Since I both listened to the audiobook for this and read the graphic novel, I figured I would review both in one go!
I listened to the audio before reading the graphic novel version. It was one of my first audiobooks, and my very first graphic novel audiobook.
This particular one had a full cast doing the characters’ voices, sound effects (explosions, wings flapping, coins clinking, fighting, etc.), and the occasional narration. I thought it did a great job of balancing just enough narration to explain things that needed explaining without bogging the story down and spoon-feeding the reader, and I wonder if there might’ve been some dialogue added at times to further clarify things. I’ll admit there were a few scenes where I had some difficulty figuring things out, and when I read the print version, I did notice some details and things I hadn’t realized when just listening, but I was usually able to figure out and picture what was going on well enough.
As far as the audio itself goes, I’d give that aspect an A+.
Graphic Novel Review:
The artwork wasn’t quite to my taste, but that’s just a personal thing. It was very cartoon-y and sketchy, and everyone had such tiny hands. I did like though that Nimona didn’t have the stereotypical “perfect” thin hourglass figure that women in comics usually have. And it was nice to be able to see the facial expressions of the characters since I missed that in the audiobook.
As for the story itself, it wasn’t what I expected, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was more Blackheart’s story than Nimona’s. Also, I thought it would just be silly and funny, and it did have its funny moments, but it was more serious and bittersweet.
Now the characters… to be honest, I found Nimona annoying, but Blackheart had a surprisingly kind heart. I liked him. And although Goldenloin was a silly stereotype and Blackheart’s enemy at the beginning, he grew on me as I started to see more of him.
I also liked the friendship between Nimona and Blackheart. It was sweet how protective of her he was, and their silly squabbles about zombie movies and board games was cute. I also loved how Nimona was always climbing all over everything, including Blackheart (e.g. hanging over his shoulder while reading the top secret stuff); it made their relationship even cuter.
*VERY MILD SPOILER* It was the relationship between Blackheart and Goldenloin that gave me the most feels though. I always love those relationships between characters who used to be lovers or best friends (in this case it was lovers) but are now enemies, except they still can’t help but care about each other. I don’t know if it was because I knew more the second time around or because I could actually see the facial expressions, body language, and physical interactions that I missed with the audio, but I felt more of the feelings still between them when I read the actual graphic novel. *END SPOILER*
The reason I didn’t rate this higher is because nothing really WOWed me about the book. Also, I felt like Nimona’s past (I still don’t understand that) and the relationship between Blackheart and Goldenloin both could’ve been explored more.
Overall though, this was a cute and somewhat touching graphic novel that I enjoyed listening to and reading.
Anyone who likes cartoon-y artwork, not-so-villainous villains, sweet friendships, and enemies who used to be lovers.
The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it “a deadpan epic.”
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.