I thought it was common knowledge that the Ku Klux Klan was monstrous, but this novel takes it to another level.
Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark is a dark fantasy historical novella set in the 1920s. Ever since the release of The Birth of a Nation in 1915, monsters from an unknown realm started infecting our world. The film contained a powerful spell, turning those who watched it into those nightmares hiding behind human disguises. Feeding off the hatred of white people and spreading violence across the country.
Maryse Boudreaux is part of a dedicated secret group dedicated to exterminating these demons. However, recent events suggest that there is more at play here than they first thought. Maryse herself might be the key to saving the world or destroying it.
Maryse is such a fascinating lead. She is a total badass yet is still traumatised by a certain event in her past. Her banter between her two friends, Chef and Sadie was hilarious and at some points heartbreaking. Not to mention her sword, which comes with a pretty nasty side effect but also three wise women to guide her along her journey.
I love how Clark included folklore into the novella. Growing up in Scotland, I hadn’t heard of these stories before, so getting to learn about ring shouts and some of the real-world horrors committed, such as the Tulsa race massacre, was both fascinating and disturbing.
Speaking of disturbing, those Lovecrafrican monsters got worse the further into the novella you get. They start off bad enough but the Night Doctors and the final monster freaked me out so much that I may or may not have had a nightmare or two. The descriptions are so graphic yet you can’t stop reading. Body horror that would make David Cronenberg shiver.
Ring Shout is so bloody good! A must-read for any and all horror lovers.
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