Ring Shout Review
by P. Djèlí Clark
In a fight against interdimensional beings, the oppressed form a resistance against a monster invasion. Will their homebrew folk magic be enough to overcome temptation?
Ring Shout is a novella with an alternate history timeline. In this world, the Ku Klux Klan are cultsits who have been possesed by alien predators. The story features a heroine who prevails against them.
The story features a mostly female cast which I thought was interesting. There are some disturbing scenes of torture.
In terms of linguistic merits, the character Nana Jane speaks in phonetically spelled-out Gullah, which is a foreign language in and of itself despite having many English loanwords. I skimmed over most of her dialogue since I couldn’t understand it.
The novella does feel a bit overstuffed with research, and some of the narration felt on the nose. Because it’s written in 1st person, when the protagonist mentions cultural practices, it comes off expository instead of naturally. Normally, people never put subconscious assumptions into words unless a foreigner comes along and asks about it, or challenges them. But, I cannot completely fault Clark for honoring a real life culture.
Otherwise, if you want a romp in an alternate reality, with some good old time bending and evil spirits, try Ring Shout.
Word Count: 40613
Average Readability (US Grade Level): 5.38
Percent dialogue: 19.67%