Monday, March 8, 2021

Book Review: ‘Shuri: The Vanished’ by Nic Stone Is an Enthralling Tale From Start to Finish

Princess Shuri of Wakanda is back in a new story from New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone. In Shuri: The Vanished (the follow-up to Shuri: A Black Panther Novel), Shuri faces a curious mystery, taking place a few months following the events of the first book. Now that the heart-shaped herb is thriving once more, Shuri can focus her attention on her training. Soon, though, Shuri hears about extraordinary and talented young girls going missing — girls similar to Shuri. With the help of her best friend (and another familiar face), Shuri sets out to find the girls, determined to ensure they aren’t forgotten.

Stone wastes no time jumping into the story, using her prologue to establish the effect the missing girls will have on Shuri. This also informs a burden Shuri experiences, continuing the solid characterization Stone created in book 1. Readers get a deeper glimpse into Shuri’s mindset; despite being a brilliant young woman and princess, she longs to prove herself, tired of being seen as a naive child. Stone creates a dynamic protagonist, one who sits well inside existing canon but also earns the chance to thrive in her own unique right.

Along with Shuri, Stone introduces a compelling cast of supporting characters. Foremost is Shuri’s best friend and Dora Milaje-in-training K’Marah. Their dynamic shifts slightly from book 1, and it’s interesting to see how the girls are both incredibly similar and different from each other. It’s also evident that the two only have the other’s best interest at heart, even when their actions suggest otherwise. Readers will meet Stone’s rendition of Riri Williams (aka Ironheart), who offers her help to Shuri in an unexpected way. The two girls are excellent complements for each other, despite hardly knowing one another. Characters such as Shuri’s brother and mother — T’Challa and the Queen, respectively — return, along with the Dora Milaje Nakia and Okoye. Stone also brings in several new characters that each provide their own contributions to the story that help keep it fresh and intriguing.

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The story in general is written and told well. Stone drops in references to the first book that help provide context without overwhelming book 2’s story. She provides a more in-depth look at Shuri’s study and training regimen, building on what was previously established in book 1. Stone continues to examine the role of women in Wakanda, however this time around, she places a greater emphasis on women’s importance, especially through new characters she introduces. Where the first book focused more closely on Shuri, The Vanished broadens that viewpoint, creating a delightful girl power story. Each major aspect of the book also lends to its overall intensity and suspense, whether it’s waiting to learn how Shuri does on her assessments or whether she, K’Marah, and Riri solve the mystery of the missing girls.

Stone crafts an enticing mystery in Shuri: The Vanished. It is an enthralling tale guaranteed to keep readers hooked from the first page to the last word. Like its predecessor, The Vanished is wonderful love letter to every brilliant young Black girl, science and tech-minded or not. The story swells with Black girl magic. The Vanished will not only delight readers in its target age range, but Marvel and Black Panther fans of all ages will enjoy this continuation in Shuri’s story. Readers will want to stick with Shuri until the very end.

“Who run the world? Girls.”

Grab your copy of Shuri: The Vanished now online or in stores.

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Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds. She joined the team in 2019 but has always enjoyed talking about her favorite fandoms. Some her faves include Christian Bale, Bob's Burgers, Hannibal, Mr. Robot, Dexter, The Office, and Love, Victor. When she isn't writing or working, you can find her reading, watching her favorite shows and movies, and building her repertoire of Dad jokes.

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