Recently I was singing, well, really, yelling, the praises of the reboot of She-ra: Princesses of Power and its creator Noelle Stevenson on my Facespace page. Many like-minded folks also sung along. Someone commented asking if I had read Lumberjanes (I had) and Nimona (I had not) so here we are!
Brief aside: if you like things that are awesome, you should read the Lumberjanes and watch She-ra. I binged through She-ra on a sick day and I have zero regrets about it. Stevenson creates awesome female characters and awesome worlds of adventure that can be enjoyed by 30something women and 10 year old boys alike. DO. IT.
Now, my actual review. Nimona the graphic novel is based on the web comic of the same name by Stevenson, which was her friggin’ senior thesis (!) at Maryland Institute College of Art. It was a finalist for the National Book Award, it is being animated as a feature film and released in the spring. And, in my humble opinion, it deserves every bit of praise heaped upon it.
This book has everything: adventure, friendship, mystery and magic. These are the essential elements of all of Stevenson’s work I’ve enjoyed so far. Nimona teams up with Ballister Blackheart (excellently named) who is the super villain and nemesis of Ambrossius Goldenloin (also excellently named). But, think of their relationship as less one of contention, and one of friends torn apart. They are kind of like Doofenshmirtz and Perry the Platypus of Phineas and Ferb, if Dr. D and Perry were more evenly matched.
Even though the story is about them, it is really about Nimona, who she is, and who she wants to be, in this strange magical world. The story has a lot of heart, humor, and tenderness and is just delightful to read, not to mention her illustrations are great. I had to force myself to put this down, if only to enjoy it longer, but my son didn’t and straight up read it in one sitting. Now THAT is a recommendation!
So, walk, don’t run, to your local library or Amazon account and GET. THIS. BOOK.