Tag Archives: Illustrations

L: Review of Noelle Stevenson’s “Nimona”

If I many be so bold, I’d like to commend myself for taking great strides towards being a more versatile, well-rounded reader within the last 6 months. If you take a quick trip down memory lane, back to some of my earliest posts, you’ll see that I found a number of ways to clearly indicate that my preferences leaned exclusively towards hard-copy versions of the classics. Nowadays, however, at least half (if not more) of my recreational literary conquests are YA, as well as the relatively unfamiliar (to me) genre of graphic novels, including my latest completion, Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona.

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.

Nimona is considered to be a YA text, and I think it fits into that genre perfectly. The main character, Nimona’s, age is never specified, but her personality and behavior in situations of villainy make it easy to assume she is a young adult. Nimona’s character is complex, immature, consistently laugh-out-loud funny, and mysterious. Like many teens (and full-blown adults, like myself), Nimona uses humor and sarcasm to navigate serious situations and mask her feelings. Nimona is a product of her past and, although that past is a mystery to readers for most of the novel, her penchant for violence echos throughout her actions, calling into question her motivations for pairing up with Lord Ballister Blackheart, the kingdom villain.

Stevenson’s characters are complex, having hidden agendas, suppressed feelings, longstanding conflicts, and rich backstories. No character is defined by his/her title and, in fact, those titles (hero, villain, sidekick, etc.) are often called into question by his/her actions. Although readers get significantly fewer words with graphic novels, the pictures help to fill in the blanks and (literally) illustrate aspects of the characters and situations that take twice as much time to convey with standard novels. Also, the images were imaginative, descriptive, and utterly adorable. Just look at the emotion and attitude in her panels, as well as the humor (look at the little shark boobies! So unexpected and funny!). In those ways, I loved it!

However, I’m not sure that I got the chance to connect with these characters. Reading a graphic novel, for me, is like watching a TV show; I’m just a spectator. I get fewer asides, monologues, and inner thoughts. I see things at face value, exactly as the author intended, so there is little room for creative interpretation or personalization. Also, I finished Nimona in one afternoon, and a busy afternoon at that. It was an effortlessly quick read, meaning that I didn’t linger with these characters for days at a time. We met, we faced trials, we resolved those trials, and now they’re gone and I don’t miss them. Why would I? I hardly knew them. I wonder if I would think differently had it been a standard novel? I wonder if this concern has occurred to others, or if I’m alone in my distance?

Like I said before, with the exception of the Maus books, I’m extremely new to graphic novels. However, my experience with them has proven them to be delightful deviations from the standard novel format. I see many advantages to the graphic novels format, as well as disadvantages. Regardless, putting this book into the right students’ hands could give fresh insight into really current and relevant problems. It was a fun and meaningful read!

SIDEBAR: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is coming! I pre-ordered my copy and July cannot get here soon enough!

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Love This? Try This! – “The World of Ice & Fire”

pixshark.com; click here for Amazon.com

I’ve decided to review this book by creating a new “If you like this, you might also like this” segment. A lot of my reading choices are based on comparisons to other things I’ve liked (thank you, Goodreads; find me at lindsayjohnna!), so I’m hoping to find a few similarities along my reading road that might offer some helpful insight! Let me know what you think.

Photo from bgr.com

The first one is a little obvious, but this past Christmas, Brice got me The World of Ice & Fire by George R. R. Martin, Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson since he’s aware of my love for Martin’s magnificent series and also for tracing literary lineages. Martin worked closely with the other authors to ensure that the book read as a history, much like J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion (another reason I simply adore it). He also worked with the artists to ensure that the book’s illustrations captured his mind’s image of his imaginary world, and thank God for that because these pictures are above and beyond the reach of TV.

Photo from inspirationhut.com

I’m the kind of reader who loves to know back story; throughout the series, we come to understand how the realm came to be a unified kingdom, but The World of Ice & Fire elaborates on the migration of the Targaryens to Westeros, the conquering of the kingdoms, the reigns of many Targaryen kings, Robert’s Rebellion, the many houses and realms in Westeros and Essos, etc. I loved reading this and I go back frequently to check my facts & review the mesmerizing illustrations on every page. Truly, I cannot praise the artwork enough. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves the series of novels and wants to know more than can be contained in the already very long books.

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