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
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★★★★☆ 4 stars
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 presence. And, 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.)
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?
I’m Evelina and I blog about books that made an impression on me. I love middle grade, women’s, scifi and some literary too.