Graphic Novel Review: ‘Nimona’ by Noelle Stevenson
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Nimona hasn’t really helped my resolve. It’s genuinely funny in a dry, sarcastic way (the best way) and the story is fun without being too frothy and I really enjoyed it. There are dragons and some appropriately fantastical-sounding science. There’s also magic, a powerful organisation with dubious motives and plenty of disguises. I’m sorry, but really – what’s not to like? There’s a quote from Rainbow Rowell on the front cover that describes it as “full of humour and heart” and I’ll be damned if she isn’t spot on. I picked it up wanting something to distract me from the lingering effect of The Collector and I don’t think I could have picked a better diversion.
For a relatively short book that has plenty of action, there’s a surprising amount of character development. Nimona is a kick-ass shapeshifter full of bravado and snippy comebacks but she’s also vulnerable, with a dark side that’s more fond of villainy even than the kingdom’s most wanted villain, Lord Blackheart. Lord Blackheart, meanwhile, fights against the established power (the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics) and is lauded as a villain but is obviously conflicted. Plenty of the other characters are equally well fleshed out. It could have been just another bad guy v. good guy story and the wit would have carried it but it was smarter and more subtle than that.
And since this was a graphic novel, let’s talk about the art. I was a big fan. It’s vibrant and colourful but without feeling flippant. The panels darken and the colours deepen as the story does, creating a sinister atmosphere that sets off the writing perfectly. I may not know much about graphic novels but I do know that this was one I “got” and really liked.
Date finished: 16 January 2016
Pictured Edition Published: in May 2015 by HarperTeen