Saturday, June 4, 2022

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson


So it's Pride Month and even though you should read diversely year-round, I don't think there's anything wrong in taking particular pride (DID YOU SEE, DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE) in celebrating LGBT+ authors during Pride Month. I try to read diversely year-round BUT I CAN'T GET TO EVERYTHING, so every June, I try to shine a spotlight on what I couldn't get to during the rest of the year.

NIMONA has been on my radar for a while-- especially since buzz went around that it was picked up as an animated series for Netflix (UM, YES). And as a fan of graphic-novels who LOVES fantasy, it seemed like exactly my cup of tea. The style is pretty minimal but it works for the story, which manages to be both wholesome, touching, and intense. Reading this book was like going on a rollercoaster of feels and my body was NOT prepared.

Basically, Nimona is a shapeshifter who is obsessed with the main character, Ballister Blackheart, a villain who used to be a knight until his arm was blown off by his love interest/archnemesis. Now he lives to thwart the ableist Institution who was like "we don't hire people with disabilities," which is way lame. Who's the villain here? Obviously not Blackheart, despite his unfortunate name. At first Blackheart is like, ugh, a CHILD get it away, but when he sees what she can do, he immediately understands the potential.

As the story goes on, we meet the arm-blowing-off-archnemsis, Ambrosious Goldenloin (LMAO) and the rather sinister organization he works for. It ends up having buddy cop vibes (if the cops were evil) with a classic hero's journey arc, and I love how the story kind of picks apart the threads of traditional fantasy roles, questioning what is good and what is evil. Everyone in this book is some shade of morally grey and I kind of loved that. This is what I was hoping Matt Groening's Disenchanted would be like, so it was an unexpected surprise to find that here.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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