"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is a wonderful surprise

Published by HarperTeen, 2015
According to Wikipedia (the font of all knowledge) Nimona is a fantasy comic started by the writer/artist Noelle Stevenson when she was in school at the Maryland Institute College of Art. It began as a webcomic and has evolved into a book here. Take a look at her website Gingerhaze to read the first three chapters of Nimona. Stevenson's Nimona started out as a two-page project, evolved into a biweekly webcomic which was published for two years. In 2013 it won Slate's Web Comic of the Year prize and had a fiercely loyal following. Since her beginnings with Nimona, Stevenson's career has taken off. Tasha Robinson writes in an NPR review,
But much of the credit for her flowering career can be laid at Nimona's feet. It's a perfect storm of a series: Much like Jeff Smith's Bone, it starts in a goofy, accessible place before deepening into a morally and emotionally complicated fantasy. It goes in thrillingly unpredictable directions not hinted at in the early pages. And by the end, it's become a gripping horror story, threatening the relationships and lives of characters whose prickly distance from each other just makes their relationships seem more appealing (Robinson).
To begin the book Nimona shows up at the home of Ballister Blackheart, the supervillain, and offers her services as a side-kick. After much persuading he agrees to take her on, but she must follow his orders. Nimona basically never does. After their first mission out together he discovers a "small" detail she had neglected to tell him, she is a shapeshifter. Because of her supernatural abilities she keeps doing things to get Blackheart in trouble with Institution and with his nemesis Sir Goldenloin. Hilarity often ensues.
Nimona reveals she is a shapeshifter
As the story unfolds one is never quite sure who are the good guys and the bad. The Institution appears to be doing bad things and then tries to pin them on Blackheart. He is the supervillain, afterall. Sir Goldenloin is charged with killing Nimona but doesn't want to do it because she is a kid. But then Nimona keeps doing terrible things when she is in the form of a dragon, or lion, or dinosaur. It is obvious that the lines of good and bad are blurred. Blackheart seems to be the most steady of all characters and the most conflicted. Nimona often acts like an implusive, stubborn child, with moments of heroics thrown in.

I was completely surprised by Nimona. I expected a silly story of superheros and villains and their zany side-kick. What I got was a lot more complicated than that. In a lot of ways it was way more intense than expected, leaving me with very mixed feelings. I supposed that is a nice set up for a sequel. Perhaps we are being prepared for another transformation of Nimona.

“If you’re going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one.” (Kirkus Reviews -starred review)

In Nimona I was served up a lot more than I expected and loved what I got. Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars.


30 books Summer Reading Challenge

27 / 30 books. 90% done!


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3 comments:

  1. I put this one my order list for this year and I can't wait to read it. I love books/graphic novel that surprises me. It doesn't happen too often unfortunately. I've tried getting it from my public library but it's so popular and my hold hasn't come in yet. I also found out that she is the one that illustrated the covers for Rainbow Rowell. How cool is that?

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    1. I am not usually the first person to run out and get the latest graphic novel but this one is worth the effort at finding it. Buy it for your library. Kids will love it.

      Now that you mention it I do see Stevenson's work in Fangirl and Nimona. Cool.

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  2. I've never heard of this (don't read a lot of graphic novels) but this sounds fun. And I'd love to learn more about the artists who do cover illustrations!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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