Melanie's Reviews > The Black God's Drums

The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arc, read-in-2018, sci-fi, fantasy, historical, own-voices


ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

“Because in New Orleans, you can’t survive on just dreams.”

The Black God's Drums is an amazing novella that stars a young girl, Jacquelin AKA: Creeper, living in an alternative historical 1884 New Orleans. Oh, and Creeper also has an African orisha, Oya, living inside her and allowing her to tap into their powers. And even though Creeper is loved in New Orleans by so many people who loved her mother before she passed away, Creeper wants more than New Orleans is willing to give her.

“She said I was Oya’s child – the goddess of storms, life, death, and rebirth, who came over with her great-grandmaman from Lafrik, and who runs strong in our blood.”

And she didn’t get the nickname Creeper for nothing. On top of being blessed by a goddess, she is also sneaky and stealthy, and it completely works to her advantage when she stumbles upon a secret weapon that could alter everyone in New Orleans’ lives forever. But Creeper is also hoping that it will be the ticket that finally gets her out of the city she’s called home forever.

This New Orleans is a free, neutral, and open port even though everything surrounding it is not. Even though this book is set after the American Civil War, we all know that slavery and oppression didn’t go away, it just became different. The same way it’s different in 2018, but it’s still here. And this book really shines a light on that ugly confederate pride that is still alive today. And there is a group called the Jeannots, who will do anything to take back their city, even if it means destroying it.

Trigger and content warnings for slavery, loss of a parent, death, murder, torture, racist comments (always challenged), and war themes.

I loved this book and P. Djèlí Clark is now forever on my auto-buy list. And in this ownvoices novella, the entire cast is black. And the characters in this book are a tier above most, and you can’t help but fall in love with them in only 100 pages! Creeper, Madame Diouf, Anna-Marie (the bi or pan airship captain of my heart, also physical disability rep because she’s missing a leg), Feral, Eunice and Agnes, I loved them all. And I want nothing more than more books from this world.

Overall, this is such a bright shining light in the SFF world. From the writing and prose, to the themes and discussions, to these amazing characters that I won’t soon forget. But my favorite part was seeing all the orishas and talking about them with one of my best friends, Lilly! She blessed me with an in-depth knowledge of all the orishas and makes me appreciate this beautiful book even more. P. Djèlí Clark has created something so beautiful, and so magical, and so important. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to fall in love with it.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with Lilly at Lair of Books & Alexis at The Sloth Reader! ❤
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Reading Progress

April 12, 2018 – Shelved
April 12, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
April 12, 2018 – Shelved as: arc
April 12, 2018 – Shelved as: read-in-2018
April 12, 2018 – Shelved as: sci-fi
April 12, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
April 12, 2018 – Shelved as: historical
April 12, 2018 – Shelved as: own-voices
July 31, 2018 – Started Reading
July 31, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by Carrie (new) - added it

Carrie It looks so pretty.


message 2: by Melanie (last edited May 11, 2018 11:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Melanie Carrie wrote: "It looks so pretty."

Right? One of the best book covers I've ever seen! Highkey masterpiece! 💗xx


message 3: by Cillian (new) - added it

Cillian That cover...that cover. I swear, I'd give it 5 stars on that cover alone.
And the concept; I mean, New Orleans and Steampunk? God possession?
AM I DREAMING?

But the cover. I could go on and on and on about the girl's face, the beautiful, glossy skin (not in an oily way; more like luminous), the hair, the picture itself, the background, the colors--is that a Zeppelin in the back?
Who cares?
I'm in love with the cover model!


Melanie Cillian wrote: "That cover...that cover. I swear, I'd give it 5 stars on that cover alone.
And the concept; I mean, New Orleans and Steampunk? God possession?
AM I DREAMING?

But the cover. I could go on and on a..."


Right, Cillian! The blessing! And this book is beautiful inside AND out! I'm writing my review right now and fangirling so hard! Happy reading, my love! I hope you love this one, too! 💗xx


Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads) I am so excited for this book and even more so now after reading this review!!


Melanie Kyra wrote: "I am so excited for this book and even more so now after reading this review!!"

I hope you love it, too, Kyra! Happy reading, love! 💖xx


Elle (ellexamines) i'm so glad you loved it, Mel <3


message 8: by KAS (new)

KAS Awesome review, Melanie!! This isn’t even my genre, but you make me want to try it ;DD 😘


message 9: by mo (new) - rated it 5 stars

mo I'm so glad you loved this! For being such a short read, it really stood out to me. And I agree, I can't wait for more people to read this and hopefully fall in love with it, too. 💜


message 10: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I had wanted to read this. Good to hear that it is that good.


Melanie Elise wrote: "i'm so glad you loved it, Mel <3"

Awh, thank you, my love! 💖xx


Melanie KAS wrote: "Awesome review, Melanie!! This isn’t even my genre, but you make me want to try it ;DD 😘"

Awh, thank you, love! I hope you love it, too! 💖xx


Melanie mo wrote: "I'm so glad you loved this! For being such a short read, it really stood out to me. And I agree, I can't wait for more people to read this and hopefully fall in love with it, too. 💜"

Yes to all of this, Mo! Ahhh! I loved it so much! I hope whatever you're currently reading is five star worthy, too! 💖xx


Melanie Laura wrote: "I had wanted to read this. Good to hear that it is that good."

Awh, this warms my heart, Laura! I hope you love this one, too! Happy reading! 💖xx


Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell Great review, Melanie! I quite enjoyed this one too. It was a breath of fresh air after CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE- especially the mythology. This was the in-depth, nuanced world-building that I craved. So glad you enjoyed it too. :)


Melanie Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ wrote: "Great review, Melanie! I quite enjoyed this one too. It was a breath of fresh air after CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE- especially the mythology. This was the in-depth, nuanced world-building that I cr..."

Awh, thank you so much, Nenia love! I truly did love this one! I hope whatever you're currently reading is five star worthy, my love! Happy reading! 💗xx


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