“Ring Shout” by P. Djèlí Clark BOOK REVIEW

Ring Shout

Publication Date: October, 13th 2020

Publisher: Tordotcom

ISBN: 9781250767028

Genre: Horror

Strong Point: The explanation of what it originally was a “Ring Shout” and different episodes of the story of voodoo. Very interesting. 

Weak Point: The mixture of gore, horror, vampires, etc. to tell a story about Ku Klux Klan.

Books on Tour Rating: Books on Tour LogoBooks on Tour Logo(3/5)

Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.05/5)

Read book blurb here


I really had high hopes for this book so when I saw it as part of the challenge #50states50horrorbooks for the state of Georgia I decided to read it. I had only read good reviews so I was happy to start it.

However, I felt very disappointed when I finished it as it was not what I was expecting at all. Let’s get to it.


“Ring Shout” starts with the story of three girls, Maryse, Sadie and Chef (Cordy) who are hunting and killing Ku Klux Klan members. It takes place in Georgia during the 1920s.

However, when three members of the above-mentioned Klan appear in an alley, the three friends realize these are not human beings but more like animals or monsters called Ku Kluxes. 

With the help of a friend called Molly Hogan, they make autopsies of the three bodies. They learn that the corpses are evolving very fast. Into what? We do not know for sure. 

From then on, the story is getting more and more confusing. It becomes a mixture of gore, vampires, voodoo, etc. 

Some parts of the narration were interesting and easy to follow, others, unfortunately were quite obscure and I got easily lost.    


The title of the book “Ring Shout” refers to a type of rite which comes from slavery times. Slaves would “Shout” in secret in the woods when they had some free time on Sundays. It is similar to a voodoo rite. This is, of course, an over simplification. You can look for more information online, as it is a quite interesting topic. 

This part of the story is fascinating, as Slavery literature was for me the most interesting part of my University studies (and terrifying, of course). I have read many slavery narrations and read many books about it, so when “Ring Shout” touched this topic I flew through the pages. 

The fact that this book has African Americans as protagonists is a plus, that is true. However, as I said, the story did not completely captivate me. 


That the Ku Klux Klan is one of the many abominations found in the world cannot be denied by anyone. And the fact that it is still very much active and operating just blows my mind. 

That people can do tremendous acts of violence to others just because of the color of their skin is just horrible.

However, I simply do not understand that to show all this, it has to be mixed in such a weird way as it is done in “Ring Shout”. 

As I have said before, I love that the three main characters are women and African Americans, but the story is very twisted and it doesn’t make any sense at all.

It feels for me as if the author had just taken the Ku Klux Klan as an excuse for writing a horror story which doesn’t have anything to do with the Klan at all. 

Anyway, I do not recommend this book as I did not enjoy reading it. I think it has good ideas but the execution is just not good for me.