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Book Club Kits: Gods of Jade and Shadow

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

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.

"A spellbinding fairy tale rooted in Mexican mythology . . . Gods of Jade and Shadow  is a magical fairy tale about identity, freedom, and love, and it's like nothing you've read before."--Bustle


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.

Praise for Gods of Jade and Shadow

"A dark, dazzling fairy tale . . . a whirlwind tour of a 1920s Mexico vivid with jazz, the memories of revolution, and gods, demons, and magic."--NPR

"Snappy dialog, stellar worldbuilding, lyrical prose, and a slow-burn romance make this a standout. . . . Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N. K. Jemisin are popular."--Library Journal (starred review)

"A magical novel of duality, tradition, and change . . . Moreno-Garcia's seamless blend of mythology and history provides a ripe setting for Casiopea's stellar journey of self-discovery, which culminates in a dramatic denouement. Readers will gladly immerse themselves in Moreno-Garcia's rich and complex tale of desperate hopes and complicated relationships."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Discussion Questions

1. What were your first impressions of Casiopea? Hun-Kame? Martin? How did you feel about them by the end of the book?

2. How did you feel about the relationship between Casiopea and Hun-Kame?

3. What did you think about the historical period and setting of the book? Could you see this as a modern-day adventure?

4. What did you think about the ending? Do you wish anything had been different? Would you read a sequel to this story? If so, would you prefer it feature Casiopea and Hun Kame, or would you prefer a story in the same world with new characters?

5. Discuss Martin’s perception of the world versus Casiopea’s. Why do you think, raised under the same roof, they see things so differently?

6. Why did Hun-Kamé change his mind and spare his brother? What would have changed if he had not?

7. How does Moreno-Garcia’s depiction of the Jazz Age Mexico compare to the other literary depictions of the Jazz Age in the United States?

8. How would Casiopea’s life have been different had she opened her grandfather’s chest and found gold instead of Hun-Kamé? Would she have taken the gold?

9. What do you think happened to Casiopea’s family back In Uukumil? Do you think Casiopea and Martin will ever return?

10. Do you feel Martin was a true villain? If he had been in Casiopea’s place, how would his journey have been different?