Book Review – Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona, a graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, is a cozy read. It takes place in a world where the bad guys are often more admirable than the good guys. The hero and the villain have a backstory that adds depth to what could have been a fairly shallow story in less caring hands. 

Note: You can also read this review on Goodreads.

In fact, you could say that about every aspect of Nimona. It could’ve easily fallen into cliche, but never does. It’s familiar enough to be comfortable but different enough to be unique, and the ending will give you the feels without pummeling you over the head EMOTIONS.

Nimona, a graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson

I think Noelle Stevenson was very smart about how she added complexity to Nimona. Every major character has a secret, a defining flaw that shapes how they view the world. It’s an excellent device that creates compelling character arcs for all without belaboring the storytelling.

Beyond this, there’s an underlying sweetness to the characters that took me by surprise. This is where the coziness comes from. Things have happened to them that forces them to be at odds with each other, but there are stronger forces that keep them coming back to each other even in the worst of times.

But even though it’s sweet doesn’t mean it’s bland or without a touch of darkness. Every character has a hidden depth, but I don’t want to give any of it away as it’s integral to the story being told. Suffice to say, what you see on the surface of any character is a result of something else that will be revealed in time. It’s a balance that works really well.

Five Panels from Nimona, a graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson

The artwork is simple yet charming. The characters have just enough complexity to keep you engaged the whole way through. And the plot has one or two twists and turns which aren’t earth-shattering, but they are solid and fun. If you want an easy read that promises to be a good time with a perfect ending for the story it’s trying to tell, then I highly recommend Nimona.

My Illustrations: Why I started and where I’m going

Recently I started drawing again using only black and red sharpies on paper. No pencil, no eraser. I don’t know why I made this decision but it’s been a lot of fun so far.

It started with reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon (read my review). He does regular pieces of art, sketches and blackout poems, stuff like that.

Sounds like fun. I used to draw a lot. I had a comic book I was aspiring to write back in the day, this absurd comedy following a team of bank robbers — a sloth, a turtle, and a badass starfish. It didn’t make it very far, and this was a long, long time ago.

I’m getting more and more interested in graphic novels lately, and have been thinking about writing/illustrating one in the near future. I have no delusions that my illustrations are works of art. But writers like One (creator of One Punch Man, and Mob Psycho 100) have created masterpieces from simple lines. Maybe I can do the same.

But I can’t just jump into that. Drawing a graphic novel would be a huge undertaking and would demand a ton of my time. Plus I have 2 other projects to finish before I can even consider diving in (Grim Curio and The Gin Theif: Eps 2-6ish).

On top of that, I need to develop some kind of style. I can get away with mediocre art if it has a cohesive style that can communicate a story. So that’s my vague goal, creating my own sense of style. I think I’ll fill one more sketch pad with my red and black marker shtick before moving on to pencil, and ink.


If you want to support my artistic journey, whether you’re looking forward to more sketches or a novel release, sign up for my mailing list. It’s free, you get a free ebook copy of Discovering Aberration, and when I make a release I’ll keep you informed. It’s literally an email every 6 months or so. So sign up below.

But if you want to give me money instead, buy a copy of Discovering Aberration or The Gin Thief: Ep 1. Click on one of the book covers on the right to buy. Every sale counts, so buy one for a friend.

Join the S.C. Barrus newsletter to receive a free copy of Discovering Aberration and exclusive monthly updates.