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