Posts Tagged: Fantasy

Friday, August 23, 2019

An Adventure Worth Reading: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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An Adventure Worth Reading: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Gods of Jade and Shadow
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Adult, Adventure, Fantasy, Mythology
Publication date: July 23rd, 2019
by Del Rey

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The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

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.
-A copy was provided by Del Rey for review-

It’s been a while since I finished Gods of Jade and Shadow and yet its managed to linger in my mind. I start every single review I’ve written this year of a fantasy book by stating that I’ve been struggling with fantasy lately but I don’t think that statement truly encompasses how much I’ve been struggling. Part of it is my mood but I think a huge part of it is that fantasy these days is just not the kind of fantasy I grew up loving? I love journeys and adventures through foreign lands. I love fantasies that have strong plots driving them forward. I love fantasies that are fairy-tale-esque. 

When Casiopea’s father died, her mother and her were forced to move in with relatives. Of course, in exchange for their ‘generosity,’ Casiopea’s grandfather expects them to take on a large portion of the household chores and thinks it is perfectly acceptable to demean them. One day, Casiopea opens a chest she shouldn’t have, and finds that it contains a God. The God of Death to be precise. She ends up getting roped into a centuries old battle between two brothers (who happen to be Gods) and is forced onto a journey she was neither expecting nor asked for.

I am struggling with words right now and trying not to summarize this book but oh my god, I love this book so much. Several years ago, I read A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms which I adored and Gods of Jade and Shadow is reminiscent of it in all the best ways. 

Casiopea cannot be cowed. Not by her horrible relatives who have mistreated her her entire life and not by the God of Death. She might not truly have a choice about accompanying Hun-Kame but she is out on a journey to embrace the world and find happiness. ANYWAY, I LOVE CASIOPEA. She is such a well-written and well-rounded and all the wells of the world character. I love the way her strength is portrayed. I love seeing her assimilate into a world she hasn’t had access to before. I love her excitement about the tiniest things. She isn’t just a cardboard ‘badass female lead,’ she has depth. She is scared, excited, nervous and also falling in love for the first time.

There is a romance and it is absolutely delightful. I love how much the romance is written as sort of Casiopea’s coming of age rather than something that happens by accident. It affords so much control to Casiopea who has had none before. Hun-Kame is also a delightful grump who I love with all my heart. These two kids work very well together.

The pacing of the plot is great and just right so that my attention did not drift as I was reading. I love that while they are on this journey to recover body parts and also take revenge, there is room for them to explore the world and come across things they hadn’t before. Casiopea trying new things, haircuts, styles in general is so much fun to witness. Mayan mythology is weaved throughout this book and the way it makes the world come to life was fantastic.

If I did a command + f right now, I’d probably come across a lot of repetition of certain adjectives but I am sorry, I just have a lot of love and excitement for this book and a very limited vocabulary. The Gods of Jade and Shadow is truly a delightful read and not one worth missing. 100/10 would recommend.

4.5 Stars
4.5 Hot Espressos

Great World Building But A Little Slow: The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

Great World Building But A Little Slow: The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

Posted by on 08/07/2019 • 0 Comments

With the upcoming release of the live action Mulan, there has been an upsurge in Mulan retellings and I whole-heartedly welcome it. I fell in love with Spin the Dawn so I was pretty excited to dive into The Magnolia Sword. I went into it hoping that I would be blown away the same way I was with Spin the Dawn but I was not. Having said that, I loved the world building SO SO MUCH and enjoyed the building romantic tension between the main characters.

Let me clear, I am not trying to compare The Magnolia Sword to Spin the Dawn. I only mention the latter because both these stories adapt Mulan and I love Mulan (I’ve only been exposed to the Disney version of this story.)  They may…

Revived My Love for Fantasy: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Revived My Love for Fantasy: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Posted by on 07/23/2019 • 1 Comment

Spin the Dawn is the book I didn’t know I needed and I want to cry from how happy I am that I read it and that it could revolutionize my life. As a baby blogger, I rarely read contemporary. I exclusive read fantasy. These past few years though, fantasy has not really been holding my attention and I find myself avoiding it for the most part except for a few books here and there. Before Spin the Dawn, the last high fantasy I read was Wicked Saints back in April. I rated in 4 stars at the time but in retrospect it was not a 4 star read given that for half the book, my attention wandered. For the first time in literal years, I don’t want to read…

Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Posted by on 07/16/2019 • 1 Comment

A truly cinematic and unique novel, House of Salt and Sorrows begins during a funeral where we learn that one by one, the Thaumas sisters have been tragically dying. Soon our MC, Annaleigh, starts to wonder if Eulalie’s death was not accidental after all. This novels starts off fresh with a lot of faces, a ton of personalities, and plenty of mystery. I found myself engrossed from really early on, and looking forward to the wild ride this was bound to be. 

After the intriguing beginning, though, I found the pacing to be a little off. The story would lag in places until I was getting close to being bored. However each time that happened, the plot would suddenly jump forward to reveal something new, something exciting, even horrific, saving…

Gritty Characters: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Gritty Characters: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Posted by on 04/09/2019 • 1 Comment

CW: Self-harm and manipulative romantic relationship

I was told Wicked Saints would destroy me but I still didn’t realize what that would mean until I read the last couple pages of this book. If you enjoy happiness at all, you will stay far away from this book. If you love gritty characters, none of whom are particularly good (and some who might just be PLAIN EVIL), you will love Wicked Saints.

Right off the bat, we are pushed into the middle of a war with an opening scene where one of our MCs has to watch as many people important to her are murdered. So no, there are no rainbows and puppies in this book. Honestly though, having such a powerful scene was helpful to me because I’ve been struggling…

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Posted by on 02/28/2019 • 0 Comments

Currently, I am staring at a blank document trying to figure out how words work because I am not entirely sure how to even begin to describe We Set the Dark on Fire? When I first started hearing about the book, I thought it was a fantasy but then my friend, Shannon said it was more dystopia so I really didn’t know what genre I was diving into. I did go in expecting some badass girls and I GOT SOME BADASS GIRLS.

Upon finishing, I think I can say that while this book isn’t like a futuristic sci-fic novel, labelling it dystopia is not wholly inaccurate. WHICH, if you like me stopped reading dystopia half a decade ago because it was all bland, I promise We Set the Dark…

Entertaining: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Entertaining: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Posted by on 02/07/2019 • 0 Comments

I really enjoyed Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King duology and I had no doubt that I would at least like Warrior of the Wild. And I did! But overall Warrior of the Wild doesn’t hold a candle to the Daughter of the Pirate King books. It’s a fast, entertaining read but it is the kind of book that if you looked at it too closely, it kind of just falls apart. Everything about the plot line almost feels too easy. I love a fast paced book but this might have just been a LITTLE too fast.

Warrior of the Wild follows a privileged village leader’s daughter as she is exiled from her village and has to embark on a quest that involves killing an oppressive, abusive God…

Lush & Powerful: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Lush & Powerful: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Posted by on 12/05/2018 • 6 Comments

I am a mood reader and my mood this year has led me to read WAY WAY WAY more contemporary novels than fantasy novels, even though there was once a time when I would avoid contemporary novels like the plague. I dove into Girls of Paper and Fire because it sounded great but also came highly recommended from a friend. The first time around, I got to about 10% and then stopped reading because I just didn’t have the energy for a fantasy but then, I picked it up again and got completely sucked in. Girls of Paper and Fire was so refreshing not just because it’s so wholly different from the contemporaries I have been reading lately but also because it takes some common fantasy tropes and puts its…