• The Good: Diverse steampunk fantasy adventure with strong world-building
  • The Bad: Limited character development
  • The Literary: Skilled multi-character dialect and accented dialogue

Creeper, a scrappy young teen, survives on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Oya, an African Orisha with a will a her own, who speaks to her and grants her god-like powers. When the smuggler airship Midnight Robber arrives in the port, Creeper develops a plan to earn the one-legged captain’s trust and get a place on the ship, but she has solve a mystery about a kidnapped scientist and the work he called The Black God’s Drums.

I love being a part of such fun layered world, in a diverse and dirty New Orleans, with a tenacious orphaned street urchin as my guide. Set in a post-confederate alternate history 1884, New Orleans is fighting maintain its neutral politics in a world where the South achieved a truce with the North. Add in steampunk airships, a traditional Haitian god of the wind, and songs about Andrew Jackson, and you’ve got a very fun and unique world.

The dialect-heavy dialogue works surprisingly well once you settle into it, which is a rare feat. The other characters are well-drawn for such a quick read, and the stubbornness of Creeper and the airship captain together make a great unlikely duo. But it’s the two scientist nuns with a taste for weapons who really pop off the page.

Highly recommended for readers who want to read more fantasy with diverse representation!