The Black God’s Drums is a novella set in alt-history steampunk-like New Orleans, which has become a neutral city after the Civil War ended with an armistice. This story follows young teen Creeper, a street orphan who, after overhearing a conversation that may upset New Orleans’ already fragile peace, decides to sell information to an airship captain from Trinidad.
This wasn’t easy for me to get into at first, because it’s written in a way that reminds you of how people spoke during that time (it’s almost as if Creeper were talking to you), and English isn’t my first language, but after I got used to it, I loved everything about this novella. The atmosphere is perfect, it makes you feel as if you’re there, and the steampunk-like elements are really interesting as well.
The Black God’s Drums is a vibrant portrait of a city in which African mythology meets nineteenth century technology, in which the tension from the war is still present.
The characters are also wonderful. Creeper is a young, resourceful black girl who has been touched by Oya, the African Orisha of storms, who speaks to her and gives her visions. I loved reading in Creeper’s PoV. The other major characters – Ann-Marie, a bisexual airship captain from Trinidad; Sister Agnès and Sister Eunice, the awesome nuns who know everything that goes on in the city; Féral, the white girl who grew up in the swamps (be careful: she bites) – are all awesome, and I’d love to read more about them too.
My rating: ★★★★¾