Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

nimona_final Nimona is one of the funniest, cleverest, most wonderful and adorable books I've ever read.

Is that overselling it? I'm just excited that I read it at all, because Nimona is the sort of book that I would usually admire every time I saw it in the store, but never actually buy. The artwork is fantastic, but I'm not much of a graphic novel person. It looks fanficcy and fun, but, you know, I'm not much of a graphic novel person. It's exactly the sort of thing I'd love, but... well. Luckily, a friend took that decision out of my hands, because Nimona is a joy to read.

Originally a webcomic by Noelle Stevenson, Nimona is the story of a shapeshifting girl who talks her way into becoming supervillain Ballister Blackheart's assistant in evil. Together, they plot to take down the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics, especially Blackheart's nemesis, Ambrosius Goldenloin.

But of course, Blackheart and Goldenloin are "nemeses" in that Hark! A Vagrant way -- something that, instead of just being fun subtext, becomes very much Text as the story continues.

The story has lots of tongue-in-cheek moments, playing with expectations and cliches in a way that will really appeal to readers with fannish tendencies. But the story also has a lot of heart. The characters have so much personality that you can't help getting attached to them very quickly, so when bad things happen to them... well, let's just say it's emotionally resonant too.

And it's all set in a very modern heroes-and-villains fantasyland, with movies and pizza delivery and evil science labs... and dragons and medieval peasants and tournaments and villainy.

It's a wild adventure of a book, wonderful and clever and incredibly well-told. If you're a fannish sort, you should definitely check it out.