Book Reviews · Books

Graphic Novel Review: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Publication Date: May 12th, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre(s): Graphic Novel, YA, Fantasy

Series Status: Stand alone

Pages: 266

Format and Source: Paperback, Bought

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis from 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.


The first thing you will probably notice when reading this graphic novel is that it’s bloody hilarious! Nimona is such an outgoing character, so her ability to shape shift into any living being is obviously very well used. And by that I mean she does really weird and funny things that make you laugh so loudly you scare your cat. Not that I ever did that.

Another thing I really enjoyed was how utterly imperfect the characters are. Lord Blackheart is a genius and actually quite a nice guy, but he has a complicated past and he can definitely hold a grudge. Obviously Nimona, being this amazingly powerful being she is, she has major faults. Meaning she is a murderous, blood thirsty creature with an incredibly dangerous past. While these imperfections should make it hard to like these characters, they make them seem more real and relatable – not that I can relate to a murder or anything…

Speaking of dangerous pasts, the back stories for each character were very well thought out and I loved each of them, and I particularly liked how Nimona’s was revealed. It was a learning process, meaning the revelation of who she really is happened towards the end of the book. This added a lot of suspense and guessing. I kept going back to earlier pages in hope that there was some clue I had missed that hinted at her past.

The setting and art added an interesting spin to the story. The art itself is quite childlike and almost mediocre, but the setting makes it work. It is set in a strange medieval-like era where there is electricity and science and knights. With that you would expect incredibly detailed, realistic art, but this more simplistic style really works. It gave a modern twist to the story, and it also depicted action scenes really well. Also there’s no spandex-clad heroes and villains, which I really liked.

I will admit I sometimes did have a problem reading the writing itself as the style made it a tad bit difficult to read. But my main problem is that this is a stand alone and there isn’t a bloody sequel! I want more!

Overall this was a complete delight to read. If you like complex and well-written characters, complete hilarity, an adorable gay couple (who I think are my new OTP), a bit of drama, and a whole lot of action, then I suggest you read this – especially if you want to get into reading graphic novels.

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