Book Review: Ring Shout by P. Djéli Clark

Book Review: Ring Shout by P. Djéli Clark

I recently stumbled upon “Ring Shout” by P. Djèlí Clark during a visit to the library, and let me tell you, I’m thrilled that I did. Clark, a decorated author who has claimed prestigious awards such as the Nebula, Locus, and Alex Awards, delves into the realm of horror with this dark fantasy historical novella that ingeniously infuses a supernatural twist into the notorious reign of the Ku Klux Klan.

Transporting us back to the 1920s, Clark introduces us to a courageous group of Black resistance fighters determined to take down a sect of demonic Ku Klux Klan members. Seriously, they’re some kind of spirit monsters.

The “Ku Kluxes” are hell-bent on summoning a malevolent being to further their despicable agenda, and Maryse Boudreaux, blade-wielding monster hunter, stands in their way.

Sale
Ring Shout
  • Hardcover Book
  • Clark, P. Djèlí (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages – 10/13/2020 (Publication Date) – Tordotcom (Publisher)

“Ring Shout” captivates from the very beginning, offering an intense and gripping narrative that vividly depicts the horrors of racism and violence in the early 20th century. Clark’s mastery lies in his seamless blending of horror, fantasy, and history, resulting in a truly unique reading experience that leaves a lasting impression.

One of the novel’s standout aspects is the character of Maryse Boudreaux, a formidable monster hunter armed with a lethal blade. Through Maryse, Clark delves into profound themes of resistance, resilience, and the unwavering power of community in the face of oppression. As readers, we witness the strength and determination required to combat injustice, reminding us of the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America. “Ring Shout” serves as both a timely and indispensable work of fiction, shedding light on these crucial issues.

In conclusion, P. Djèlí Clark’s “Ring Shout” is a mesmerizing gem that combines historical events with supernatural elements, crafting an unforgettable tale of bravery and resilience. This novella is a must-read for anyone seeking an enthralling exploration of racial justice, expertly woven into a tapestry of horror and fantasy.


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Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson – Summary & Quotes

Ah, friends. It is time that I gave you my impressions on my first book of 2023. This is one I’ve been both excited to get and hesitant to read. Why? Back in March 2022, Brandon Sanderson revealed he’d written five extra books in his spare time during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He released four of them on Kickstarter, leading to the biggest Kickstarter in history ($42 million worth of awesome).

While there were some sneak peaks from Sanderson in the months leading up to the release of the projects, I stayed away from them. I didn’t even want to see the cover design.

So, without much to go on, I waited patiently for January 1, 2023, when the ebook of the first secret project would be available to Kickstarter backers. I got up that morning and dove right in.

And, oh my, was it worth the wait.

"She felt less like a mere human being, and more like a human who was merely being." (Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea)

Book Details

Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Cosmere

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic fantasy

Pages: 483 pages (Kindle)

Published: 1st January 2023 by Dragonsteel Books (Kickstarter) & 10th January 2023 by Tor Books (US Ebook)/Gollancz (UK Ebook)

What It’s About 

Tress, a young girl, goes on an epic adventure to rescue her love. Along the way, she changes. For the better. Also, sandals with socks. We sail seas that aren’t really seas and meet tons of people who aren’t who they say they are. Heck, there’s even a dragon.

At the heart of it all, the book is the answer to this question: “What would happen if the princess had to save the prince?”

How I Discovered It

This is the first “secret project” Brandon Sanderson announced in early 2022. The entire “secret project” process has been a treat to watch. From the initial hook of learning Sanderson had written books in secret to seeing the project updates and the community that surrounds these novels has been a blast.

Thoughts

I honestly wasn’t sure about this book before I began reading it. With no clue what to expect, I dove in with an open mind. Moreso than almost any other Sanderson novel, I didn’t want to put it down.

What I Liked About It

The characters, as always. The story is told from Hoid’s perspective (if you don’t know who Hoid is, this one probably isn’t for you) which is refreshing and brilliant. The humor is perfect. Tress is a compelling female lead with a great development arc and so many of the other characters have great arcs, as well.

What I Didn’t Like About It 

Only that I finished it so quickly. I would note that if you haven’t read many of the other Cosmere novels, you may miss out on a number of easter eggs and connections to the other worlds, characters, and storylines.

Who Would Like It?

Fans of Sanderson’s Cosmere books will likely be very happy with this book and the connections made within the story. If you haven’t read the books, I don’t know that you will enjoy the book as much. It’s certainly a good story and can stand on its own, but the Cosmere connections make it something special.

Quotes

(Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea)

“If you wish to become a storyteller, here is a hint: sell your labor, but not your mind.”

Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea
"One of the great tragedies of life is knowing how many people in the world are made to soar, paint, sing, or steer—except they never get the chance to find out." (Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea)

“One of the great tragedies of life is knowing how many people in the world are made to soar, paint, sing, or steer—except they never get the chance to find out.”

Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea
"Whenever one does discover a moment of joy, beauty enters the world. Human beings, we can’t create energy; we can only harness it. We can’t create matter; we can only shape it. We can’t even create life; we can only nurture it. But we can create light. This is one of the ways. The effervescence of purpose discovered." (Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea)

“Whenever one does discover a moment of joy, beauty enters the world. Human beings, we can’t create energy; we can only harness it. We can’t create matter; we can only shape it. We can’t even create life; we can only nurture it. But we can create light. This is one of the ways. The effervescence of purpose discovered.”

Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea
"Even small actions have consequences. And while we can often choose our actions, we rarely get to choose our consequences." (Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea)

“Even small actions have consequences. And while we can often choose our actions, we rarely get to choose our consequences.”

Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea
"Questions like these burdened her. Worry has weight, and is an infinitely renewable resource. One might say worries are the only things you can make heavier simply by thinking about them." (Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea)

“Questions like these burdened her. Worry has weight, and is an infinitely renewable resource. One might say worries are the only things you can make heavier simply by thinking about them.”

Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea
"Heroism is often the seemingly spontaneous result of a lifetime of preparation." (Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea)

“Heroism is often the seemingly spontaneous result of a lifetime of preparation.”

Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea
"Consistently, across cultures, eras, and ideologies, war heroes report the same simple motivation. They did it for their friends." (Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea)

“Consistently, across cultures, eras, and ideologies, war heroes report the same simple motivation. They did it for their friends.”

Brandon Sanderson, Tress of the Emerald Sea

Related Books

Books I Read in October 2022

Yes, I’m aware it’s mid-November as I post this. It’s been a busy month 😉

Here are the books I read, re-read, listened to, or re-read in October 2022:

The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales (Signet Classics)
  • Edgar Allan Poe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages – 09/23/2023 (Publication Date) – Signet (Publisher)
Boarding Party: Green Zone War, Book 0
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Jake Elwood (Author) – Johnathan McClain (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/19/2021 (Publication Date) – Podium Audio (Publisher)
Frankenstein: The 1818 Text (Penguin Classics)
  • Shelley, Mary (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages – 01/16/2018 (Publication Date) – Penguin Classics (Publisher)
THE CALL OF CTHULHU
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lovecraft, H.P. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages – 11/05/2019 (Publication Date) – Design Studio Press (Publisher)
The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 113 Pages – 07/09/2022 (Publication Date) – Independently published (Publisher)
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Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
  • Hardcover Book
  • Kurson, Robert (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 375 Pages – 06/29/2004 (Publication Date) – Random House (Publisher)
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Dracula: Collector’s Special Edition (Deluxe Illustrated Classics)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Stoker, Bram (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages – 11/23/2021 (Publication Date) – Union Square & Co. (Publisher)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Irving, Washington (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages – 02/21/2016 (Publication Date) – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
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The Wise Mans Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Book 2
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Penguin (Publisher)
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Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages – 02/15/2000 (Publication Date) – Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Publisher)
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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking [Hardcover]
  • Susan Cain
  • Hardcover Book
  • Cain, Susan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Robots and Roommates: Star Kingdom, Book 0
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Lindsay Buroker (Author) – Fred Berman (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/19/2021 (Publication Date) – Podium Audio (Publisher)

Overall, it was a very spooky month as I revisited some of my horror favorites. Hopefully, you had the chance to knock a few items from your TBR.

I Have a Book Problem and I’m Not Afraid to Admit It

Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash

OK, this is a total brain dump post as I just need to get some thoughts down. My mind is racing with ideas and I just need to write. But I’m going to share this with you because… reasons…

I love reading. However, I’ve not always been the most dedicated reader. Far too often I have relied on moving pictures in one form or another to keep me entertained and/or intellectually engaged. I love movies and tv shows. I love documentaries.

But I really love the worlds I can transport to within the pages of a book. Fiction, non-fiction, I don’t care.

As I said, I haven’t always been the best reader. It was far easier to just sit on my computer, watch the TV, or stare at my smartphone.

Then, about two years ago, I committed to reading more. I felt that I had missed so many opportunities to read great books that I couldn’t waste any more time. After all, I’m 45 as I’m writing this and, statistically, I’m about halfway done with my time on this pale blue dot.

So I started reading more. Consequently, I started buying more books.

Like, a ton of books. Seriously. I just had six show up at my house today.

And not just little books. Big books. BIG f’n books.

Here’s the list that showed up today (all Amazon links):

Last month, I ordered ten physical books (most in the fantasy genre) and 10-12 ebooks (I have a Kindle Unlimited account, too).

Yes, I have a problem. I’m trying to play catch up for years of not really reading books. And I’ll never reach my goal.

My Goodreads “to be read” list is almost 1,500 books long. And growing.

Why do I have a problem? Because I have become insatiably curious and full of fanciful dreams. I didn’t explore my passions for too long because I was concerned about what other people thought about me.

I’ll write that off as having spent my time in a fundamentalist, controlling, right-wing, bible-thumping church from the ages of 11 to 25. Oh, well.

Now, I’m running after learning about the things that excite me. And enjoying the things I love.

So I have a book problem. Do you?