“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…” (via Goodreads)
The Black God’s Drums is deceptively simple—rebels force a scientist to give them an extremely dangerous weapon and a pirate, a pickpocket, and a pair of powerful deities team up to stop them—but there’s a lot roiling under the surface. The plot moves quickly, perhaps too quickly for some readers who are used to having more room to explore. It’s not that Clark rushes the premise, but that he wastes no time in getting down to brass tacks. The descriptions are as dense and complex as a Louisiana swamp. Where most novellas offer a peek into a lush world through a spyglass, Clark presents a panorama in miniature.
As a protagonist, you could hardly get any better than Creeper, a precocious teen who knows what she wants and how to get it, if not what she’ll do with it once she does. Co-star Ann-Marie is fierce and fearsome, like Beyoncé’s Lemonade brought to life. Oya says little, but her presence permeates every moment. She is everywhere, breathing between the lines until the story is as much hers as it is Creeper and Ann-Marie’s…
To read the rest of my review, head over to Tor.com.
We walk down narrow streets bordered by a mix of buildings that carry pieces of New Orleans’s history: colourful two-story Creole Structures with gilded balconies, patterned Spanish arches, narrow flat-fronted redbrick American townhouses, even big stone monstrosities with ancient-looking columns and scowling gargoyles. It’s all mostly quiet now, but come tonight and tomorrow these streets will be filled with people. Some are already masked, a few in headdresses of long feathers and others in the guises of animals, crescent moons, golden suns and other things. They dance in their ones and twos, wandering about to a set of goat-faced musicians blaring trumpets and strumming banjos. I hope we’re done with this business in time for me to catch the festivities. Might be one of my last for a while. I glance up to the captain’s face to find those storm clouds haven’t cleared none.
Thanks to Tor.com Publishing for sending me a review copy.
Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or borrow it from your public library.