Ring ShoutRing Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star




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

i liked this more than i didn’t, with its strong female characters, its Lovecraft Country vibes, and that cover is DIVINE, but OOFA, it’s a lot, and i know full well this is a dick thing to say, but honestly, this book shoulda been either longer or shorter.

hear me out!

i think i would have found it easier to take in if it had been either a short story, with some darlings killed judiciously, or a full-on novel where the oh-so-many elements crowded into its slim form would have had more room to breathe. because this puppy is crammed to the rafters with history, mythology, and monsters.

“The enemy has more minions than we know.” oh, man, you’re telling me! in a mere 181 pages, this history/horror mashup has ku kluxes (which are different from klansmen; an additional monstrosity), butcher clyde, the aunties, the night doctors, the grand cyclops, the Chosen One and her magical sword, includes tulsa, darwin, br’er rabbit, and birth of a nation, not to mention all the mouths and tentacles and creepy meat. it’s a lot to digest (heh).

the characters are great—i adored the three monster-fighting women: chef and sadie and maryse boudreaux, wielder of the magical sword. they are fierce and vibrant and funny, all bicker and banter in between monster-slaying.

and there’s some excellent writing—i have trouble with action sequences, especially when tentacles are involved, so those parts were never going to wow me, but i could at least follow them, which for me is something. but everything concerned with power and pain and being haunted by personal and historical past; about rage and justice and the weaponization of hate—it was tremendous and powerful, and it eventually lands on a message of dignity and strength which is optimistic, despite everything in this book’s world, and our own.

but i’m the kind of reader that, once you start slipping into multiple permeable realms, once you start introducing one supernatural foe or ally after another, it starts to get a little murky for me and i need more than 181 pages to take it all in.

maybe this will be like binti or the kai ashanti williams novellas and tor will publish a whole series of them and i’ll be better able to get a handle on all the moving parts, because i liked it, i just felt a bit overwhelmed.

read my book reviews on goodreads

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