Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: dark fantasy historical novella
Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns with Ring Shout, a dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror.
D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth.
Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls “Ku Kluxes.” She’s damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face otherworldly nightmares—and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it. - Author Website
Ring Shout grabbed me from the start! I almost didn't know how to write a review. It is a powerful novella packed with wisdom and cleverly crafted narrative. Badass Black women warriors are at the center of it all and I love it. The notations "from the Gulluh" were fascinating and perfectly placed throughout the book. I also love that Clark tied this story to some real events: the Klan rallies on Stone Mountain and the possible allusion to the 1924 rally in Foster, Rhode Island.
The way Clark describes the "monsters" and what creates them is so artful! One of the biggest morals I think Clark shares is that hatred is self-serving. It does not bring peace, or any real freedom because it envelopes you with that feeling until it becomes a mentality and, essentially, who you are. It’s a powerful message that all should learn.
In my opinion, Ring Shout is a great and insightful book that would fit right into literature, history, and philosophy courses for high school and college. I’m buying and reading all of Clark’s books now!