Nimona

by Noelle Stevenson

Other authorsNoelle Stevenson (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2015

Call number

J GRAPHIC NOVEL STE

Genres

Publication

Quill Tree Books (2015), Edition: Illustrated, 272 pages

Description

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

User reviews

LibraryThing member greeniezona
So, I'd started reading How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS and very quickly decided that I needed to read something that was the opposite of that at the same time. Impulsively, I grabbed this off of my thirteen-year-old's shelves, as people have been
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telling me that I need to read it for years. It turned out kind of perfectly. Whenever I would get overwhelmed with depression or rage reading Survive -- whether I was gnashing my teeth or trying to avoid crying in public, I'd turn to Nimona impulsively stabbing things, and it would help immensely.

Of course, there ends up being some sadness in Nimona, too, so after a while it became more of a change of pace and genre than an emotional catharsis -- but of course by then, I was heavily invested in both.

A punchy story that plays with a few fantasy tropes in interesting ways. I can definitely see why people kept telling me to read it.
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LibraryThing member StormRaven
Nimona is the story of Nimona, the cheerfully lethal shapeshifting sidekick to the villain Lord Ballister Blackheart who is opposed by the Institution for Law Enforcement and Heroics that is championed by Ambrosius Goldenloin. Set in a world that is an odd and delicious mixture of medieval fantasy
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and mad scientist style science fiction, the story is full of action and adventure, with plenty of twists and turns to keep things moving. Along the way, the story shows how the law and heroics are not always good, that heroes are not always admirable and villains are not always evil, and that having even almost unlimited power doesn't necessarily chase your inner demons away. Above all, the story shows what friendship is made out of, and how important it can be.

Nimona is a wild and unpredictable teen full of both boundless joy and barely contained rage who wears her emotions on her sleeve, but at the same time she is an enigma. She shows up on the first page of the book and inserts herself into Ballister's life as his sidekick, simply jumping into his service with no references and almost no explanation. Nimona turns out to be a shapeshifter of enormous power, able to change into pretty much anything, no matter its size, and even able to change herself into a form such that she can imitate specific people. Even her age is unclear: She appears and acts like a teen, but verious hints throughout the book suggest that she may be considerably older than she appears. The origin and extent of Nimona's powers is never fully explained, despite Ballister's intense curiosity on these subjects, leaving her as an unresolved mystery throughout the book.

Nimona's putative boss, Lord Ballister Blackheart, is an almost perfect counterpoint to the wild teen. Blackheart was originally a member of the Institute, and in the running to take the mantle as champion of the organization until an incident cost him an arm. In response, the Institute threw Blackheart out and turned him into its adversary. Although nominally a villain, he is only a reluctant one, and acts in accord with certain rules in his activities. For example, when given the opportunity to take revenge upon his nemesis Ambrosius Goldenloin by cutting off Ambrosius' arm, Blackheart declines.Needless cruelty is simply not in Blackheart's character. In contrast, Nimona is an almost elemental force of raw chaos, ignoring almost all rules and restrictions with a gleeful abandon. In their first caper together, Nimona kills some of the Institute's soldiers who try to capture them, an action that greatly distresses Blackheart. This tension runs through the entire story, with Nimona pushing the boundaries while Blackheart tries to restrain her frenzied abandon.

Against this backdrop, Blackheart's conflict with the Institute seems secondary for most of the book. In fact, at the beginning of the story, it almost seems like Blackheart and the Institute are working together in a strange way. Blackheart follows a certain set of rules in conducting his villainy, while in turn, the Institute seems to observe certain formalities when opposing him. This tacit understanding seems to serve the Institute's purposes, as evidenced by the fact that when, at one point in the story, Nimona expresses confidence that Blackheart will come up with a cunning plan and prevail, he replies that he has a track record comprised mostly of failure. As Blackheart experiences almost nothing but success following Nimona's arrival in his employ, Blackheart's admission seems to indicate that prior to Nimona's arrival, both the Institute and Blackheart were involved in a mutual dance in which Blackheart consistently lost, but the Institute treated him with kid gloves. This situation, in which the Institute had a congenial adversary that they could blame misfortunes upon and distract attention from their own activities, seems to have worked entirely to the Institute's benefit. It is by upsetting this implied balance that Nimona's impact is most noticeable, and in which she demonstrates herself to be a true agent of chaos.

