Heroes and Gods

A review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow (Del Rey, 2020)

By Derek Newman-Stille

Gods of Jade and Shadow is a discourse on the Hero’s Journey while it also serves to disrupt that cycle. Silvia Moreno-Garcia presents readers with a girl in a fairy tale circumstance, being used and abused by her family. But Cassiopeia doesn’t seek out a prince who will rescue her from household drudgery, instead she craves her own adventures. She keeps a little collection of magazine cut-outs showing aspects of the life she wants to live, but hides them from everyone, almost burying them from herself because she considers them so precious.

When she is left alone with her grandfather’s key, she opens up a world of new possibilities by awakening a Mayan god and binding him to her. She becomes part of a mythic narrative, conscribed to the role of the hero, a plaything of the gods. Here Cassiopeia also resists her role, not willing to just follow the edicts of the god that is tied to her but instead being a shaper of her own destiny and possibly a shaper of the destiny of the gods who are trapped in her orbit.


You can find out more about Gods of Jade and Shadow at https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/577066/gods-of-jade-and-shadow-by-silvia-moreno-garcia/

You can discover more about Silvia Moreno-Garcia at https://www.silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/


Reviewed by Derek Newman-Stille, MA, PhD ABD (They/Them)