Cover Image: Black Panther: Spellbound

Black Panther: Spellbound

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Member Reviews

The sequel is as AMAZING as the first in this series! I love the premise of this series. This is Black Panther BEFORE he's black panther; in fact, he's in ,middle school. And middle school is scarier than anything the Avengers will ever face. 
T'Challa is back in the United States for summer break from Wakanda. He's excited to see his friends Sheila and Zeke and spend some time being a tourist in Alabama. And of course, he's ready to grub on some tasty southern food. Of course, T-Challa can't avoid the evil in the world, not even in a small town.
Things start to get weird when they visit the Iron Man (not the Ironman, but a statue called Iron Man) and a guy named Bob jumps off it: scattering pamphlets on his descent. Things fall apart when an politician name Achebe starts to brainwash citizens of the town. And of course, there's complications with possessions, hypnosis, and nightmares. Sheila, Zeke and T'Challa take on the darkness on their own without Wakanda's help and intervention. 
If you read the first one, you won't be disappointed in the sequel. If you love the mythology and lore of Wakanda, you'll love this one! If you haven't read the first one, there's a few allusions to the first one, but you won't be completely lost reading it first.
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Comic books often reinvent characters in new circumstances to tell new stories. Now Marvel is extending that same practice to the world of novels for readers of all ages, challenging preconceived ideas, and taking beloved characters down whole new paths. 

Black Panther: Spellbound picks up shortly after the events of the first book, with T’Challa on his way to Birmingham, Alabama to visit his American friends Zeke and Sheila for the summer. But what starts out as a relaxing vacation filled with fun, friends and food (seriously, don’t read this book hungry) soon takes a much more sinister twist. 

A mysterious man known only as “Bob the Acrobat” has been spotted around Birmingham, just as trouble begins to arise. People are disappearing, and T’Challa is having strange, vivid dreams. Much like during their earlier adventure in Chicago, T’Challa, Zeke and Sheila can’t help but get involved, despite King T’Chaka imploring his son to stay out of trouble while on his trip.

As with the first book in the series, author Ronald L. Smith takes his time building out the mystery that T’Challa and his friends are racing against the clock to solve. As it’s slowly revealed, it proved to be equal parts thrilling and chilling, and is sure to grip the young MCU fans looking for a new adventure with the soon-to-be Black Panther.

Though the sleuthing is aided by T’Challa’s dream-worthy Wakandan tech, that doesn’t mean the story is so fantastical as to be disconnected from reality. Once again, Smith ties the mysteries the kids are solving to the tragedies and hardships faced by the Black community in the United States. I am not by any means an authority on this, but the thoughtfulness this provokes in T’Challa has me hopeful for this Black Panther continuity. The question in the Black Panther movie of what Wakanda should or shouldn’t do for the Black diaspora was a good one, and the way this is going, Smith’s T’Challa is well-poised to reach conclusions all his own.

Unlike Gamora and Nebula: Sisters-in-Arms, however, Spellbound doesn’t appear to take place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, at least to my eye. The kids are middle school aged, and make occasional references to Iron Man and Thor as existing superheroes the world is aware of. Not to say that it’s completely devoid of the parts of the Marvel films that fans have come to enjoy. A very young Princess Shuri makes several appearances, and I can’t help but wish that she joins her big brother on his next adventure stateside.
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ARC Copy...Does have Smith's known flair for the supernatural-occult combined with the established Marvel Lore  yet narrative handles the super high-tech Wakandan elements quite well. It was interesting to young T'Challa fitting into the role of future King and seeing the early of the aspects he will exhibit as Black Panther in the future.
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My 10 year old would love this book.  It's going on his Christmas list.

T'Challa is visiting his friends Sheila and Zeke, this time in Alabama at Miss Rose's, Sheila's grandmother, home.

In the small town of Beaumont, amidst trying all the southern fried food he can, T'Challa watches the performance of an acrobat called Bob, who strikes him as strange.  Then Bob starts turning up everywhere they are.

When people start doing strange things and going missing, the trio are determined to get the bottom of it.  Which of course they do!

The friendships are great and the behaviors of the characters are mostly realistic to their peers.  I liked how T'Challa was learning about US history, particularly the Civil Rights Movement, and questioning what his country had or hadn't done to help.

Overall a great middle grade read.
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My 10 year old and I both agreed this was a wonderful story.  We both think that kids and parents and really anyone who loves Marvel, Black Panther, and T’Challa will enjoy this book.
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This book was received as an ARC from Marvel Press in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I loved this version/story of black panther. This story was absolutely enticing and adventurous and it definitely will leave you speechless when finished. At first I was a little hesitant that I would not be able to pronounce some of the names and places in Wakanda but, I was fortunate that the only unique name in the case of characters was obviously T'Challa which we later know as Black Panther. I know fans of the Marvel series will appreciate Spellbound and of course it warmed my heart and brought me to tears that this was such an ode to Chadwick Boseman. 

We will consider adding this title to our JFiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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Great book for the level and genre.  Fast paced and kept my attention, so surely would do the same for young adults.  Shows great positive friendship bonds between main characters, which is nice to see.  Would definitely recommend to be placed in a classroom or library collection.
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A wonderful exploration of a popular character — I would love to add this book to my classroom and can think of young readers who would be excited to read it.
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