Book review: Nimona


Nimona by Noelle StevensonTitle: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Genre: Graphic novel – Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★

Pink-haired Nimona crashes into the carefully ordered world of supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart and declares that she’s the perfect person to be his evil sidekick.  Being fresh out of henchmen, Blackheart reluctantly agrees and together the two of them embark on a quest to bring down The Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics.

Of course, every villain has a nemesis.  And there he is—Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin—the golden boy himself…

What I liked:  There is a lot going beneath the surface in Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona.   As I was reading this book the 1st thing that occurred to be was–why do the characters allow themselves to be pigeon-holed into what the greater society decides that they should be?  Because of his injury, Lord Blackheart has been regulated to being the villain in the Kingdom.  In contrast, Sir Goldenloin –the supposed hero—has no trouble carrying out some pretty murky orders from his superiors at the Institution. Neither character ever really questions the status quo until the arrival of Nimona into their lives.

At first glance Nimona is portrayed as being a bloodthirsty monster who doesn’t hesitate to maim or kill if it’s convenient. However, as the story progresses the reader begins to sympathize with the hurt child that she is.  With some well-deserved trust issues, I think that Nimona’s arrival in Lord Blackheart’s life is her attempt to re-connect with her humanity.  By the end of the book you too will  agree with Lord Blackheart’s hope that he has “reached her in some small way”.

What I disliked: Not much; except I wish that the text was a bit larger.  As much as I hate sequels, I’m hoping that Ms. Stevenson writes more of Nimona’s adventures.  Don’t forget to read the bonus Christmas story at the end of the book.

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Book Review: Crazy House


Crazy HouseTitle: Crazy House
Author: James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet
Genre: Dystopian

*** 1/2 out of *****

When Becca Greenfield becomes the 9th teenager in their restrictive farming community to disappear, “good” twin Cassie’s search for her wayward sister leads her to a secret maximum security prison for teens awaiting the death penalty.

What I liked: It’s great that the twins have their own voice. Initially the sisters are portrayed as being polar opposites, but the reader–and eventually the girls themselves–discover that they also share similar qualities themselves. As it’s a new series, the romance is not in the forefront, but I do like how it’s not another love triangle as each sister is given a separate love interest.

What I disliked: The unoriginality–too much like The Hunger Games. In the world of United people are apparently segregated by race into communities where its citizens work to send the fruits of their labor to a centralized city. The population is carefully regulated whereas prospective parents must have permission to reproduce, and can only do so when a citizen dies.

The book is a bit graphic in describing the violent death matches the teens are forced to fight in the arena and the corporal punishment for under performing in their duties.  Overall I enjoyed the book and will probably read the inevitable sequel (although I’m not breathlessly waiting for it).