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

August 30, 2018
The Black God's Drums, P. Djèlí Clark, InToriLex
Published By: Tor.Com on August 21, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (112 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Sci-fi/ Historical Fiction/ Fantasy
Series: Stand Alone (Unknown)
Source: Publisher Request
The Black God's Drums
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…


Content Warning: Sexually Explicit, Graphic Violence


There is so much rich world building and awesome characters packed into this short novella. Creeper is a orphan who is determined to become a sky pirate. She is also possessed by the African Orisha (Goddess) Oya. In this alternative history of New Orleans, the city is apart of the Union which has split from the Confederacy after the Civil War. New Orleans is a welcoming city where all are welcome and it is surrounded by walls to protect itself from storms and the Confederacy. Creeper's ability to make decisions is hindered by Oya's will, she is controlled by the Orisha's emotions but also protected by her supernatural abilities. In this action packed adventure Creeper joins forces with Captain Ann Marie to locate a scientist and encounters powerful Orisha's, voodoo and a violent gang. 
The character development flowed well with the rapid world building to create an engaging short read. There is great racial and sexuality diversity, which brings out important discussions about forms of oppression. Unfortunately slavery is still alive and well in the Confederacy where they drug slaves with a drapto vapor to keep them compliant. Creeper is a strong willed intelligent protagonist that you'll root for the whole way through. This is a genre bending novella that I hope is a series so I can learn more about the quirky characters. The characters include all knowing Nuns, French Captains, Mongolian Captains and one legged sky pirate Captain Ann Marie.
"Shadowy pictures of fields and factories filled with laboring black bodies, their faces almost all covered up in big black gas masks, breathing in that drapeto vapor. It make it so the slaves don't want to fight no more, don't want to do much of nothing. Just work"
Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy diverse sci-fi adventures
- want to read more fantasy with diverse representation
- enjoy action packed stories with strong world building and characters

I received this advanced readers copy from Tor(.)Com in exchange for an honest review. 


P. Djeli Clark, InToriLex
P. Djeli Clark is an Afro-Caribbean-American writer of speculative fiction. Raised on genres of fantasy, sci fi, horror and the supernatural, I felt a need for more diverse tales with more diverse characters drawn from more diverse sources. To that end, I put pen to pad and fingers to keyboard, seeking to Imagine, Dream and Create new realms to explore. Gathered here are my thoughts and glimpses into some of these worlds my writing reflects.

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