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Nimona Paperback – May 12, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 200 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—This celebrated webcomic, a mash-up of medieval culture with modern science and technology, is now available in print. Lord Ballister Blackheart, a knight, has assumed the role of a supervillain in order to expose the nefarious schemes of the kingdom's front organization, The Institute of Law Enforcement. The kingdom's champion is Lord Blackheart's nemesis and former best friend, Sir Ambrose Goldenloin. Blackheart's prickly relationship with Goldenloin further explores the limits of their friendship. Enter the title character, a brash young shapeshifter who doggedly follows Ballister until he agrees to take her on as a sidekick. Nimona's skills as a shapeshifter up the ante in the ongoing rivalry between Ambrose and Ballister. Despite her anger management issues, the teen becomes Ballister's invaluable ally and together they form an alliance of mutual trust and dependence. Action scenes dominate 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. A complementary color palette of Blackheart's muddy browns contrasts with Goldenloin's fresh transparent yellow-greens. Both color schemes highlight Nimona's intense reds. Readers will note subtle visual differences in webcomic images. The print edition includes an exclusive epilogue not available online. At its core, Nimona is a story of rescue. Each of the main characters rescue allies, friendships, the Kingdom, and ultimately, themselves. VERDICT A vibrant solo work from "Lumberjanes" (Boom!) cocreator.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“Noelle Stevenson has a knack for capturing the humor and heart in a situation in just a few panels.” (Rainbow Rowell, New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor and Park)

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

“Sharp visuals, a nifty amalgam of fantasy and science fiction elements, and relationships drawn with complexity, wit, and depth create a world worth returning to again and again.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“At its core, Nimona is a story of rescue. Each of the main characters rescue allies, friendships, the Kingdom, and ultimately, themselves… A vibrant solo work.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“[Stevenson’s] voice is clear and precise, her drawings confident, her use of color growing in depth and assurance as the story progresses.” (New York Times)

“Nimona…is beautifully flawed and refreshingly unstereotypical in a book that is both darkly witty and surprisingly touching. And Nimona is a protagonist to both love and fear.” (The Horn Book)

“Over the course of the collected Nimona, it’s possible to watch artist Noelle Stevenson blossom from a student to a superstar.” (NPR.org)

“Nimona, with all her flaws, breaks away completely from what women are allowed to be in popular fiction.” (Vanity Fair)

“Graphic novel fans will finish the book in a gallop and then want to start right back at the first page.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))

“Awesome and adorable.” (Ryan North, author of Dinosaur Comics)

“Funny and vibrant, with wonderful energy in Stevenson’s illustrations and a wicked wit in her storytelling.” (Slate)

“Those of you who haven’t read Nimona yet are lucky, because you can buy the fantasy comic in book form instead of waiting for Noelle to post an update twice a week. Seriously, that wait was always excruciating.” (Bustle.com)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (May 12, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062278223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062278227
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona debuted as a webcomic before being reworked into a graphic novel. I find that it reads better — or maybe I’m better able to keep up with it — as a collection. Pages have been revised and a new epilogue added for this edition.

Although it’s set among knights and battles, it’s a very modern-feeling story, because Nimona is a very young and current character. She’s a shape-changing teenager with all the attitude and lack of respect for authority that goes along with that. Stevenson’s art does a terrific job of capturing those feelings visually, without needing to spell out for us everyone’s motivations textually.

We meet her as she meets one-armed supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart. She’s a fangirl, and in spite of her abilities, Blackheart is a bit suspicious of her youth, enthusiasm, and drive. He’s also got a grudge against Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. The two were young heroes together before their battle led to his loss of limb.

Nimona’s fascinating because Stevenson doesn’t make her stereotypically feminine. She doesn’t feel the need to prominently signify “this is a girl”, which is a refreshing take on these kinds of comic projects. In fact, the first thing we see Nimona turn into is not a cat or something fluffy or cute, but a shark. She’s also fond of being a dragon. (When she does turn into a cat, it’s to jump on someone’s head.)

There’s plenty of adventure and action here, portrayed in a way you’ve likely never seen before. Stevenson also humanizes the traditional bad guy type by giving him significant motivation and personal ethics, while Nimona doesn’t seem to take much of anything seriously.
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Format: Hardcover
‘Nimona’ is the debut graphic novel, written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson … it was actually a free online web comic that Stevenson started in 2012, and doubled as her senior thesis at the Maryland Institute College of Art. But Stevenson has risen to fame in the comic-book world, for illustrating the insanely popular (and fantastic) series ‘Lumberjanes’, and her affiliation with Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Fangirl’ cover-art and subsequent fan-art.

I came to my Noelle Stevenson appreciation very late in the game, as I had to eagerly await the much buzzed-about Volume 1 of ‘Lumberjanes’ earlier this year. But as soon as I knew I had to make my way to ‘Lumberjanes’, I started following Stevenson on Twitter and was instantly in love with her sense of humour and subversive, feminist commentary – particularly in relation to the wonderful world of comics.

So when it was announced that a web comic which helped garner Noelle Stevenson her now considerable fan-base was going to be published as a graphic novel, you better believe I jumped for joy! And it’s not hard to see how ‘Nimona’ helped launch Stevenson’s career – as a funny “deadpan epic” that feels a little bit like ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ with more heart, symbolism and gadgetry.

The book opens with “villain” Lord Ballister Blackheart meeting his new self-imposed sidekick, a young shapeshifter girl named Nimona. In the beginning the comic has a lot of fun with turning old tropes on their head – wherein the “villain” has ethics, the female sidekick is more blood-thirsty and conniving than her mastermind boss and though it’s set in a medieval-looking era, there’s a great blend of science and technology alongside jousting bouts and knights in shining armour.
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Format: Hardcover
Stories centered on villains seem to be in vogue right now -- "Wicked," "Maleficent," "Hannibal," "Breaking Bad," and countless others. People seem to want to see a classic story retold from the antagonist's point of view, or just see a main character who isn't a hero and is a flawed and even "evil" character themselves... or if not evil, at least more gray than black or white. Perhaps this says something about our society today, but I have to admit that I enjoy the occasional villain-centered book or movie, especially when the story presents its characters as realistic, flawed characters instead of black-and-white heroes and villains. That's one of the main reasons I picked up "Nimona," despite not having read the webcomic and only having heard of Noelle Stevenson in passing.

I'm glad I gave it a shot. "Nimona" is a complex and epic story, balancing magic and science, humor and drama, and light and dark in a deft manner. And it has a unique art style that improves greatly over the course of the graphic novel.

The titular Nimona is a girl with shapeshifting abilities, who latches onto the kingdom's resident supervillain, one Ballister Blackheart, as his sidekick. At first put off by the girl's overeager tendencies and willingness to spread mayhem, Blackheart finds himself warming up to his new charge, and recruits her for his ongoing quest -- to unmask the kingdom's hero, Sir Ambrosia Goldenloin, and the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics he works for, and expose them as the scumbags he knows them to be.
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