Nimona's arrival on the scene sparks a cycle of escalation in the conflict between Blackheart and the Institute that spirals out of control, driven mostly by Nimona's desire to actually win the confrontations Blackheart's schemes create, and the Institute's often vicious responses. While the increasing level of violence is disturbing at times, it is only when spurred on by Nimona that Blackheart actually accomplishes anything, and without this push to move Blackheart out of his comfortable symbiosis with the Institute, it is likely that the various underhanded plots that come to light would have been found. Despite the fact that the conflict is ostensibly between Blackheart and Goldenloin and the Institute, Nimona is the catalyst that sets everything in the book in motion, placing her at the heart of the entire story. This is something of a radical act: Placing a female teenaged character who is supposedly a sidekick at the center of the story. This seems even more radical when one considers that there is no reason for Nimona to appear as either a teenager or a girl - as a shapeshifter she can appear as absolutely anything she desires, even taking on the appearance of Blackheart at one point. Nimona is a teenage girl because she wants to be a teenage girl.

The relationship between Nimona and Blackheart is more than merely that of villain and sidekick. As the narrative develops, so does the relationship between the pair, with Blackheart progressing from a reluctant mentor to a caring friend and almost father figure.

[More forthcoming]
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
A graphic novel about a young shapeshifter girl who makes herself the sidekick of a villain with a conscience. I *loved* this. The humor is perfect, the art is distinctive, and the characters are great. The setting is also pretty cool--it's like a medieval/future mash-up with no particular
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explanation of how/why that is so. Nifty. Nimona reminds me a lot of Ripley from [Lumberjanes]. Both characters share a kind of humor and a happy, childlike floppy physicality that I want to love and hug and call George. Ballister Blackheart and Ambrosius Goldenloin (a moment of silence, please, in honor of the genius of these names) are excellent nemeses, and more duos like this in fiction kthanxbye. Stevenson includes two bonus Christmas shorts that appeared on her website (Nimona was originally a webcomic) in 2012 and 2013. The 2013 one is the absolute best the end. Recc'd.
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LibraryThing member foggidawn
Ballister Blackheart doesn't need a sidekick, so he's none too pleased when he comes home and finds one, Nimona, making herself at home in his lair. Nimona convinces him that she could be useful to his plots -- she is a shapeshifter, after all. Together, they can take down the Institute, an
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organization that Ballister believes is not as benevolent as everyone has been led to suppose. However, he and Nimona have some slight differences of opinion as to correct tactics for achieving their goals . . .

I'm not always a big fan of the graphic novel, but this is the best one I've read in some time. The characters are so delightfully complex, the worldbuilding is so fascinating, and there's such great humor in the story. Highly recommended to graphic novel fans, fantasy readers, and just about anyone, really.
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LibraryThing member jen.e.moore
Okay, here's the thing. I started reading Nimona when it first came out as a webcomic, but for one reason or another, I kind of lost track of it after the explosion at the science fair. So I was totally invested in this (and in Blackheart/Ambrosius, come on) but I had no idea the ending was going
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to hit me that hard. This is a beautiful, wonderful book, and I'm so, so glad it got a big release so that everyone in the world can read it.
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LibraryThing member jen.e.moore
Okay, here's the thing. I started reading Nimona when it first came out as a webcomic, but for one reason or another, I kind of lost track of it after the explosion at the science fair. So I was totally invested in this (and in Blackheart/Ambrosius, come on) but I had no idea the ending was going
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to hit me that hard. This is a beautiful, wonderful book, and I'm so, so glad it got a big release so that everyone in the world can read it.
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LibraryThing member kell1732
Overall Impression: One of the best graphic novels I've read in a while. Love it!

Recommend to: Anyone who wants to read a graphic novel with an awesome female lead that will make you laugh and cry.

I can't believe that I have never run into Noelle Stevenson's work before! I saw this book on the
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shelves at Powell's and knew that I needed to read it. Nimona is an awesome character that is very easy to like. She's fun, exciting, hilarious, and has awesome shapeshifter powers.

The bond that Nimona forms with the villain, Lord Blackheart, is one that actually warms the heart. While at first annoyed by her excitable personality, Lord Blackheart eventually begins to become a sort of father figure for Nimona which helps them both to grow into the people they are by the end. While Lord Blackheart works to reign in Nimona's tendency to cause mayhem and destruction, Nimona gives Blackheart the courage to take bigger risks and really fight for what you know to be true. Watching their relationship grow is one of the best parts of this book and I absolutely loved watching it unfold.

The art is great! I love the illustrating and found myself admiring certain panels. Stevenson is an incredibly talented illustrator and does a great job of portraying emotions and actions through the art. I've read some works where the artist had to relying too much on the words to show a character's emotional state since the faces and postures of their characters remained rather static. This is definitely not the case with Nimona. Stevenson is able to have whole panels with no words and you can see exactly what the characters are feeling and thinking. This makes certain scenes impactful in a way that words wouldn't be able to depict nearly as well.

