Author: Noelle Stevenson
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Synopsis: 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.
I picked this up on a whim as a congratulatory present for myself when I finished my last final exam and passed both classes with A-, needless to say a round in Books A Million was just what the doctor ordered. I wanted something I could read that same day so I knew it was either a poetry collection or a graphic novel. I have read Noelle Stevenson before, the Lumberjanes is her series which I have enjoyed in the past but I liked this more.
Nimona is the story of a young shapeshifter girl (she’s, I would say about 12, the max 13) that shows up at the door of Lord Blackheart to be his new apprentice. We get excellent back stories to both Nimona and Blackheart and despite him not wanting her at the beginning they develop a great friend shifting on father/daughter or older brother/sister relationship. Blackheart still can’t ever forgive his old lover Sir Goldenloin for blowing off his arm in a jostle (I mean I wouldn’t either). He lives with all this bitterness at having no choice but becoming a villain despite most of the time Blackheart wanting to do things the right way. Nimona is impulsive and thrives on real evil which makes a nice pair.
This is a sort of dystopian fantasy setting with TONS of science yet in a medieval society which I thought was unique and refreshing. Overall, I enjoyed it very much. I read it in one sitting despite being over 200 pages. I think despite this being a young adult, it works very well for adults and it’s a good jumping off point to graphic novels because it’s a stand-alone.
I loved that there was subtle LGBTQ themes, I loved that the main female character was very confident and sassy but above all I enjoyed the relationship between Nimona and Blackheart, it was wonderful.