SFF

Ring Shout

Tor.com. Oct. 2020. 190p. ISBN 9780819566508. $19.99. HORROR
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Maryse and her team of highly trained, female killers are on a stakeout at a Klan rally in Macon, GA. However, they are not there to kill humans; rather, they are after Ku Kluxes, evil spirits who cross into our world through showings of the film The Birth of a Nation, shrouding themselves in the Klan’s regalia and drawing on the evil power of racism. During the fight, the Ku Kluxes change into their true, horrific form, but Maryse, with the help of her ancestors, channeled through her magical sword, and her friends, reduce the haints to a bloody pile of parts. After that breathless opening, readers are immediately invested in the high-stakes horror, as Clark (The Haunting of Tram Car 015) carefully reveals the intricate and intriguing details of this world, introducing the major players while still keeping the action, dark humor, and terror at the forefront. This is a story of Black female power, drawn from both the old and new worlds, a tale that honors the Black American experience in all its complexity, and yet also delivers in its Lovercraftian delight. Readers will gasp at the visceral horrors, both real and otherworldly, cringe at the destruction and carnage, and ultimately cheer for Maryse to keep fighting for herself and her people, wherever the Ku Kluxes’ evil surfaces next.
VERDICT Not only the perfect choice for fans of Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country or Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, but also of other dual-threat fun and thought-provoking speculative fiction such as Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth or Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation.

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