Brenda Cooper

Mayan (er…Aztec) Reading: Servant of the Underworld, by Aliette de Bodard

I’m busy reading books and stories set either in 2012 or in the Yucatan Peninsula.  I read Aliette de Bodard’s Nebula nominated novelette, “The Jaguar House, In Shadow” and loved it so much that I went right to her novel “Servant of the Underworld.”  It’s a bit of a cheat for this post series because it is Aztec rather than Mayan, but it is equally fascinated with the magic of Mexico.  I loved the book.  The world-building is confident and well-researched.  Yes – she’s taken some liberties with the past – but so have I.  No matter how much research you do, these are ultimately fiction.  In Aliette’s story and book, I felt like they story could have happened the way it’s described. Even more importantly, the characters in this book felt real and human, and much of the story was the small story of being a human taking place inside a larger story with huge stakes.

The only warning I have on this is to give it a few chapters.  The story does start on page one, but the Aztec names and the strangeness of the world take some getting used to.  Trust me; it’s a strength of the book.

I liked it enough that I ordered her second book, even though it’s undoubtedly going to land in my “to be read” file since I have a long spate of manuscript reading coming up to prepare for a writing workshop.

2 Responses so far

  1. 1. Rosy Hugener

    Hope you can read my book. It’s historical fiction about Merida with Mayan legends and the story of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. This book has a lot about the history after the Mexican Revolution in Yucatan. I’ll take any questions. My family is from Merida.

  2. 2. brenda

    Rosy – feel free to send me a copy if you’d like to – no promise that I can make time to read it, but I very much enjoy books set in this locale.