I absolutely loved this graphic novel and I really want to see more from Noelle Stevenson. In fact, here is her website so that you can become a fan as well! I highly recommend Nimona to basically everyone. I'm looking forward to seeing more from Noelle and now consider myself a fan.
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LibraryThing member mal2012
Really an almost 5 star book. Love the dark humor but the last third of the book got really dark and lost that piece, that's why it's not a full 5 stars for me.
LibraryThing member ewyatt
Nimona becomes the assistant to the villanous Lord Ballister Blackheart, a villan with a strong moral code and a desire to bring the evil Institute to justice. Nimona is a strong willed, mischievous shapeshifter whose power is tremendous. The story is easy to follow - although at times with dragon
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scenes I got lost in the action.
What is Nimona? Where is Nimona?
The bond between the arch-rivals makes for an interesting story. And Blackheart's feelings for his young friend seem surprisingly sincere for a "villan".
An enjoyable read.
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LibraryThing member ticky
Nimona was perhaps the most delightful comic experience for me yet. A wonderfully cute story with science and magic and a very curious monster girl!

Read it!!!
LibraryThing member Tsana
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is a collected webcomic which tells a single story over the rather lengthy volume. It's a fantasy story set in a world that also has futuristic/magical technology/science.

BLURB:
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive,
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sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

At about 260 pages, it's much heftier than the comics I'm used to reading. But on the other hand, it was nice to read a fully fleshed-out and complete story in one volume. Nimona is a shapeshifter who decides that she wants to be sidekick to a arch villain. She's the sort of person that just does what she wants, so Ballister, the villain, is powerless to stop her. Well, there's also the part where she's actually insanely powerful as far as shapeshifters go.

The story is mostly about Nimona egging Ballister on and helping him make nefarious plans (and pushing his plans too far). The world it's set in sort of initially seems like a fairly traditional fantasy world, with knights and jousts, but then we see that they have technology as well as magic, with TV, computers and magic-related technology. I also really loved the character of Nimona. It was kind of empowering seeing a female character be powerful and allowed to do whatever she wants (mostly). (Of course there were complications because otherwise there wouldn't be a plot.)

Nimona was a fun read. It's not quite the kind of comic I usually read but it's definitely the kind I would read again. And as I said at the start, it was satisfying to have a complete and somewhat lengthy comic story all in one volume.

4.5 / 5 stars
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LibraryThing member mamzel
There's a super bad guy named Lord Blackheart and a knight in shining armor named Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin (!) and a shape shift named Nimona. She wants to be Blackheart's sidekick and, well, kick ass. A nemesis emerges, an evil Institute who is amassing weapons to be used at some future date.
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Nimona could very well prove to be an invaluable asset to the Institute.

This was a fun story that demonstrates that old story of how looks (and names) can be misleading and actions speak louder than words.
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LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
I loved it; couldn't stop reading; accidentally stayed up too late and read the whole thing in one sitting, loved it. Loved the characters; especially Nimona's excitement and Blackheart relationships with everyone and the ominous Institute!
LibraryThing member Erika.D
Started off boring and really annoying but once you get past the first few chapters, the story really unfolds and the characters become very enjoyable. It was full of action, mystery and humor. Good read!
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
I loved it; couldn't stop reading; accidentally stayed up too late and read the whole thing in one sitting, loved it. Loved the characters; especially Nimona's excitement and Blackheart relationships with everyone and the ominous Institute!
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
I loved it; couldn't stop reading; accidentally stayed up too late and read the whole thing in one sitting, loved it. Loved the characters; especially Nimona's excitement and Blackheart relationships with everyone and the ominous Institute!
LibraryThing member Smiler69
this graphic novel which well deserves all the praise it's been getting lately. A young girl who is a shapeshifter decides to help a villain called Blackheart. The setting is medieval yet includes modern technology and science. Nimona herself is a serious badass yet very sympathetic, as Blackheart
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turns out to be too, and together they make the whole notion of good vs evil sort of turn on its head.
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LibraryThing member EllsbethB
I really enjoyed the characters in this book and their interactions.
LibraryThing member bragan
This graphic novel is set in a fantasy world with a medieval look, but modern (or even slightly futuristic) levels of technology. It features Lord Ballister Blackheart, mad scientist supervillian; his archnemesis Ambrosius Goldenloin; and his brand new sidekick, Nimona. Nimona is young, spunky,
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enthusiastic, possessed of some useful and interesting powers... and considerably more cheerfully bloodthirsty than Blackheart is at all comfortable with.

