Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Noelle Stevenson
HarperCollins, 2015
Grades 7-Up
Graphic Novel

Enter the world of knights and the battle of good verse evil, although with a technological twist. Nimona is a quirky, energetic shape-changing teenager. She offers her services to resident villain, Lord Blackheart, and he reluctantly takes her on. Meanwhile, Blackheart's arch-nemesis and former classmate/friend Sir Goldenloin continues to try to thwart his old enemy's power. The kingdom is actually controlled by the evil director of "The Institution" and she is out for world domination and the destruction of Lord Blackheart's new secret weapon. Nimona seems indestructible, as even her cells reproduce upon being damaged. Blackheart discovers a substance that paralyzes Nimona, much like kryptonite, but he must keep keep it out of the Director's notice. Nimona is a high-spirited loose cannon and it is up to Lord Blackheart to control her. He manages to do just that, all while starting to develop nurturing feelings towards her, as he discovers more of her backstory. Throughout the fairy tale-esque kingdom, modern technologies abound, such as high-tech communication and weaponry, making this an original and modern new offering in a traditional and familiar setting.

A National Book Award Finalist, Nimona is just one of the many new and exciting graphic editions featuring female protagonists currently on the market for young people. Nimona is a powerful shape-shifter, going from gentle cat to fire-breathing dragon in a blink of an eye. She also is less than honest and has impulse control issues. Although clearly feminine, Nimona is tough, gutsy, and sassy. Even though Nimona wears a dress and sports a very cool and edgy hairstyle, she has a realistic body shape and is not made too glamorous or sexy. The technological advances make the fairy tale settling seem modern, unique, and interesting, yet still familiar. We see the good side of the master villain, Blackheart, who is actually the hero and we see the human side of Goldenloin and are offered a glimpse into their history with a hint that there is, perhaps, romance at the core of their love/hate relationship. The true villain is the Director, who is manipulating both men and out to destroy Nimona. Stevenson is a seasoned cartoonist and her drawings are distinctive and help to propel the story. A muted pallet is applied to the action that happens in the past to make it distinct from the present. The panels scan well and chapters allow for natural breaks in the action. A fresh look at an established format that is sure to attract readers of all ages and both sexes.

No comments:

Post a Comment