Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard
Published: January 2010, Angry Robot
Genre: Historical/Speculative/High Fantasy
“Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, High Priest, must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead.”
I have the haziest recollection of studying Aztec mythology in high school but no-one needs to be familiar with the fragmented mythology to dive into this world. Aliette de Bodard makes a smooth transition into another society through Acatl’s eyes – introducing a vivid world of magic, fickle gods and multifaceted characters embroiled in a mystery. The murder-mystery plot and the individual flaws of the characters reeled me into this story. I loved how the story also explored loyalty and the individual relationships and choices within a family. The Aztec names might be a little hard to pronounce but that didn’t deter me at all. Definitely recommended.