I know I say some of the books I read are really good, but this book is really fucking good. It’s beautiful and sad and wonderful and hopeful. I’m literally ugly crying at this very moment.
Basically Silvia Moreno-Garcia is amazing and if you liked Signal to Noise or Certain Dark Things, you will definitely love this book. I think it’s my favourite of the three, it’s got so many elements from the previous two but is just perfect. I mean, it’s literally killed me dead and I’m writing to you from the afterlife, but that’s just the penalty you have to pay for reading such an amazing book.
THAT COVER, THOUGH. Like if you think that cover is amazing, just wait until you read the bloody words inside of it. Oh, and it’s number 7 on the Read Harder list, because it is better than all the books.
Like the two previous novels, the author takes elements of fantasy and mixes them in with the real word. In this case it’s Mayan gods alive in Mexico during the jazz age. I mean, that phrase right there, how can you not immediately go to your friendly neighbourhood and/or online book retailer and order it. I’ll wait.
The first main character is Casiopea, a woman who wants more to life than serving her spoiled cousin and demanding grandfather. The second is Hun-Kamé, former Lord of Xibalba (basically the Lord of Death). Casiopea becomes the willing/unwilling accomplice of Hun-Kamé as he attempts to retake his throne from his brother.
The two of them are such brilliant characters, Casiopea defying the Lord of Death (both of them), her cousin, her grandfather. She’s just unapologetically herself and refuses to be hemmed in by anyone, whether they be a god or just an overbearing relative. But Hun-Kamé, despite being a god, has his own vulnerabilities and worries, which evolve throughout the book. The two of them together are brilliant. I was so worried about them that I had to take a break from reading because I just knew there was SOMETHING coming.
AND I WAS RIGHT. And it was sad and beautiful AND I CAN’T STOP UGLY CRYING.
I loved the quest Hun-Kamé and Casiopea have to go on together, the sights and descriptions of the cities they wander through. The language was also just absolutely stunning. I think my favourite line was: “You wear me like a jewel upon your finger, Casiopea.” But the images and phrases conjured up like some sort of sorcery by Moreno-Garcia are so vivid and wonderful, you completely lose sense of time and race through the chapters, even when you know the words are going to break your heart.
This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read all year and I can’t recommend it highly enough, even though I AM DEAD NOW, and it’s a ghost writing this blog.
Just read it, then tell all your friends to read it, then have some sort of connection with Hollywood so I can ugly cry at the film version.
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