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The Black God's Drums Kindle Edition
Winner of the 2019 Alex Award
Nebula Award Finalist for Best Novella
"Clark masterfully rewrites history in this spellbinding post-Civil War fantasy.... This story is thrillingly original and will enthrall fans of alternate histories." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review "This delightful novella is a breath of fresh air, and promises good things for P. Djèlí Clark's career - though I should note that he already has no mean streak in shorter fiction.... Renegade scientists, feral girls, nuns whose knowledge is this side of disturbing: Djèlí Clark creates a setting that feels vivid and alive, and populates it with interesting, complicated characters - even if we only really meet Creeper and Ann-Marie up close. The Black God's Drums is, in short, a delight. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'll definitely be looking up P. Djèlí Clark's other work." --Locus magazine "International intrigue involving the Confederacy, strange science, and hoodoo magic!" --David D. Levine, author of the Andre Norton Award winning-novel Arabella of Mars "Whether you're new to orisha magic or seasoned in the lore, Clark's retro-afrofuturistic tale will keep you engrossed in a world of airships, New Orleans, alternative history, and renegade scientists. The language and setting is so authentic you'll taste the gumbo." --Tade Thompson, author of The Murders of Molly Southbourne and the Nommo Awards-winning Rosewater "A mesmerizing, sprawling alternate history brimming with authenticity and voice. You'll be bitterly disappointed when it's over. Clark's novella will leave you ravenous for more." --Justina Ireland, author of Dread Nation
"This mashup of history and culture has been perfectly distilled into a world fully realized and authentic. AU-THEN-TIC. Down to the sounds and tastes. Clark is a griot of the first order and The Black God's Drums is a call from the ancestors, an invitation to join in with them to celebrate story." -- Maurice Broaddus, author of Buffalo Soldier and the Knights of Breton Court trilogy "P. Djeli Clark's novella sunk its teeth into me from the first page, with a narrative voice that perfectly captures the spirit of The Crescent City. It chilled me to the bone, warmed my heart, and had me laughing out loud--sometimes all at once." -Robyn Bennis, author of the Signal Airship series "The Black God's Drums is a must read for fans of fantasy and alternate histories alike . . . Clark has proven time and again that he's a talent to watch, and this latest offering cements him as one of the best new fantasy authors around." --Troy L. Wiggins, executive editor of FIYAH Magazine "A superb and elegant blend of alternate history, top-shelf worldbuilding, magic, and steampunk adventure with a unique voice to tie it all together. I can't wait for more tales in this setting!" -- Michael F. Haspil, author of Graveyard Shift "The Black God's Drums is a fast paced tale of wit, wiles, and wisdom." -- Curtis Craddock, author of An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B0791JV58Z
- Publisher : Tordotcom (21 August 2018)
- Language : English
- File size : 914 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 114 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 119,296 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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I could easily have spent a whole novella just learning about the politics of this world! Within this alternate New Orleans, the author explores the North and South and how the war ended (or did it?), the abolition of slavery, continued human trafficking, white supremacy, French colonialism in the Caribbean, and more.
And physically speaking, I would've been happy to spend an entire novella just traipsing around this version of New Orleans. The looming city walls, the airships and smuggler crews, the uncomfortable but cordial peace between rival groups, the impending Mardi Gras, and the kickass nuns? I love it all!
I don’t know much about the orisha, but I really liked the role Oya and Oshun played in the story. I’ve read many a story with an omnipresent god, but there was something about Oya and Oshun’s omnipresence here that was unique.
And I really enjoyed how the author blended the orisha with technology, creating tech that ties back to the god Shango. I wish the author had explained the tech behind it further, however they deliberately and artistically avoid doing so owing to the protagonist’s lack of education and comprehension.
Admittedly the writing style is difficult to get used to, owing to how it’s narrated in the protagonist’s accent and slang. It's not impossible but it took me a little while and some conscious effort to get there.
Writing style aside, the reason this was knocked down to 4 stars is that the climax breezed by too quickly. I loved the storyline and how it blends tech with the gods, but I’m pretty sure Oya herself would be pissed at how quickly it all blew over (pun very much intended). I wish we’d had an extra 20-50 pages to further flesh out the evil scheme and the major conflict scene!
Top reviews from other countries
I really enjoyed this. The world building of an alternative New Orleans in 1884, complete with skyships, magic and gods, is really deep and enriching. Even more so as the story is narrated through Creeper, complete with a slang dialect that makes the whole world really lived in and immerses you into the centre of the story.
It's a quick read (at only 128 pages), even still, the story introduces some really interesting characters that you fall in love with straight away. There's Creeper aka Jacqueline, Ann-Marie St Augustine - the one legged airship captain and her cohorts, a couple of questionable nuns, a feral orphan that is under the nun's care, and Madame Diouf of the Shá Rouj bordello in Madamesville. Really great characters that, although we're only with them briefly, draw you into the story and make you want to stay after you turn the last page.
Its an unusual, magical and delightful story that is fast paced and doesn't let up once it grips you from the start. I hope we get to revisit this wonderful world and people again. Recommended.
@HBO please spend a few million making this into an award-winning piece of television.
"The Black God's Drums" is a novella of only 112 pages yet in terms of world-building, character-building and plot twists, it stands up against novel two or three times its length.
Djèli Clark pulls off a first-person narrative that delivers a clear view of a complex alternative history and sustains a level of tension and excitement. The dialogue is perfect, especially the use of dialect, which brightens the storytelling and deepens the characters.
This a sparkling little novella is set in an original and uplifting alternative history in which, in the late nineteenth century, New Orleans and Haiti are independent nation-states and the Civil War has a different ending.
The story involves a wicked plot that could bring great destruction, a swashbuckling Haitian airship captain who is strong on technology but refuses to give ground to the old African Gods who call to her, innovative steampunk-ish science that has a dash of magic in it, two black nuns who seem closer to voodoo than Christianity, fanatical soldiers with a scary leader and, at the centre of it all, an engaging, fourteen-years-old goddess-possessed black street child who calls herself Creeper.
Creeper made the book for me. We see the world through her eyes and she is full of fire. At one point, Creeper manages to rescue a key character in the plot. They have never met before and the person being rescued expresses surprise it's just Creeper affecting the rescue.
“Wi. It is just . . . you?”
Creeper's response tells you a lot about he:
"I scowl up at her. I happen to think I’m plenty."
One of the things that I liked about this story was that all the good guys are women or girls, all but one of them is black and all of them kickass in their own ways.
I'm now a P. Djèli Clark fan. I've bought another of his novella, "A Dead Djinn in Cairo" and I'm hoping that he will go on to write some full-length novels.
I was reminded at times of William Gibson's orisha in the Neuromancer trilogy and George RR Martin's Fevre Dream, but this book was completely it's own wonderful thing. Highly recommended.
When she unwittingly uncovers a plot to release a weapon of Orisha magic over New Orleans she enlists the help of Captain Ann-Marie - and Oya’s sister-wife Oshun. Between them they work to save the city and fight for their freedom.
I will be honest and say I struggled with the length of this novel. It felt too short to fit into the ordinary category of YA, lacking some depth to the characters and their experiences with their respective goddesses , and also their full back stories. Although it felt too short, I loved the concept and feel like it’s worth your time - especially if you’re looking for a speedy read.