong-willed, practical heroine and a prickly fallen god that I never wanted to end. It feels like a modern classic, and is absolutely unforgettable.”

Kendare Blake, #1 NYT Bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series

“For lovers of mythology, this is a real treat. I was not familiar with Mesoamerican myths so this was very exciting for me – a new voyage to a land of dreams and possibilities. When Casiopea opens an old trunk in her grandfather’s room, she allows the Mayan God of Death to escape (think Pandora’s box) and her previously boring life takes on a new purpose as she is sent out to help him regain his former status. Her journey takes her away from the quiet town of her birth and into the jungles of the Yucatán peninsula, into the raging crowds and bright lights of Mexico City, and as far away as the “underworld.” It’s the Roaring 20’s and things are hopping. I loved this reverent fairy tale.”

Linda Bond, of Auntie’s (Spokane, Washington)

“Cassiopeia has had a difficult life, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. The story begins with a girl who dreams of a brighter future and quickly finds herself at the mercy of ancient gods. Laced with ancient Mayan myths, demons, ghosts, sorcerers and witches, this tale takes us from the Yucatan, through the depths of Xibalba–the kingdom of the lords of death–and back to Mexico where the hearts of readers are certain to break. With beautiful use of language, fantastic world-building, and a classic underdog story woven throughout, this book is a winner for me.”

Sophie Giroir, of Cavalier House Books (Denham Springs, Louisiana)

“Set in 1920's Mexico, this is a work combining Mayan mythology, history, fantasy, and coming of age. Casciopea is an emotionally intelligent, brave, funny heroine readers will look up to and want to hang out with. Moreno-Garcia broadens our imagination with Hun-Kame, the Mayan God of Death, who shows that even gods need help sometimes and vulnerability is endearing! The book is also a geography nerd's dream, with beautiful descriptions of the landscape and culture from Yucatán to Mexico City to Baja.”

Grace Hagen, The Novel Neighbor

Awards & Accolades


Goodreads Choice Award: 2019 “Best Fantasy Novel”


The Skinny: “Top Realism Books of 2019”


Decentred Lit: Inaugural “Book of the Month”


Big Issue: “Top Five Magical Realism books”