Rating: 4.5 / 5
I picked up a copy of RING SHOUT by P. Djèlí Clark when my friend friend Des @theboozy.reader gave it a raving review! When I was struggling to come up with an “ugly” cover on my TBR, I decided to manipulate the reading prompt a bit and go for a cover with something ugly on it. The hood on this cover certainly symbolizes the ugliness of racism!
RING SHOUT is a combination of historical fiction and fantasy. It re-imagines a world where film director D. W. Griffith was actually a dark sorcerer. He used his film The Birth of a Nation to encourage the hatred in the hearts of the members of the Ku Klux Klan to encourage them into even greater darkness, turning some into real monsters known as Ku Kluxes. Maryse is our protagonist, a young woman in possession of a magic sword and a mission to take on the Ku Kluxes.
This book was as amazing as promised! It is far from an easy read. In addition to the ugliness of the KKK, there is a lot of violence and both human and animal death. It took me a bit to settle into the story, but once I got into it I was fully hooked!
I loved the way the author tied real history into this story. It did send me off on a Google journey looking into the history behind the novel. Griffith is often honored as being a ground breaking in the world of cinema, but his The Birth of a Nation has been described as a love letter to white supremacy, portraying the KKK as heroes. This makes for the perfect backdrop for Clark’s story as he portrays the hidden ugliness of men’s hearts in a more visual way through RING SHOUT.
This is definitely a book with trigger warnings, but it is one well worth picking up! For such a short book at a little under 200 pages, it packs a very big punch!