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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Black God's Drum by P. Djèlí Clark (reviewed by Justine Bergman)


Official Author Website
Order The Black God's Drums over HERE

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: Born in New York and raised mostly in Houston, P. Djèlí Clark spent the formative years of his life in the homeland of his parents, Trinidad and Tobago. His writing has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Lightspeed, Tor.com, and print anthologies including Griots I and II, Steamfunk, Myriad Lands Volume 2, and Hidden Youth. He currently resides in a small castle in Hartford, Connecticut, with his wife and a rambunctious Boston terrier named Beres.

OFFICIAL BLURB: In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air--in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie's trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God's Drums.

But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God's Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.

FORMAT/INFO: The Black God's Drums is a 112 page standalone novella. The book is currently available in e-book, paperback, and audiobook format. It was published by Tor.com on August 21, 2018. Cover art by Chris McGrath, cover design by Christine Foltzer.

CLASSIFICATION: Steampunk Science Fiction, Historical Fantasy

ANALYSIS: I believe this is the most charming and immersive thing I've ever read and I sincerely wish it didn't have to end. I was a bit hesitant to give this a try, only due to the fact that I'm not one for "Steampunk" SFF, but my expectations have been blown out of the water.

This story takes place in an alternate post-Confederate New Orleans brimming with Old Gods and airships, yet somehow remains completely palpable as a result of Clark's magnificent worldbuilding. His usage of the various Louisianan and Caribbean dialects adds an unexpected and very welcomed layer of credibility to the tale. There were times I had to remind myself "this is a work of fiction even though it feels so real!" The plot is concise and masterfully-crafted, flowing beautifully throughout, the climax a literal whirlwind. I'm not going to lie, the last bit of the book made me very emotional as the turning point was just so powerful and beautifully done. Creeper and Captain Ann-Marie are such amazing characters and I really hope this isn't the last we see of them.

The Black God's Drums took me by surprise and I can't tell you enough how great this little novella is. If you're on the fence about reading it like I was, please heed my advice and take the plunge - you won't regret it. I'm hoping I'll get visit this universe again in the future!

2 comments:

Cindy said...

Sounds awesome!

Swiff said...

This is up for a Hugo this year. It was part of the voters packet and I’m excited to to read it before the awards.

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