Thursday, January 7, 2016

Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson

There are stories where it's obvious from the start who is a hero and who is a villain (Superman vs. Lex Luther...Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort/He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named...Inigo Montoya vs. Count Rugan/The Six-Fingered Man). As you read or watch, you know who to cheer for and who to, well, "Boo!". You know who you want to win and who you hope will be defeated/vanquished.

Nimona, an awesome new graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, is not one of those stories. 

Lord Blackheart, infamous and notorious supervillain (he even has an appropriately evil villain lair! how awesome is that?!?), has made it his life's ambition to make trouble for The Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics and The Institution's favorite champion, Sir. Ambrosius Goldenloin. Blackheart hasn't really done anything bad enough to warrant arrest followed by execution. Embarrassingly, some of his plans have even failed quite epically. That is, until a ginger-haired girl named Nimona shows up and claims to be his new sidekick. But this spunky teen is not who she seems. Nimona, readers learn, can shift shape at well as some other things that make her pretty much invincible. And she's pretty bloodthirsty. Right off, she seems to be feeding some sort of mysterious vendetta that won't be made known until much later (sorry, no spoilers). As Nimona's hijinks become increasingly deadly, finally threatening the entire kingdom, Lord Blackheart is forced to ask himself some pretty serious questions and revisit the ghosts from his own past that transformed him into the villain he is--or thought he was (again, no spoilers). By the final pages, readers will be questioning everything they thought they knew about heroes, villains, and everyone in between. Because not everything is as it first seems to be (for the third time, no spoilers! quit asking and read the book!). And sometimes, people can change.

Nimona was recommended to me by a coworker who loved it and thought I might too. And she was right! Nimona is awesome and quirky and epic and all the things I look for in a book. There's even the right balance of humor and Lifetime-Movie-Of-The-Week warm fuzzies. Absolutely recommended for anyone who enjoys a good story. --AJB

p.s. I'd ask for a sequel, but I know it could never measure up to the awesomeness of the original. 

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