Ring Shout — P. Djèlí Clark

February 25, 2022

TITLE: Ring Shout
AUTHOR: P. Djèlí Clark
GENRE: Horror/dark fantasy/alternative historical fiction
PAGES: 176pg
PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Press

In America, demons wear white hoods.

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?

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“What I have is beautiful music inspired by struggle and fierce love. What he got ain’t nothing but hateful noise. Not a hint of soul to it.”

I’ve been meaning to check out P. Djèlí Clark’s writing for far too long, and I’m so happy that I finally did, because Ring Shout absolutely blew me away and Clark is a new auto-read author for me, 100%. This novella was incredible! It’s packed tight with action, intensity, history, and it all revolves around a trio of badass monster-hunting Black women that I immediately loved upon meeting. It isn’t often that I read a book that leaves me feeling genuinely privileged to have experienced it, but Ring Shout is one of those special few.

I truly don’t know where to begin with how highly I recommend this book. I loved the characters, the narrative voice, the fantastical elements, and the entire general premise of Ring Shout. Not only was it such a tremendously enjoyable story, but there was the added element of having learned a few things about Black history that I didn’t know before. (I’ve learned since reading the novella that the author is also a historian, so that checks out!)

“Girl, every choice we make is a new tomorrow. Whole worlds waiting to be born.”

I also have to shout out the audiobook narrator, Channie Waites, for going above and beyond. Even when I wanted to read the book visually, I ended up putting my headphones in and listening while I read along with the ebook because the narration added so much extra jazz to the story! (I think this was the first time I’d ever done that, if that tells you what a raving compliment that is from me, someone who doesn’t listen to audiobooks particularly often in the first place.)

Seriously, if you haven’t picked up Ring Shout yet, do yourself and favor and fix that. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here adding all of Clark’s other works to my TBR! (Oh, and sincerely hoping that we get another novella in this world, because I was not ready to say goodbye.)

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!

content warnings →

racism, violence, death, body horror, systemic racism, family death/grief, medical trauma

representation →

almost all characters are Black; Chef is queer


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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.


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