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Literature / Gods Of Jade And Shadow

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A 2019 historical fantasy novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia set in Mexico emerging from the Revolutionary Era to the Jazz era as a young woman and her mother move back to their hometown after her father's death and she dreams of escaping her life after becoming a servant.

It was published by Del Rey Books.

Tropes for the novel:

  • Achey Scars: The Physical God Vucub-Kamé has raw, painful scars on his palms from wielding a cursed Cold Iron ax to maim and usurp his older brother fifty years earlier.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Vucub-Kamé mutilated and usurped his brother Hun-Kamé as supreme ruler of Xibalba in order to usher in a new era of mortal worship and widespread Human Sacrifice in his name.
    Hum-Kamé: He desires power, more power than he's ever tasted, more than we were ever meant to have. Incense is not enough for him. He'll burn the land, the forests. swallow the smoke that rises from it.
  • Blemished Beauty: Hun-Kamé is missing an eye, ear, and finger from his brother's betrayal, but is so divinely beautiful that Casiopea doesn't even notice his mutilations until he points them out, and repeatedly forgets about them later.
  • God of the Dead: Hun-Kamé was the supreme ruler of Xibalba, the Underworld of Mayan Mythology, before he was usurped and trapped on Earth by his younger brother Vucub-Kamé, who now holds court in luxury among the shades of the dead. His most urgent goal is to restore his full power and reclaim his throne.
  • Heroic Suicide: Casiopea cuts her own throat and dedicates her death to the dying Hun-Kamé, whom she was representing in a contest that she was about to lose. The primal forces of the Underworld itself declare her the winner in respect for her sacrifice; Hun-Kamé is restored; and he brings her Back from the Dead in gratitude.
  • Hot God: Hun-Kamé, the supreme god of Xibalba, is tall, black-haired, and beautiful in an ageless, utterly inhuman way. It's a sign that his powers are waning when he starts to look like an exceptionally beautiful young man instead.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Martín likes being a scion of the wealthiest and most powerful family in his home village; avoids situations, like school, where he'd have to apply his mediocre abilities; and abused Casiopea for years out of fear and resentment that their grandfather respects her more than him. He has a crushing Jerkass Realization when he's forced to accept that she's in no way his inferior.