Nimona Review: Shapeshifting supervillains who want to save the world

May 25, 2016 by Jenna | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Nimona Review: Shapeshifting supervillains who want to save the worldNimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published by HarperTeen on May 12th 2015
Source: Purchased
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, 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.

I’m just starting to venture into the realm of graphic novels so I don’t know too much about them or which ones are popular, but I had to pick up Nimona because of the countless good things I’d heard about it (and the giant National Book Award Nominee sticker on the cover). I ended up really, really enjoying the story and the characters and thought it was the perfect way to get myself back into reading after taking some time off to do real life things.

Nimona is about Lord Blackheart, a supervillain, and his new sidekick, Nimona. Nimona is a shapeshifter who can turn herself into basically any living thing and she loves to wreak havoc wherever she goes. Together Blackheart and Nimona attempt to uncover the dark secrets of the Institution of Law Enforcement and prove to the rest of the kingdom that these heroes aren’t as heroic and good as everyone thinks they are. But standing in their way is Sir Goldenloin, the archnemesis of Blackheart, and the rest of the Institution. Madness ensues.

What I loved most about this story was how adventurous and fun it was. There honestly wasn’t a single moment that wasn’t exciting to read about. It had lots of funny moments and the banter between the characters was fantastic. If you love adventure and superhero/villain stories, with lots of excitement and hilarity, you will absolutely love Nimona. What made this graphic novel even more enjoyable to read was the fact that it wasn’t only funny and exhilarating, it also contains a heartwarming story about friendship and companionship. Nimona and Blackheart are there for each other through thick and thin and it was just wonderful to read about such a supportive friendship in this action-packed story. There were a couple of things that I wish had been developed a little bit further. Some aspects of the plot felt slightly unresolved but I’m hoping that that means that there will be a sequel because this novel was such a wonderful and fun read.

I thought the characters in this graphic novel were wonderful. Nimona was a fantastic sidekick and her character was incredibly complex. I loved that she had a dark past and isn’t the good and innocent girl that I initially thought she’d be. She definitely has a dark, villainous side to her and isn’t bothered by killing people or causing mass destruction. She marches to the beat of her own drum and I loved her impulsivity. I also really loved Lord Blackheart as a character. He also wasn’t the typical supervillain and had a complex backstory. At times, I wish we had seen more of his past in order to better piece together why he is who is today. But I loved that he was a bit of a nerd and loved science. I loved that he was actually a really caring person and didn’t want to cause harm to innocent people. He was just a really interesting and likable protagonist.

Finally, let’s talk a little bit about the art style. I don’t read very many graphic novels so I don’t feel like I can comment very much on the different aspects of the art… but I thought it had the right amount of busy and simple. The panels didn’t feel cluttered but there was a lot for the eye to look at to keep it interesting for me. The characters were very easily distinguishable from one another and I liked the look of each of them. I particularly loved the look of Sir Goldenloin and thought his appearance was very well conceptualised. I really liked that even though the story is full of action, the drawings never seemed too busy or chaotic.


Nimona was an exciting and adventurous story about two supervillains who want to save the world. It has beautiful friendships and relationships that will warm your heart. This graphic novel had elements that reminded me of the Minions and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. If you love either of those, I think you will definitely love Nimona too.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5



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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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20 responses to “Nimona Review: Shapeshifting supervillains who want to save the world

    • I totally agree. This was a great one to ease myself into graphic novels. It was really easy to read and highly enjoyable. I've been slowly picking up other graphic novels since reading this one.

  1. I'm really excited you loved this, because I did too! I thought the story was unpredictable and very well told (no rush or anything), and plus Nimona is adorable (Well, in the beginning haha). What kinds of graphic novels are you looking for? I have also read only a couple, but one of my favorites is Saga. 🙂

    • Ooh I need to try out Saga. It's probably the one I've heard most people rave about but sci-fi isn't really my type of thing so I'm really worried that I won't enjoy it… I'll get the first volume and see how I like it!

  2. I've been wanting to pick up Lumberjanes for a few months now but other books have always gotten in the way. But having now read Nimona and gotten a taste of the storytelling and artstyle, I'm definitely keen to try it out! Thanks for the rec, Lauren!

  3. Cyn @ Bookmunchies

    Yay! Glad you enjoyed this! I actually read this when she first started as a webcomic, and loved it then. I recently bought it (so pretty in real life) so I can make everyone read it!
    I seriously love a villain that's a hero. Great review, Jenna!
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    • Haha if this book wasn't so expensive, I'd just buy multiple copies and hand them out to everyone. It was such a great reading experience and I hope there's a sequel! Because I ship Blackheart and Goldenloin so hard!

    • HAHA you should definitely try to pick this one up soon! It's also a really quick read. I finished it in an hour or two.

    • Yeah, It's the kind of book that I always see around but never really buy because there are so many other books I want to get. And it's kind of an expensive book as well. I'm always wary of the fact that I can get 1.75 paperbacks for the price of this one graphic novel. But it was a really enjoyable reading experience and I could reread it all day!

  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jenna! I've seen so many people love it, but because I've never read a graphic novel, I been to intimidated to read it. Now I really want to read it! I love the sound of the plot – it sounds exciting, but also, because it's told in graphic novel form, really cute. I love the art (even though I'm a complete novice, so I'm not really at a point to comment haha), so this seems like a really fun book. Thank you for recommending it – I hope to pick it up soon!
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    • Oooh you should definitely check this one out Denise! I think it's a great one for beginners (not that I can really comment since I haven't exactly read many others). But it's super quick to read and not intimidating at all once you get into it. And with this one, I pretty much was hooked from the first two pages.

    • I haven't read very many graphic novels or comics so I can't compare but I thought it was a really fun and exciting one to read. It's also won and been nominated for a lot of prizes so I guess that speaks to its popularity and quality. Morally grey supervillains are the best!!!!

  5. Nimona was a very good choice for a newbie graphic novel reader—it's so much fun, and it's nice and quick to read. I don't know if you've read it, but Maus is also incredible. And if you like classics, Nicki Greenberg did this incredible retellings of The Great Gatsby and Hamlet with this cute little creatures.

    • I've read both volumes of Maus and really enjoyed it. And I haven't heard of Nicki Greenberg (though I have read and enjoyed Isabel Greenberg's The Encyclopedia of Early Earth). Illustrated, comic-book style retellings of classics sounds right up my alley though! I will definitely be looking those up.

  6. ooohhh, I've only heard good things about this book and I love how the main character stands by herself! The supervillian also sounds like he has an interesting back story and I love the friendships in here too. I can't wait to read this one! Great review Jenna!

    • I'm really hoping that there's a sequel because there were some loose threads and a couple of things that weren't completely resolved. I would snatch up a sequel in a flash!

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