A charming classic quest that blends Mayan folklore in the setting of 1920’s Yucatán, Mexico. Casiopea is a young woman determined to leave her abusive family. Her opportunity comes with the awakening of a weakened god of death, Hun-Kamé, who becomes more human as he gets closer to his own demise. By restoring this deity, Casiopea can save both their lives as well as right the wrongs of her family’s past. Gods of Jade and Shadow is full of magical imagery and charming dialogue that makes it an immersive and fun read.
For those attempting to tackle Pratchett’s enormous Discworld oeuvre who are unsure where to begin, try Small Gods! It follows Brutha, the slow but well-meaning Chosen One of the Great God Om, on a mission to prevent a holy war between the rigid theocracy of Omnia and its laid-back philosophical neighbor, Ephebe. The least of Brutha’s problems is that Om is trapped in the body of a tortoise and can’t persuade anyone to do as he says. Beloved by die-hard fans and casual readers alike, the novel takes on religion, ethics, and belief in Pratchett’s classic irreverent style.
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley is a live-wire of a novel. It sounds like a strange, potentially dry, premise -- Beowulf, but make it suburban, and yet Headley’s novel is an energizing, propulsive read. Willa Herot lives in a pristine neighborhood, where her reality has been carefully curated. Her home is the loveliest one on the block; she has a precious, well-behaved baby boy and an enviable marriage. It all hangs by a delicate thread. In a mountain cave overlooking the suburban haven lives Dana, a veteran suffering from PTSD, and her son, Gren, who has never experienced life outside the safety of the cave. An innocent meeting between the two boys sets both worlds reeling. Headley’s take on the epic poem deals with topics like motherhood, womanhood, otherness, and modern-day monsters with searing intensity, her writing as beautiful as it is brutal.