Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Publisher: TorDotCom

Publish Date: 13 October 2020

Page Count: 172 pages


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?

Ring Shout is probably the most expensive ebook I’ve ever bought, but having read P. Djèlí Clark’s first three novellas, I knew it would be more than worth it. And while it definitely was, the story was nothing like what I expected!

I knew it would be a retelling of the atrocities committed by the Ku Klux Klan after the American Civil War, but with added elements of urban fantasy and folklore. However, I wasn’t expecting the grotesque, Lovecraftian monsters at the heart of the story, who are fought off by a small resistance, including Maryse and her magical sword. The supernatural aspect of Ring Shout is horrifying and otherworldly, bringing to mind other urban cosmic horror stories like The Ballad of Black Tom.

This novella is written with the masterful skill that we’ve come to expect from Clark. There are moments of cinematic drama throughout, and the epic conclusion feels like the culmination of hours and hours of reading rather than mere pages.

While Ring Shout depicts a horrifying retelling of history, it is equally a celebration of African American culture, and ancestral power prevailing in the face of evil deeds. With this kind of emotional range, Ring Shout is a book that will stick with you long after you’ve put it down.

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2 thoughts on “Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

  1. Yay! It’s definitely worth the read. I found this half written review in my notes from about a year ago and decided to post it haha. But I agree – sometimes it’s to read a short and sweet review that tells you what you need to know!

    Liked by 1 person

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