Diversity, Edelweiss, Historical, Loved-it, Myths, Non-fiction, Other-cultures

[Myths] Mesoamerican Mythology Is Mighty Cool!! + 3 Reasons To Read It Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico by David Bowles

I’ve always been incredibly interested in the rarer myths – so you’re probably not surprised that I’m reviewing the lost myths of South America here. The truth is, because of historical bias, the media and many more factors (and the simple fact that not much actually remains of these cultures), we imagine them to have been ruthless, mysterious… unknowable. When it fact, these cultures were fascinating. My reading this collection of myths was a quest to broaden my horizon, as well as to learn more about the cultures I’ve always been fascinated by. And here are the reasons why you should read it too!

3 Reasons To Read Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky

Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky was a spectacular collection of myths, written in an easy to follow way, arranged chronologically, and truly epic enough to just read them casually, without the aim of education or research. The stories you will read start at the creation of the world and go onwards, throughout the times and spanning many different cultures (the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Toltecs and many more), telling their stories – how they came to be and how they perished. This collection ends with the last stories of the indigenous peoples of South America – the Spanish conquest, the loss of heritage and values. This is the story of the people, from their origins to the end of their story.

It’s Easy To Read

Have you read mythology collections before? I have. Most of them will put you straight to sleep. Many names, things you’re supposed to know beforehand, literary references to scholarly work… drowning in footnotes. Not the casual read for sure. But this book was released with a different idea in mind – Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky really WAS released for the casual reader – perhaps one broadening their horizons, or one looking for their roots. It’s easy to read and to follow, the stories are arranged chronologically, so you’ll just feel like you’re reading along through the centuries, as it slowly switches from gods conversing amongs themselves to kings and queens, and then to national heroes or traitors, and warrior princesses. Especially warrior princesses.

The Warrior Princesses

Oh my gosh, do we need to talk about that! I was SO pleasantly surprised to find so many amazing strong female heroines here! There are a lot, and I mean, A LOT of stories about strong women, fighter women, wise women – it’s not a narrative that’s present in Western mythology almost at all – so this was an incredibly pleasant surprise for me. Some of these stories I know I will remember for sure. One of the stories even teaches that being sexually passionate and free as a quality in a woman can absolutely walk hand in hand with a heart made of gold and purity of soul. Also not a narrative present in the Western stories at all. Which makes it all the more sad to know that these cultures were destroyed and replaced with our brilliant culture of muting, silencing, shaming, mysoginy and crushing patriarchy.

It’s A History Of A People

Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky is both a mythical creation story, as well as the history of the Mesoamerican tribes – much like The Old Testament is to the Jews. In that way, it’s spectacular. I truly enjoyed the creation stories, as well as the earliest myths. The middle age stories of certain tribes rising to power I enjoyed less, as well as the Spanish conquest stories – those less so because it was just sad to read of these amazing nations being destroyed and subjugated. But all of these stories are equally worth attention – especially if you have any heritage in those cultural regions.

Other Books You Might Like

I will not give you suggestions of other mythology books to read. Instead, I will give you recommendations of books, based on the mythologies of these cultures. Although I can’t say I know too many of them, or that there are too many out there – a sad fact indeed, because Mesoamerican mythologies can provide some pretty wild ground for fantasy books! The Library at Mount Char is a fascinating, as well as fascinatingly dark, story of greater powers at work in the world, and after reading Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky, I realized I was so drawn to that particular world-building because it was largely based on South American mythology. It’s amazing! I am also no specialist, but I will venture to say that Neil Gaiman must have based at least some aspects of The Ocean at the End of the Lane on South American mythology. You can find my reviews for these books in my lsit post about 5 books with the darkest mysterious presenceAnd, last but not least – I have actually not read Servant of the Underworld yet, but I hear it’s a really good window straight into the olden days of the South Americans, written in a truly transporting manner. I can’t wait to read that book myself! (Yep, already on the owned TBR, don’t you know it.)

The Library at Mount Char   The Ocean at the End of the Lane   Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian and Blood #1)

I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the book in exchange to my honest opinion. Receiving the book for free does not affect my opinion. You can buy the book here at Book Depository and buying using this link supports the blog.

