Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Ballister Blackheart is a notorious villain with a new sidekick: a shapeshifting girl who’s little more than a kid. The two of them have all sorts of plans for the kingdom, but the truth is that not all of them are evil plans. In fact, most of the plans use science to expose all the dishonesty being fed to the public by the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. But they’re still the villains, aren’t they? As Nimona and Blackheart become closer, Nimona teaches Ballister how to enjoy himself and see that he is capable of so much more than his paltry plots. Ballister helps Nimona, too. In the safety of his friendship, she can explore her powers more freely than she has been able to. But as Nimona and Ballister become closer as a team, Nimona’s backstory begins to unravel and Ballister realizes that the truth about the origins and the magnitude of Nimona’s powers is more mysterious than anyone thought.
Nimona is a graphic novel that intentionally features the cliches of good vs. evil stories. The author does this to draw attention to those cliches and then exposes their triteness. In this way, though a lot of the plot can at first seem predictable and basic, it eventually is shown to be a far more sophisticated story than it initially appears. Nimona is a high-interest read with frequent action scenes, making it suitable for readers with shorter attention spans or decreased interest in reading. However, the action is accomplished with very little bloodshed, so though there is a fair amount of fighting, graphic injuries are few. Both Nimona and Blackheart spend time considering identity and what makes a person who they are: is it their actions, or is it who everyone has told them to be? Because the themes covered in the novel are not too mature, this book could be appropriate for older intermediate readers as well as young adult.
*Contains mild language and mild violence.