Rummanah Aasi
  I have read a lot of great graphic novels this year. While El Deafo has been my favorite graphic novel so far, Noelle Stevenson's Nimona is nearly perfect. Nimona was actually a very popular webcomic that Noelle Stevenson created and was later picked up by HarperCollins. I really hope we get to revisit these characters in other books because I wanted to learn more about them!

Description: 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.

Review: Nimona is a fun mash-up of a medieval setting with magic, science, and technology. Although it provides lots of humor and great action sequences, Nimona is much more complex in its exploration of assumed identities and what makes a person good or evil.
  Lord Ballister Blackheart is a notorious supervillain according to the Institute of Law Enforcement who spends his time creating nefarious schemes to overthrow the Institute and take over the kingdom. He is incredibly smart and has even created his own robotic arm after his arm was cut off by his nemesis and former best friend, Sir Ambrose Goldenloin, who also happens to be the kingdom's champion and hero. Though Lord Ballister wants to destroy the Institute, he wants it to be done nonviolently. He finds killing dishonorable and wrong, much to the chagrin of his sidekick, Nimona,
 a brash, spunky, young shapeshifter. Nimona is all for destruction, chaos, and mayhem, but she is constantly frustrated when Lord Blacheart makes her reel in her anger.
  As we get further into the story, we realize that the Institute isn't noble as it portrays and they are planning a deadly event for their own personal interests. While Lord Ballister and Nimona try to convince the common people of the hypocrisy of the Institute, Sir Ambrose because the Institute's puppet. Quickly, Sir Ambrose also realizes the Institute's real intent and is conflicted about what he should do since he is considered a hero.
  I loved the relationships throughout Nimona. Lord Ballister's and Nimona's relationship is some what of a guardian and a youth. Despite her anger management issues and her reluctance to tell about her past, Nimona becomes Lord Ballister's invaluable ally and together they form an alliance of mutual trust and dependence.  Though she understands Lord Ballister's adverse reaction to killing, Nimona is a villain and has no remorse for harming people in order to justify the means to her ends and doesn't change her behavior even when she is with Lord Ballister. Interestingly, Lord Ballister doesn't force her to change her ways, but also doesn't condone her behavior.
  Another prickly relationship is that of Lord Ballister and Sir Ambrose. It is quite clear that they cared for each other and may have even been lovers and now are turned enemies. It takes them a while to get over their feelings and built up resentment towards one another to actually move on. Though we are given a snippet of how these two knights met, I wanted more time with just the two knights together without Nimona dominating the scene.
  The graphic novel has plenty of action scenes as Nimona shifts with Hulk-like ferocity from frightful creatures such as a fire-breathing dragon to a docile cat or a timid child. Dialogue is fresh and witty with an abundance of clever lines. I found myself chuckling while reading the graphic novel. A complementary color palette of Blackheart's muddy browns contrasts with Goldenloin's fresh transparent yellow-greens, which reflect very nicely with their moods and personality. Both color schemes also highlight Nimona's intense reds. Already a National Book Award nominee, Nimona is a delightful, diverse graphic novel that has many layers and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some violence in the graphic novel but it is not too graphic. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
3 Responses
  1. I loved this one too. I think what I liked best was the subtle way the comic had substance. It's this great adventure story but you see so much quiet sadness and troubles underneath it. I enjoyed the layers.


  2. This one is definitely different and I like the blend of so many elements. I will have to look this one up.


  3. Oh this sounds perfect for some little cousins of mine. Will have to recommend it to them! Brilly review!


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