Have you read a lot of myth collections? Or just books, based on mythologies? Do you like reading them?

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JJ @ This Dark Material

This sounds amazing! I especially like how accessible it is. I’m not familiar at all with the mythology of Mesoamerican cultures, but this seems like a good way to broaden my horizons and try something new 🙂 Great review Evelina!

3 years ago

I used to read a lot of myth collections as a kid. I was utterly obsessed with how imaginative these stories were and even then found it fascinating how people tried to make sense of this world (I still do!).
Lately I have read many retellings based on myths and they could be hit and miss with me.
Glad you enjoyed this collection, sounds really interesting!

Jenn @ Bound to Writing

I enjoy reading about mythology but have to agree that it usually is sleep-inducing. It’s great to hear that this one isn’t. I’m definitely going to have to check this one out! Great review Evelina! 🙂

Stephanie Jane
3 years ago

This book sounds fascinating! Good find!
I have a couple of Latin American books to read this month, but I don’t think they will delve into ancient mythology like Feathered Serpent does. This one’s going on my TBR right now!

3 years ago

I actually don’t think I’ve ever read mythology before! When I was a kid, though, I remember reading a lot of…. I guess they’re called folk tales in English? Kind of like fables, but not always with animals and usually every nation has their own? I’m probably not making any sense, because in Latvian we have a specific word for them, which is “teikas”, and idk if it can be translated to English, but yeah, those. 😀 They usually involved if not mythology, then at least the values of the particular nation’s people.

3 years ago

The warrior princesses won me over! Onto the wishlist it goes!

Jacqueline @bluejaybooks

I keep meaning to read more about Mesoamerican and South American mythology but never get around to it. I had a great history teacher in middle school from Ecuador who managed to work some South American myths/history into the curriculum, but have learned almost nothing about Mesoamerican myths even though I was taught Spanish for around 8 years. It’s a shame, really that it isn’t taught more.

Jacqueline @bluejaybooks

I’ll try to fit some reading on Mesoamerican mythology in. Yes, he was a great teacher 🙂 Yes, too bad 🙁

Brian Joseph
3 years ago

Super review as always. As I mentioned before, some of my previous reading has whetted my appetite for Native American culture and mythology. Based on your commentary, this sounds so good.

I think that a lot of Western Mythology seems so difficult because of old translations. I think that some of the newer translations are a lot more accessible.

3 years ago

I LOVE MYTH, but I usually read the retelling. I’m looking for some Myth books to read so I think I might pick this up! Thank you for this amazing post!


[…] Evelina @Avalinah’s Books […]

Lydia Tewkesbury
3 years ago

This sounds so interesting! I don’t read a ton of myths and legends these days, but I had a book of ‘world myths’ (I don’t know if they actually were) when I was a kid that I was absolutely obsessed with. I still have it somewhere, in like 3 different pieces as it fell apart because it was read so much.

Darius Jung
3 years ago

This sounds great! So many books and references to mythology are Eurocentric, it’s good that myths from other parts of the world are becoming more accessible, and not restricted to dry academic tomes.

3 years ago

This sounds great. I love the rarer myths too. I remember reading the story of Quetzalcoatl way back in primary school and I’ve never forgotten it, it really captured my imagination. I will have to check this book out.


[…] & Teagan @ Fiction No Chaser 2. Evelina @ Avalinah’s Books 3. Theresa @ biblioreviews 4. Amy @ A Court of Crown and Quills 5. Mel @ Mel to the Any 6. Kayla @ […]

Jackie B
3 years ago


I love reading fables, folklore, and mythology. But, you’re right, collections are occasionally challenging to read. The majority of the collections I know are academic in origin. But, with the rise of YA literature and #OwnVoices I’ve started to see more and more collections be published which are more accessible. Do you know of other accessible collections you’d recommend? What myth is your favorite from this collection?


[…] – I had a review of probably my favorite MG this year so far, Clara Voyant, also a review of a collection of Mexican/South American myths, and lastly – the first post in the series of #NewBloggersWelcome! Why is this new series […]