I eagerly awaited a second book, The Destroyer of Worlds :A Return to Lovecraft Country, even though HBO nixed the show after a single season.
The second book follows up on the action in the first. The Freeman family are still working on their guide for black travelers and running afoul of a variety of supernatural entities. The beauty of both "Lovecraft" books is that they are told from the perspective of black characters and are uncompromising in the excoriation of the systematic oppression of black people. Ron DeSantis would not like these books. He'd probably ban them from Florida Barnes & Nobles if he could.
Is this book as good as the first? No. It isn't. There seems something abbreviated about it. I wanted MORE to this story. There are two threads of the story that seem, if not unfinished, then abridged. I am making an effort to not summarize so I will leave it at that. It is, however, a huge compliment from me to say "I wanted another 100 pages of this."
Ultimately the book does weave the various threads into a satisfying ending and it is, like its predecessor, a book that is hard to put down but there is a little bit of a "sophomore slump" here.
These books make more use of H.P. Lovecraft's name than his universe(s). There are, of course, references to the creatures and background created by the writer. His various "universes' ' were creative, horrific and unique but he was also an inveterate racist. His depiction of anyone with skin slightly darker than Wonder Bread is, uniformly, derogatory and demeaning. He was also an anti-semite (yes, I am aware he married a Jewish woman).
The problem with Lovecraft is that his short stories are often great. No one, not even Poe, was as good at creating a sense of dread. He changed how horror was written. Most of his stories did not deal with issues of race even though his racism is on view for all to see in many, if not most, stories (Herbert West: Reanimator, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Rats in the Walls etc etc etc). Some publications sanitize the racist bits and you are unlikely to see his writing that is actually dedicated TO the issue of race re-printed ANYWHERE these days. An example of his poetry is specifically dealt with in the first Lovecraft Country book. His correspondence is where you can find more than "hints" of his racism but good luck finding most of that sort of correspondence with a cursory browser query.
So what to do with Lovecraft? Do we ignore the racism? Do we take it for what it is and acknowledge both the creativity and the racism? I have a hard time with what to do, frankly.
Ruff figured out a way to confront and acknowledge Lovecraft. Take his worlds and his views and make strong, intelligent, black characters the protagonist in a world loosely based on Lovecraft's. I look forward to more books in this series.