THE BLACK GOD’S DRUMS – P. DJÈLÍ CLARK

Title: The Black God’s Drums || Author: P. Djèlí Clark || Audiobook Narrator: Channie Waites|| Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Science Fiction, Novella, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Alternate History || Publisher: Tor.com|| Year of publication: 2018 || No. of pages: 110|| Available at Amazon.com , Bookdepository and Bol.com


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—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: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations…synopsis from Goodreads

To those who survived the crossing, and who carried their Black gods with them.

Why Should you pick up this book and/ or the audiobook?

First of all, there is not one but two bad ass black females that might or might not save the day in this novella (trying to keep things spoiler free here). While this was enough for me, I can imagine that you might need to know that Orishas make an appearance and that there are Nuns, who behave more like Obeah women instead of women who know all about the Holy Bible, before you pick this one up.

We accompany 13 year old Angelique, better known as Creeper and Ann-Marie, captain of airship the Midnight Robber on their pursuit for the Black God’s Drums and consequently their effort to safe New Orleans from disaster. They hardly know each other and make quite an odd pair but are a delight to read about. The colorful people who provide help to these chosen ones turn out to be very intriguing but unfortunately we hardly get to spend quality time with them. I guess this is the sacrafice that one has to make when an adventure has to be wrapped up within 110 pages.

As soon as the audiobook became available on Scribd, choosing my next read was a no brainer. The audio was an entertaining or better yet a valuable addition to my reading experience. It kept me from tripping over Creole and Haitian phrases. Don’t get me wrong, these phrases unequivocally add credibility to the characters in this alternate version of New Orleans. The problem is that when you’re unfamiliar with these phrases and/or the way they are pronounced the story might end up falling flat. This was definitely not the case for me.

What are the weak points?

There is only one …. the book is way to short to give a truly satisfying look into this captivating alternate universe P. Djèlí Clarke has created. When a story has so much promise it doesn’t matter to the reader that there is in fact a pretty decent end. When you have to leave a world while you’re yearning for more, goodbye always comes to soon.

What is so remarkable about this book?

The very descriptive tour of a New Orleans you can almost touch, the bad ass but very stuborn female protaganists that you can’t help but root for, the company these women keep from the colorful friends to the Orishas they call upon. Damn even the main villain is spellbinding (in an almost literal sense).

So in hindsight perhaps less was indeed more? Ultimately you can’t help but wonder about the characters that you didn’t get to know as intimately as you would’ve liked or about the fighting sequences that were so engaging it always felt like they wrapped up way to quickly. Upon further examination you’ll find that the aforementioned is not necessarily true, cause the reader is provided with precisely enough information to make sense of the story. The main reason one might be left slightly unsatisfied, even after most questions have been answered, is that by the end there is still a lot left to explore.

So either this novella gets a sequel or this universe needs to emerge in one of P. Djèlí Clark’s future novels …. whatever the choice … I need more!!

Verdict = ☆☆☆☆

While I am very pleased with this reading experience and the way this story wrapped up. In this novella a universe is created that simply demands further exploration. I am covinced that by now P Djèlí Clark and Tor.com got the memo (cause after reading many goodreads reviews it turns out l am not the only reader that wants more) and I suspect it’s just a matter of time before we get a sequel or prequel or anything that has airships in it. 😉


☆ = bad | ☆☆ = okay-ish | ☆☆☆ = fun | ☆☆☆☆ = amazing | ☆☆☆☆☆ = exceptional

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