Shuri by Nic Stone

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pages: 272

Series: Shuri: A Black Panther Novel, Book 1

Genres: Middle Grade; Fantasy; Science Fiction; Young Adult; Adventure

Publication date: December 7, 2021

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An original, upper-middle-grade series starring the break-out character from the Black Panther comics and films: T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri! Crafted by New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone.

Shuri is a skilled martial artist, a genius, and a master of science and technology. But, she’s also a teenager. And a princess. This story follows Shuri as she sets out on a quest to save her homeland of Wakanda. For centuries, the Chieftain of Wakanda (the Black Panther) has gained his powers through the juices of the Heart-Shaped Herb. Much like Vibranium, the Heart-Shaped Herb is essential to the survival and prosperity of Wakanda. But something is wrong. The plants are dying. No matter what the people of Wakanda do, they can’t save them. And their supply is running short. It’s up to Shuri to travel from Wakanda in order to discover what is killing the Herb, and how she can save it, in the first volume of this all-new, original adventure.

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The queen mother sighs. “Fine,” she says, and everyone seems to pull forward in their cushy seats as if that single word is a magnet.

“I won’t say much because it is not my place to speak for the king. But T’Challa has seen and done much during his relatively brief tenure as the ruler and protector of Wakanda, and I believe that, after making our borders as secure as possible, he intends to make our nation’s existence a bit less… secret.”

Chapter Two

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I enjoyed my time in this world. I was excited when I stumbled across this read because I really enjoyed the Black Panther movie. Shuri was right away a character that I wanted to learn more about, so stumbling across this book was a work of fate. Sure I might have grown up as more of a DC girl, but even I can admit the MCU did wonders for reaching a broader audience and introducing characters to the world.

Looking at this story in itself, I really like what Stone did in expanding the reader’s understanding of Wakanda. As someone who hasn’t read the comic books – or even interacted with Marvel much more than by watching the MCU movies – Stone did a magnificent job at making Wakanda come to life. Her descriptions made it possible to bring Shuri’s lab into my mind’s eye, to feel like I was with her as she ran her tests and worked her “magic”. (Not real magic here – science. I note the difference here because there is real magic in the world.) And then Stone did a great job at expending the world outside of Wakanda when Shuri needed to venture outside her cozy little world to help save her kingdom.

While T’Challa being the Black Panther is a gripping main character to follow, I really enjoyed getting to see the “behind the scenes”, so to speak, of his kingdom. It’s clear that he cares for his little sister, but it’s equally clear that he – along with the rest of the world – underestimates her abilities. They may not mean to, but there’s a whole heck of a lot this girl can do when she puts her mind to it.

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If I have one complaint about this story, it would be that the third person narration style makes it harder for me to jump in and out of this story. And even that’s not a real complaint. I’m sure if you’re the kind of person who reads 1 story at a time, this is a perfectly reasonable flow for the story. If you’re like me and juggle an average of 5 books at a time, it can be a little hard to get pulled back into this world.

Overall, I’d certainly recommend this story to anyone looking for a story about a teenage girl coming into her own. If you’re interested in the unexplained and the spectacular, Shuri’s genius and her ability to make sense of the world around her is inspiring.

Don’t knock the story for being considered “Middle Grade” or “Young Adult” in genre. This simply ties into the age of the main character of the story. In no way does this negate the severity of the stakes or undermines the brilliance of the characters.

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