In Nic Stone’s Shuri: Symbiosis, the third installment of her Shuri trilogy, Wakanda faces another threat: a mysterious intruder who attempts (and succeeds) to break into the royal palace, disappearing just as quickly. As Shuri begins to search for the intruder — an other-worldly symbiote — she faces a discovery more shocking than she imagined.
One of the recurring motifs through the series is how Shuri feels as though no one takes her seriously. Despite being the princess (and a brilliant-minded one at that), people primarily view her as a child. With each book, Stone provides Shuri the chance to prove herself. Shuri: Symbiosis is no different. Readers continue to gain a sense of the exclusion Shuri feels within her own family. I think it works particularly well with this installment, as now, Shuri’s safety is directly threatened in a way that literally hits home. While readers and the other characters know Shuri’s capabilities, they’re put to the test a bit more this time around. She learns to adapt to a unique situation with clever, out-of-the-box ideas. Through Shuri, Stone continues to utilize fresh techniques to keep Shuri and readers on their toes.
Story-wise, Stone deftly guides readers into the action. Readers are privy to some information before Shuri, but they’re still able to unravel the mystery right alongside her. I enjoyed the way Stone set-up the symbiote’s main reveal. Rather than an “alright, here you go” sort of approach, she teases readers with tidbits that keep them hooked in the action. Not only that, Stone also garners a certain amount of sympathy for the symbiote and its quest. Readers will (obviously) root for Shuri, but they will also find themselves intrigued by her adversary.
Throughout Shuri: Symbiosis, Stone continues to exemplify her ability to capture Shuri’s voice and make it her own. She maintains the integrity of returning characters, as well as introducing familiar ones from other Marvel source material. Stone balances the urgency of Shuri’s mission with moments of levity. Like Symbiosis’ predecessors, young readers will appreciate this new journey. It’s full of thrilling suspense and adventure that offer a valuable and welcome addition to the Marvel universe.