Brown Girl in the Ring is set in the future in metropolitan Toronto. The rich and privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways—farming, barter, and herb lore. But now the moneyed need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother. She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.
Themes of feminism and racialized women, and the use of magic, “Obeah,” or seer women are prevalent throughout this novel. Nalo Hopkinson presents strong female characters who take control of their fate to make change in the world. Her novel is a work of feminist science fiction and shows a realistic perception of the struggles women face as single parents, as well as the struggles women with different cultural beliefs face in society.