Released: June 18th 2015
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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. (from Goodreads)
I loved Nimona. It was amazing. Noelle Stevenson is the artist who did the cover illustration of Fangirl (as well as all the bonus illustrations, depending on which copy you have) so that’s what first drew me to this graphic novel, but honestly, I enjoyed it so much more than I expected.
First of all, I really liked the art. Loved how bright all the colours were, loved the character designs and just the…I don’t know, the sort of unique style. And somehow, the characters were so suited to it, I honestly couldn’t imagine them drawn any other way. Definitely no complaints there, and I think I’ll be picking up whatever Noelle Stevenson does next (I already have Lumberjanes, which she has co-authored).
The characters were just brilliant. Absolutely fantastic. I grew to love them all so much. Nimona was definitely my favourite though; she was hilarious and I loved how her first solution to anything was always something like “let’s destroy it all”. It always seemed funny to me that she wanted to rush right in there without planning anything or considering consequences - not the kind of thing you think would be humorous, but it was. Plus Nimona was just so likeable, despite her strange tendencies and love for charging in. I couldn’t help but root for her, and Ballister clearly felt the same, otherwise he wouldn’t have kept her around as a sidekick for so long (though her awesome shapeshifting ability definitely was a bonus for him). You could tell he really did start to care about her after a while (I mean, it was impossible not to in my opinion) and that he didn’t want anything bad to happen to her as a result of being his sidekick. I loved learning about Nimona’s backstory too, and honestly, I just wish there were more. I want a sequel. Or a prequel. Or anything!
Ballister was another great character. I could definitely feel for him; he was betrayed by Ambrosius, the person he thought he was closest to, and as a result, lost his arm. That’s not the sort of thing you ever really get over. But even though he was a villain, he had morals, and didn’t like killing for no reason. He also knew a lot about science and could tell when things seemed shady or not like they should be. His status as the arch-nemesis of Ambrosius was complex. It was heavily hinted that they used to be in a relationship before the betrayal, and you could tell that whenever they met, neither of them really wanted to kill each other. Ambrosius actually did grow on me throughout the book, and I really enjoyed seeing the dynamic between the two. Ambrosius didn’t really like Nimona and thought she was dangerous, which was another source of conflict between him and Ballister, but deep down, it was obvious they cared about each other. I loved how this was explored throughout, and honestly, I could read another story just about these two. And then another one just about Nimona. And then another one where they all feature together - okay, you know what, I’m going off on a tangent.
Plot-wise - erm wow. I did not expect that ending. I was happy just with all the regular adventures of Nimona and Ballister, but the twist the plot took in the end was not something I expected. I loved unravelling the whole thing and finding out what was really happening - though once again, I will state that I wish we had more. I do think things ended at a really good place, but I just loved the characters so much!
Overall, Nimona was absolutely fantastic, please please pick it up.