ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.
“Because in New Orleans, you can’t survive on just dreams.”
The Black God’s Drums is an amazing novella that stars a young girl, Jacquelin AKA: Creeper, living in an alternative historical 1884 New Orleans. Oh, and Creeper also has an African orisha, Oya, living inside her and allowing her to tap into their powers. And even though Creeper is loved in New Orleans by so many people who loved her mother before she passed away, Creeper wants more than New Orleans is willing to give her.
“She said I was Oya’s child – the goddess of storms, life, death, and rebirth, who came over with her great-grandmaman from Lafrik, and who runs strong in our blood.”
And she didn’t get the nickname Creeper for nothing. On top of being blessed by a goddess, she is also sneaky and stealthy, and it completely works to her advantage when she stumbles upon a secret weapon that could alter everyone in New Orleans’ lives forever. But Creeper is also hoping that it will be the ticket that finally gets her out of the city she’s called home forever.
This New Orleans is a free, neutral, and open port even though everything surrounding it is not. Even though this book is set after the American Civil War, we all know that slavery and oppression didn’t go away, it just became different. The same way it’s different in 2018, but it’s still here. And this book really shines a light on that ugly confederate pride that is still alive today. And there is a group called the Jeannots, who will do anything to take back their city, even if it means destroying it.
Trigger and content warnings for slavery, loss of a parent, death, murder, torture, racist comments (always challenged), and war themes.
I loved this book and P. Djèlí Clark is now forever on my auto-buy list. And in this ownvoices novella, the entire cast is black. And the characters in this book are a tier above most, and you can’t help but fall in love with them in only 100 pages! Creeper, Madame Diouf, Anna-Marie (the bi or pan airship captain of my heart, also physical disability rep because she’s missing a leg), Feral, Eunice and Agnes, I loved them all. And I want nothing more than more books from this world.
Overall, this is such a bright shining light in the SFF world. From the writing and prose, to the themes and discussions, to these amazing characters that I won’t soon forget. But my favorite part was seeing all the orishas and talking about them with one of my best friends, Lilly! She blessed me with an in-depth knowledge of all the orishas and makes me appreciate this beautiful book even more. P. Djèlí Clark has created something so beautiful, and so magical, and so important. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to fall in love with it.
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.