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.
I got this ARC from NYCC 2019 when I bought a mystery box from Penguin Random House.
I am very unfamiliar with the Mayan gods, folktales and myths and I feel like I learned a lot from this story (even though Moreno-Garcia said in the glossary that this is a work of fantasy and not anthropological text.)
I loved this story and that it’s a stand alone novel.
I loved the slow burn love story between Casiopea and Hun-Kamé. I loved the final message that love is the strongest magic and it transforms. The ending is perfect. Lessons were learned and characters transformed.
The dynamics between all the characters were well done. The reader roots for Casiopea and has hatred for her cousin Martin, who’s a bully. Yet, Martin is not one dimensional antagonist and you get to see where his jealousy comes from.
The 1920’s imagery (the fashions) was so pretty and it would be great to see this as a miniseries.
The pacing was a little slow about 3/4 of the way through and I did put it down for a few days but that’s a tiny criticism. Otherwise it’s a beautiful, magical, and modern fairytale.
4 out of 5 Jade Necklaces.