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Nimona Paperback – May 12, 2015
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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
“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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Top Customer Reviews
I thoroughly recommend getting a copy of this book since it's no longer online to read. It's a full story with extra pages that weren't published online. The art is gorgeous and the cover is amazing. It's a great deal for the price.
The story starts with the kingdom's most infamous villain getting a super-powered sidekick. Except that he never requested one, and no one is really sure where she came from. I don't want to spoil too much since it's a short story when read cover to cover. If you're a fan of strong (in the physical sense) female antiheros then this is the comic for you.
Not because Nimona forces herself on Blackheart, although that was fantastically hilarious, this story wasn't ever going to follow the typical tales. Nimona, herself, reminds me a lot of Ramona Flowers. It's that unique, I-will-do-my-hair-as-I-please, sort of girl. And the changing hair. But, Nimona takes her quirks and uses them as she sees fit while helping Blackheart in his evil doing.
There's science to be had. A wonderful randomness without the actual sciences, plus shape-shifting, dragons, fires...and try-not-to-killing people as they try to outrun the good or evil (depending on who you ask) Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics and their primary player Goldenloin...*tears from laughing* that name...
What an adventure! While Nimona's story and how she came to be is the primary tale, there is also the backstory of Blackheart and Goldenloin which pulls through to the end. So much humor, so much heart...I don't think I've read something like this before.
Can't say enough about Nimona! Everyone should read this and experience an epic tale nothing like Merlin but as modern day as flatscreen monitors and newscasts. EPIC WIN! Oh, and a few extra bonuses, too--two Christmas bonuses and Nimona character sketches.
I have the hardback version. I've heard the Kindle version is difficult to read because you cannot enlarge it, though other graphic novels I have for Kindle can be enlarged--with both Kindle and the iPad app. I'm half willing to try it out.
Here's hoping there's more Nimona to come!!!
Slate reviewers said of Nimona, "[It's] [f]unny and vibrant. A kind of deadpan epic," and it's hard to describe the experience of the work in any other way (I also strongly recommend reading the reviews from the New York Times and the UK's the Independent). The never named fantasy realm the characters inhabit, with it's medieval setting and many anachronistic elements, also deepens the sense of...well, magic. The detailed choices of what looks modern by reader's perspective versus what remains in a more medieval style is really interesting, but doesn't distract and makes you want to know more about this world and dive deeper. In the same way, Stevenson tooled around with a number of stylistic options before deciding on the work that we see now, and in reading the bonus pages offered in the graphic novel you can see clearly how that choice impacts the action and movement present in each panel and our investment in the characters generating these actions. Color is another element which was obviously thought out carefully in the creation of Nimona. With Blackheart's and Goldenloin's names not only having color present in their names, but their designs being dark versus light to symbolically reinforce their positions as villain and hero - and then totally reject that cliché and turn it on it's head!
Nimona is truly a work of art in both the visual and literary sense. Something that is gripping and tender and appropriate for all ages. Such an impressive and beautiful work.
Also just as an aside the art was totally beautiful and the way some really intense scenes were conveyed (like transformation sequences and big plot scenes) was really terrific and I got a great sense for how the characters acted and moved and how that related to who they were.