In the last two years or so I’ve really gotten into reading graphic novels though the vast majority of the ones I’ve read thus far have been superhero related. Nimona is kind of the opposite, i.e. about super villains. But only kind of. Plus, I’m in charge of ordering the YA books for my library and there’s a big following for graphic novels and Nimona is/was a National Book Award finalist so it only made sense to order it for the library (and the description piqued my interested enough that I wanted to read it as soon as we got it in.) The fact that it started out as a web comic is also interesting.
Nimona is, of course, about a character named Nimona who, at the beginning of the story, apprentices herself to a villain. But it’s not just about her and her shapeshifter capabilities (though that is a very, very important part of the novel.) It’s also about the villain she apprentices herself to, Lord Ballister Blackheart and his battle against the Institution and Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. Only it’s not that simple. Nimona and Blackheart aren’t all bad. Goldenloin isn’t the golden boy knight that the Institution wants him to be.
There is all sorts of crazy backstory, even a fake crazy backstory, and relationships run amok. The illustrations were fun, the story was well thought out, and the characters were fairly well fleshed out for such a relatively short book. And I honestly wish it would have been longer.