Published by HarperTeen on May 12th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy
The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it "a deadpan epic."
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
The hype for Nimona started long before it was published as a book. Several of my friends were already raving about it as it was gradually being posted online. That plus Noelle’s STUNNING drawing style made this a graphic novel I definitely could not resist. And I can say with certainty that I feel it deserves the hype.
Nimona is made up of everything I love: fantasy, dragons, magic, comedy, anti-heroes, and a morally complicated storyline. It’s all about Nimona, a shapeshifter. She’s fun and bubbly and has a penchant for trouble, which is why she joins up with the country’s leading supervillain. Blackheart is skeptical about her at first, but soon becomes charmed by her quirky personality. Together they take on Sir Goldenloin and the Institution.
Noelle’s art is STUNNING, which makes this graphic novel an absolute feast for the eyes. But the creative and engaging story make it fuel for the soul. I love that it’s so complex. Blackheart is the “supervillain” but he has a code of ethics that he seems to follow that keeps people out of harm’s way. Nimona’s much more reckless, so Blackheart balances her out very well. Meanwhile, the “good guys” – Goldenloin and the Institution – show that you should never blindly trust authority. Be vigilant, and when you know something’s not right, speak out and expose the truth.
The story is basically just as gripping as a regular novel, so if you’re a newbie to graphic novels, this is a great gateway title. The only thing that I was still missing at certain moments was a little more depth and back story. I mean, Blackheart and Goldenloin obviously have something going on, but it’s never named explicitly. That made me kind of sad. And I do want some more information about this world and how Nimona wound up here. I mean, the story’s so short that there would definitely have been room for some of this. But maybe that’s just me expecting too much depth from a graphic novel.
Honestly, I loved this book from start to finish. I loved seeing Nimona and Blackheart become friends. I loved seeing their nefarious plotting. I loved Nimona’s wit and humor. I loved uncovering the truth about the Institution. I had quite some feelings about plot twists that made me realize just how attached I was to these characters in such a short amount of time. And yet.
The thing about massively hyped books is that it can be immensely hard to live up to the buzz. So while I definitely enjoyed Nimona for everything it was, it seems like something was missing from my experience compared to everyone else. Friends had raved about being in tears and having their hearts torn to pieces, and, well, I didn’t feel it quite on that level. But it was still a great read.