Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Novella Review: The Black God's Drums

The Black God's Drums
P. Djèlí Clark
Release: August 21, 2018
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Creeper, a scrappy young teen, is done living on the streets of New Orleans. Instead, she wants to soar, and her sights are set on securing passage aboard the smuggler airship Midnight Robber. Her ticket: earning Captain Ann-Marie’s trust using a secret about a kidnapped Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

But Creeper keeps another secret close to heart--Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, who speaks inside her head and grants her divine powers. And Oya has her own priorities concerning Creeper and Ann-Marie…

Man, Tor.com has put out some real stellar novellas this year! The Black God's Drums was short but it packed a lot in. The language, world-building and characters grip you and it managed a full story in 110 pages. I do think this would have benefited from being longer but it was good as it was. 

This story features an alternative history America where the events of the American Civil War have been slightly changed and the States are not as United as they once were. Slavery is still present, but there are key differences, and each state operates to its own rules. Also, there's a bunch of steampunk tech. And it’s on an airship that our main character, Creeper, wants to escape on and leave New Orleans behind.

The magic system in this book was intriguing. Creeper has divine powers courtesy of Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, who lives inside her and pulls her this way and that to her own purposes. I would love to see this explored more in hopefully future novellas.

I adored the airship captain and would love a series on her life and loves as well as a heck of a lot more of this world and the rest of its characters. I want more about Creeper goes without saying but I'd love to know more about the nuns.

For a novella, this story was executed wonderfully. It has a full world and history along with great characters. It was a very satisfying, short read. I just need more. Hopefully, we'll see more books and novellas by
P. Djèlí Clark in the near future.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

   4 / 5 Stars

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