Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

Title: Ring Shout.
Writer(s)P. Djèlí Clark.
Publisher: tOR.COM.
Format: dIGITAL cOPY.
Release Date: oCTOBER 13TH, 2020.
Pages: 192.
Genre(s): Fantasy, hORROR.
ASIN:  B082RRJV54.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.


We’ve heard it many times before. Monsters live under our beds. In our closets. Within sewer drains. It’s only when we’re old enough to understand the world that we see where the true monsters lie: within us. Throughout history, we’ve been able to witness the horror brought to the world by some of the cruelest and most despicable monsters, often rejoicing in their cruelty, gathering in their common hate. While they’ve committed sins that are sometimes beyond our imagination, it is always comforting to know that there is always hope hidden beneath the sheets of chaos and fear. Writer P. Djèlí Clark has a story for readers looking for that exactly. A story set in a world brimming with ghastly monsters but also a heroine set out to rid this world of these pests.

What is Ring Shout about? Set in 1922, in Macon, Georgia, the story follows a young Afro-American who goes by the name of Maryse Bourdeaux. When she’s not busy scouring the lands for her bootlegging incursions in the midst of the Prohibition era, she hunts demons alongside her trusted foul-mouthed sharpshooter Sadie and her former Harlem Hellfighter soldier specialized in bomb concoctions Chef. Since the release of the groundbreaking cinematic piece, The Birth of a Nation, the film gave a niche of individuals a target to hate and a cause to rally around, offering the Ku Klux Klan the numbers to become a versatile and powerful White supremacist hate group. However, consumed with enough hate, they turn into hellish creatures called Ku Kluxes. What’s worse is that a plot to unleash Hell of Earth lingers in the air unless a champion rises from this event.

“They like the places where we hurt. They use it against us.”

— P. Djèlí Clark

This tale is as engrossing as a novella could ever get with its impeccable alternate fantasy history. What writer P. Djèlí Clark accomplishes is a terrifyingly exquisite and immersive adventure with a first-person narration that masterfully captures a time period in all of its horror. Drawing upon the rich yet tragic history of Afro-Americans as well as their mesmerizing and magical mythology founded on their most genuine and virtuous beliefs, he infuses within his protagonist raw emotions, sardonic humour, and inspiring bravour. As if it all that wasn’t already enough, he portrays his protagonist with enviable skills as she wields her impressive magical sword and tears away at fascinating yet deadly creatures drawn straight out of hell itself. The banter between her allies also adds levity, encompassing readers in an impenetrable bubble sizzling with hope.

Within this epic tale is also a reminder of the visceral hatred that humankind is capable of and the vicious cycle that allows it to continuously feed upon, from one heart to another, to grow and pervade the minds of many. The misery and the pain that is infused into the narrative brings out an engaging and unforgettable lesson revolving around one’s moral compass and the truth in which they believe that will ultimately allow them to grow past the pain and alienation felt deep within to embrace hope. The stunning contrast between good and evil intertwined within this grand scale ideological battle is one that will also invite readers to empathize with these rebels heroes, while your blood boils with agony as you’re put at the heart of this crucible. If there’s anything that writer P. Djèlí Clark has proven himself with this story, it’s that he can write.

Ring Shout is a dark fantasy historical horror tour de force depicting a terrifying era of American history through a heroic heroine and an action-packed adventure.

Thank you to Raincoast Books for sending me a copy for review!



40 thoughts on “Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

  1. What a fantastic review Lashaan! I loved this sentence: “It’s only when we’re old enough to understand the world that we see where the true monsters lie: within us”. It’s scary, but sadly it’s definitely true as well. The premise for this book sounds amazing, terrifying and highly original. You can be sure that I’m adding this book to my to read list. Thanks for sharing this one as always! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope so too, I’ve got some cool DC things coming up in December though. They are presents for the Holiday we call Sinterklaas, on the 5th of December so I can’t yet show them to you….But…knowing your DC fandom…I think you will like those items😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Indeed one of the best novellas I’ve read this year, and I can only agree on your definition of monster as you present it at the start of your review – the monster that lives inside us and, as the story teaches, can grow when feeding on hate. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! With this kind of review I may have to seek this one out. I love when an author can pack so much into the smaller number of pages of a novella. Really enjoyed the review, Lashaan.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review and i’m so glad to see you give it such high praise and rating although I haven’t yet read it. Actually, I haven’t yet read any of Clark’s work but I SO plan to. He’s an author I’m really looking forward to reading. I think I’ll really dig his stuff. I’ve seen a couple author events and interviews with him that got me so curious about his work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful review Lashaan! I don’t read much fantasy, but you’ve definitely made me curious about this one. On balance, I believe human beings are the biggest monsters you’ll find on earth. The amount of hate, spite and destruction we manage is really quite remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I think many readers who don’t indulge too many fantasy/horror stories will appreciate this one for its unique and awesome take on history! And you perfectly worded it there. Let me assure you that this story will emphasize on just that… The amount of hate, spite, and destruction that humankind is capable of! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fantastic review Lashaan! It got me so excited to read this book, I hope it’s as good as the review that sold it to me 😂 Jokes aside, it really sounds like a very interesting yet entertaining book, so it’s going in my list straight away! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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