Book Review: Nimona

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson


I'm so glad I picked this up at the library and finally got around to it. This was one of the best graphic novels I've read this year, and possibly ever. It was so fun, fleshed out, and unique. The book is a classic hero vs. villain story, with a lot of very original twists. First, the story's protagonists are the "villains" rather than the hero, who actually plays a secondary role. It also doesn't shy away from the unexpected, and includes plenty of death and destruction. That being said, it's funny and lighthearted as well.

This graphic novel opens on a notorious villain named Ballister Blackheart, who has a visitor named Nimona, a young spunky woman who adamantly wants to be his sidekick. She's a shapeshifter, which he decides will be beneficial to have around. Plus, after a while she grows on him and they become both partners and friends. The banter between the two of them is SO funny. It had me chuckling and laughing out loud very often. There's a page somewhere in the second half with a comment about churros that I still laugh about when it comes to mind.

Together, Nimona and Ballister devise a plan to get back at the Institution, an organization that claims to be peaceful, but has some nefarious secret motives. Throughout the story, they transition from villain to hero, and back again, as plenty of drama and action follows them wherever they go.

The art is simple, but it's also colorful and lovely. Stevenson does a great job of depicting action through her drawings, and the chance to visually see all of Nimona's transformations is a very effective use of the graphic novel format.

One of my favorite things about this novel was that it actually had depth and character development. A problem I encounter in a lot of graphic novels is that they're entirely surface level, with very little deeper meaning or character evolution. This book completely abandoned that normal format, and managed to surprise me often with its depth and risk-taking. The second half of this book goes in an entirely unexpected direction, which was a far cry from some of the more predictable graphic novels I've read in the past. I was thoroughly impressed by the characters and their individual development throughout the book.

All in all, this was an excellent addition to the graphic novel genre, and deserves a place among the best. Highly recommended.

Cover: 3.5/5
Shapeshifting: 5/5
Humor: 4.5/5

Pages: 272

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