Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published By: HarperTeen
Date Published: May 12, 2015
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Nimona is an unconventional book, so this is an unconventional review. You have been warned.
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. (via Goodreads)
I’M A SHARK!
I have no clue how I stumbled upon this treasure, but I’m so very glad I did. Nimona is a fast-paced and beautifully drawn graphic novel that I recommend to anyone looking for a fun, quick read. This former web comic starts off with Nimona (duh!) claiming to be a our big baddie’s new sidekick sent over by the Agency… which is a bald-faced lie. She’s an aggressive shapeshifter with all of the potential to be
a dangerous overlord if left to her own devices.
The characters were kind of fucking perfect, and you have no choice but to love them. Nimona is filled with wit and unapologetic cunning that just endears you to her even when you know she’s dangerous af. Lord Ballister is a grumpy “old man” villain who is a not-so-secret softy. And Goldenloin. God, he’s everything you would expect of a golden child… on the outside. You can tell Stevenson really took the time out to carefully craft each one, not only visually but personality-wise. There’s also something complex hidden beneath the surface of the main trio, and I’m so mad this apparently is a standalone because… I NEED MORE, DAMN YOU.
Also, shout out to the speculative passages of Lord Ballister Blackheart and Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin (I love his name so much) being a couple in the past and possibly in the present. Hey, that ship sailed itself. I was a mere passenger.
Was that considered a spoiler…?
Let’s talk about the setting, shall we? The setting was so perfectly unconventional that you either loved it or you hated it. What do I mean by that? This story takes place in a time that combines past, present, and future concepts into one. So, there are knights and heroes and villains. There are jousting tournaments and kings (apparently). Likewise, there is pizza delivery and computers and TVs and high tech science shizz and banks to be robbed. But like… you already suspend belief for the shapeshifting main character, so you might as well just roll with the punches, right?
After I blew through this, I sat on my bed with the biggest grin on my face because I had just been taken on a wild ride; and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. To be honest, I WANTED to give this a solid 5 (I know, I know, I said I would never) because I literally could not put it down… but there was just too much open-endedness to do so.
Some plot devices just got… lost? For example, IN THE VERY BEGINNING, Ballister goes over his big plan to kidnap the king, demand a ransom, and explode some stuff. Basic level villain shit, right? Wrong. The king doesn’t show up in the rest of the book, and I’m starting to think someone forgot he was supposed to exist.
All the big things were explained away in a super vague manner or just not completely revealed… like you have to deduce a (likely wrong) meaning for yourself, and I don’t like doing that. Example (it’s in white because it’s a for sure spoiler): After Nimona is kidnapped by the Law Enforcement sector and it’s sort of hinted to that she’s been around a while with this dangerous power, there was meant to be some sort of reveal. In fact, there’s even this moment where Nimona is about to tell us who she really is (completely with a noteworthy evil change in her appearance) then… nothing. Absolutely nothing. Was she lying about her past life? Was she actually switched (you know, like fae are often switched with human children)? There’s clearly something more behind Nimona. The book is named after her, for Christ’s sake; so it’s safe to assume that I expected to be left with something.
Basically what it all boils down to is that I’m lacking some closure here. Therefore, I will withhold the coveted 5-Creature Rating. Now, if this is all an elaborate setup for a larger series, I might have to change my tune. Until then, though… 4 Creatures for you, Nimona. Congrats on being truly amazing! Everyone should definitely check this one out. You know… if fun is your thing ;)