Review: The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

Published by: Macmillan – Tor/Forge
ISBN: 1250294711
ISBN 13: 9781250294715
Published: August 2018
Pages: 110
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Lists: Favourites and Recommended

The Black God’s Drums is a novella by P. Djèlí Clark, and 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. Separate to that, there is now steampunk technology and it’s on an airship that our main character, Creeper, wants to escape on and leave New Orleans far, far behind.

Born during a violent storm, Creeper has divine powers curtesy 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. Such as sending her warning signs or shoving attackers away by force, and in return Creeper is able to be stealthy and move silently, which enables her pickpocket lifestyle as well as being able to hear dangerous things, and eventually, come into close contact with a very dangerous weapon.

Way back when, I tried to be a writer. And I was obsessed with sky pirates (and by extension, their vehicles) – so this was a special kind of high for me. The airship captain is especially a favourite, and I would love a series of her life and loves (please and thank you), as well as a heck of a lot more of this world and the rest of its characters – Creeper goes without saying, and I second my friend Alex’s review mention of the nuns.

This is a powerful and elegantly written novella at only just 100 pages. You have a full world and history in your head, beautifully orchestrated characters, and while this is a satisfying read plot-wise it’s simply too good to leave it there – you’ll need and want more.

Let’s hope we get it.