I’m going to sound old fashioned here, but so be it—Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country was a humdinger of a novel. Ruff somehow combined the very real dangers a family faces in Jim Crow America with H.P. Lovecraft’s patented cosmic horror, and a secret cabal of powerful magicians, and crafted a novel that hurtled like a runaway freight train from beginning to end without ever careening off the track. The fact that Ruff did all that while also acknowledging, and slyly tweaking, the well-known fact the Lovecraft was an unrepentant racist just makes it that much more fun.
With The Destroyer of Worlds—a Return to Lovecraft Country, Ruff dives head first back into the singular world he’s created, and it’s even more gonzo, more chaotic, and if anything even faster moving. Atticus, Montrose, George, Horace, Hippolyta, Letitia, and Ruby are back, criss crossing the country from the swamps of North Carolina to the desert of Nevada, and other worlds as well, in a whirlwind of action. The danger they are all in is, if anything, even greater, as Caleb Braithwhite is back, thirsting for revenge.
As with Lovecraft Country, the dangers come from all corners—wicked magicians, otherworldly creatures, ghosts, and sadly, the altogether true perils of Jim Crow era racism. Evil is evil, no matter what reality it comes from.
The Destroyer of Worlds—a Return to Lovecraft Country is more fun than a barrel of old-world tentacled gods, but make no mistake—Ruff drops the reader into the deep end without a life preserver. If you haven’t read Lovecraft Country, please read that first before tackling the new novel. Otherwise, you may find yourself occasionally confused.
The Destroyer of Worlds—a Return to Lovecraft Country is an audacious, thrilling, and pulpy (in the best way) novel that manages to attack and dissect many uncomfortable truths from our not-so-long-ago past. Give it a read. Not only will you love it, but doing so would piss old Herbert Phillips off.