Welcome back to the bookclub! In August, we read Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark for The You’ll Read Too Bookclub! If you wish to access all of the latest updates/information, click here. Spoilers ahead!
Quick Reminder: This month we are reading ‘The Smashed Man of Dread End’ by J.W. Ocker .
Today I’m going to discuss the book in the same way I normally do the IGTV videos. You can find the IGTV video for this talk and others on my bookclub Instagram page. I’ll give a quick plot summary plus my overall star/scare-factor ratings. Then I will share the discussion topics and trivia questions. Please include all of your answers and opinions down below. I want to know exactly what you thought. I’ll also leave the answers to the trivia questions at the very bottom of the post, so if you wish to guess without being spoiled, do not scroll to the end until you’re ready. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
RING SHOUT by P. DJELI CLARK – AUGUST 2021
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 nightmares made flesh – 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.
OVERALL STAR RATING
I gave this an overall star rating of 3.5/5. In my opinion, the second half was much better than the first. I think the language and format of the novella confused me in the beginning. It took a while for me to realise what was happening and where the story was heading. Once I caught on, it was very enjoyable, action-packed and adventurous but I had to dock a couple of stars for how it started.
OVERALL SCARE-FACTOR RATING
I gave this a scare-factor rating of 3.5/5 as well. The subject matter is terrifying because it is so closely linked to reality. The monsters were also so well thought out and creative. I could picture them in perfect detail, which was unnerving. One of my book club members said the audio book was creepy; especially the Butcher’s voice. Blending real-life history and fantasy is a spooky combination.
*There are only 3 discussion topics instead of 5 because the book was so short.
1.) Discuss the impact this book might have for people of colour.
As a white person, I don’t want to presume to know what this novella would mean for people of colour, but I would guess that it is very empowering. Being able to enter a fantastical world where monsters named Ku Kluxes are slain by strong, black women could be seen as cathartic and a way to reclaim power. In this story, the author is able to eradicate hate and discrimination on his own terms. It made me quite emotional to think about.
2.) Which monster stood out the most to you in the novella and why?
My favourite monster was the centipede. In fact, that was the scariest scene in the book for me. I love how Maryse had to stay perfectly still, lest she get its attention. It made me think of the movie adaptation, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, where the beasts are so terrifying and creative. I have a phobia of insects so this particular creature had an unsettling affect on me.
3.) Did you think this story worked as a novella? Did you want more?
I believe it worked as a novella, however I did want more. The ending certainly left things open for a future sequel. I want to read more from Maryse, her crew and magic sword. P. Djeli Clark has created such a rich, dark world that needs further exploration. I am very curious to see what he releases next.
Easy: What is Michael George’s nickname?
Medium: What does Nana Jean call Ku Kluxes?
Hard: When was the Second Klan born?
I hope you enjoyed the book club discussion in this post and on Instagram. As mentioned above, share all of your thoughts in the comments below! If you have any feedback/suggestions to improve the bookclub, please let me know. I look forward to talking to you all next month! Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo
TRIVIA ANSWERS: Easy: Frenchy. Medium: Buckrah Devils. Hard: November 25th 1915.