This is actually the second time I've read this story, as it was originally published as a webcomic and I first encountered it online. But I think I enjoyed it even more the second time. And I enjoyed it a lot. The setting may be a bit silly, but the characters of Nimona and Blackheart are great, and instantly believable. The story is pretty great, too. It's full of laugh-out-loud humor and lots of fun, but also has some genuinely touching moments, and it gets nail-bitingly exciting by the end. I also enjoy the way it plays around with and subverts a lot of the usual hero and villain tropes, plus I'm a total sucker for the "adversaries who once used to be close" dynamic, which is executed rather nicely here. My only complaint is that the ending leaves me longing for a sequel.
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LibraryThing member fundevogel
Awww, I challenge you not to love the Ballister Blackheart and his shapeshifting sidekick Nimona as they take on Ambrosius Goldenloin and the nefarious Institute. This one off graphic novel (originally a web comic) has an irresistable charm and humor as science and magic clash and two old friends
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try their best to be enemies.
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LibraryThing member mirikayla
Went darker than I expected it to, and also way more awesome. I love the ending for all the storylines (Blackheart/Goldenloin, Blitzmeyer, obviously Nimona) and the way... certain things... were strongly reminiscent of Maleficent from the Disney Sleeping Beauty. Really fantastic, a very pleasant
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surprise.
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LibraryThing member ladycato
This book is currently an Andre Norton Award finalist, and I read it as part of my Nebula packet.

Nimona starts out whimsical--girl shows up at supervillain's lair, declares herself his sidekicks, he says no, she says she's a shapeshifter, hi-jinx ensue--that develops gravitas in layers. The result
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is a graphic novel that's poignant in all the right ways. The artwork is fabulous, too; I love Nimona's curvaceous design, and every scene shows great attention to detail that adds more to an already-strong story.
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LibraryThing member Sheila1957
A YA graphic novel has Nimona wanting to be the sidekick of the villain Lord Blackheart. She does the things sidekicks should but Blackheart thinks she goes too far. When Blackheart learns Nimona's secret, he tries to save everyone--good and bad.

This is a good vs. evil story. However, things are
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not always what they appear on the surface. The good are not so heroic and the bad are not as villainous as the other side tries to make them appear. I liked Blackheart. He and the hero Goldenloin have a past. Eventually we find out what is it and it brings out questions. I liked Nimona. She's a teen but has a past that has made her wary of others. She is strong willed and feisty. I hope that she and Blackheart get what they each want in their own way--a place to belong and a friend.
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LibraryThing member Unkletom
Noelle Stevenson’s award-winning graphic novel is a delightful story of heroes v. villains who bring refreshingly modern attitudes to a Fantasyland setting.

It reminds me a bit of The PowerPuff Girls cartoons that I used to watch with my daughters. On the face of it, it is a children's story but
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it has some themes that are aimed at adults. Beneath the lighthearted façade and the childish illustrations there is an underlying subtext that is deeper than one would expect for a book aimed at younger audiences, if indeed that is what this is. The very idea of whether or not government is acting for the good of the people has long been a subject of intense debate. Is The Institute's stockpile of a deadly chemical a metaphor for nuclear power of genetically engineered foods? Are the villains really just misunderstood socialists?

Bottom line: I really enjoyed this and didn’t feel that I was being talked down to which is what often pisses me off about so-called young adult novels. It also provided a much-needed boost to my annual read count.
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LibraryThing member -Eva-
Nimona is a shapeshifter who shows up one day at the lair of supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart to help him in his fight against superhero Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. This started as a webcomic and its overwhelming popularity brought a publisher to the author/artist's door and I am not surprised;
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Stevenson's story is innovative, creatively plotted, very funny, and is populated with emotionally complex characters. The style of art is not one I find hugely appealing and the lettering is close to painful to read at times - it should have been printed in a much larger format. The characters win the battle for me though and I'll happily try the author's other publications.
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Awards

National Book Award (Finalist — Young People's Literature — 2015)
BCCB Blue Ribbon Book (Graphic Novels — 2015)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 2017)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — High School — 2019)
British Fantasy Award (Nominee — 2016)
Indies Choice Book Award (Winner — Young Adult — 2016)
Thumbs Up! Award (Top Ten — 2016)
Oregon Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — 2018)
Arkansas Teen Book Award (Nominee — 2017)
Milwaukee County Teen Book Award (Honor Book — 2016)
Odyssey Award (Honor — 2017)
Evergreen Teen Book Award (Nominee — 2018)
Rhode Island Teen Book Award (Nominee — 2017)
CYBILS Awards (Winner — 2015)
Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (Top Ten — Fiction — 2016)
Nerdy Book Award (Graphic Novels — 2015)
Penn GSE's Best Books for Young Readers (Selection — Comics & Graphic Novels — 2015)

Pages

272

ISBN

0062278223 / 9780062278227
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