Book Review: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

  Ring Shout  by P. Djèlí Clark Genre:  Horror, Sci-fi, Historical Fiction Synopsis:   IN AMERICA, DEMONS WEAR WHITE HOODS. In 1915, ...


Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

Genre: Horror, Sci-fi, Historical Fiction

IN AMERICA, DEMONS WEAR WHITE HOODS. In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan's ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die.

Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan's demons straight to Hell. But something awful's brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up. Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?

Content/Trigger Warnings: Abuse, animal cruelty/death, violence, kidnapping/abduction, death/dying, blood, gore, body horror, racism and racial slurs, torture, lynching, mentions of abandonment, sexual assault

Overall rating:  ★★★★★

HOLY GUACAMOLE! What the actual hell did I just read? Ring Shout is a complete mind-freak of a story. For a 185-page novella, this one really packs a punch. Set in 1920s Georgia, this book takes real-life horror and turns it into supernatural monsters. There's always something about when stories take the real horrors of the world and turn them into the type of supernatural horror that mimics real-life in a way that somehow seems more terrifying, especially in this scenario where the horrors of racism are very real for particular groups of people, the act of turning that terror into a monster that feels more tangible to those who don't regularly experience the fear of racist acts.

"Girl, every choice we make is a new tomorrow. Whole worlds waiting to be born."

So in this books there are the Klans (human KKK members) and the Ku Kluxes (supernatural monsters) - both are horrifying. Maryse is specifically a monster hunter with a magic sword, and has a group of her own that helps her in her fight - a sharpshooting sniper and an explosives expert. I'm particularly fond of the fact that main group of characters fighting the war against the Ku Kluxes trying to overtake the world is full of Black women. It's a special group and a special story, and I loved it so much while simultaneously finding it completely terrifying.

AND THE MOUTHS??? Good lord, the mouths. I was absolutely terrified and I'm not sure it's an image I can ever get out of my head.

This book was so incredibly written, imaginatively done, and boasts such vivid story-telling. I cannot recommend this book enough. And since I live in Georgia and I'm familiar with the Macon and the Stone Mountain area, I was even more immersed in this book.

I was absolutely reminded of Lovecraft Country and HBO's Watchmen. Jordan Peele needs to get involved with the adaptation STAT.

*I received a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.

You Might Also Like