Overall Rating: Highly Recommended (How I Rate Books)
Personal Rating: WHEEEE! I’M A SHARK! (Seriously though, this is probably the best self-contained graphic novel I’ve ever read.)
Genres: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Sequential Art, Comic, YA, LGBTQ
Previous books by the author/in the series I’ve reviewed:
Spoilers below. You’ve been warned!
What a nice little story! To start this review, I have to thank my sister. She gave me the hardback copy of this. I liked this so much I’m going to add it to my permanent collection instead of giving it to the library.
This felt like a wilder-and-crazier Shrek, where the so called ‘bad guys’ are the protagonists, fighting against the ‘good guys’ who autocratically rule the nation. Lord Blackheart is the evil mad scientist supervillain who struggles to topple the Kingdom(the guy with black hair on the cover). Sir Goldenlion is Blackheart’s old friend/rival/nemesis/lover, who fights in defense of the Kingdom(he’s the blonde guy on the cover). Nimona is Blackheart’s whimsical shapeshifter sidekick, who is a nuanced Manic Pixie Dream Girl with a super dark history.
The Kingdom is culturally inspired by Dark Ages Europe (think princesses in towers, kings in castles, knights jousting), but with modern technology (computers, radios, high-tech laboratories). For decades the Kingdom has known peace, thanks to the high-tech Institute which protects it. The Institute is the manipulative man-behind-the-man for the Kingdom, using the king, Goldenlion and high tech weaponry all as pawns to keep a hold of power. The Institute keeps the peasantry in check by telling them a story on a nightly news, the story of Sir Goldenlion boldly defeating Blackheart’s villainous attempts to conquer the kingdom.
But not all is as it seems. The reason why Blackheart became villainous in the first place and now fights the Institute and Goldenlion is because the pair of them cheated together, using a gun to cripple Blackheart. Now Blackheart wants to bring down the pair of them. Nimona has similarly serious reasons to fight against the Institute and Goldenlion.
The plot of this graphic novel was very well realized.
I liked the characters. Nimona in particular had an astonishingly well realized fall-from-grace, followed by a redemption. Same goes for Goldenlion. And I liked how as we learned more about Blackheart the more memorable and sincere he became. Additionally the minor characters of the Director and the Scientist Lady were both well done… though I think the Director could have been slightly more well realized.
The art was glimmering with childish glee. The artist did an excellent job of capturing the whimsy of youth. The art is iconic; just looking at a single page from this graphic novel you’ll immediately recognize it. At first glance the art style looks immature, which is what adds weight to the story’s darker twists and turns.
Pacing wise, it was well written. I never got bored. I only wish there was more.
Net total, a fun ride. I strongly encourage you to check this out. This will probably be in my top 10 list of favorite books for the year.
Enjoy your day!