Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Nimona Book Poster Image
Brash shape-shifting hero soars in graphic-novel fantasy.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Nimona plays with the conventions of heroic fantasy and presents a more-complex-than-usual meditation on heroism and villainy.

Positive Messages

It's never too late to apologize for your mistakes. It's not always easy to tell who's a hero and who's a villain.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nimona is brash, stubborn, fearless, and loyal, ready to defend her mentor in any way imaginable. She enjoys breaking the law, however, and needs to learn to temper her enthusiasm for adventure with compassion for her opponents.


There's plenty of violent action in Nimona, but it's generally cartoonish, bloodless, and not likely to upset sensitive readers. Blackheart loses an arm in a jousting "accident." There are sword fights, a brawl in a tavern, attacks by dragons and other wild beasts, and ray-gun battles.


Ballister develops a romantic relationship with a female scientist.


Swearing is limited to "dammit," "damn," "hell," "crap," and "pissed." Each is used less than a half-dozen times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink presumably alcoholic beverages in a tavern.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nimona is based on an award-winning Web comic and tells the story of a shape-shifting girl who wants to be the sidekick of a supervillain. Set in a fantasy world full of knights, witches, and dragons, the story is action-packed and frequently funny, with a strong-willed female protagonist who isn't afraid of speaking her mind. Violent scenes are generally cartoonish and not likely to disturb sensitive readers. There is little sexual content or substance use, and potentially strong language is limited to "dammit," "damn," "hell," "crap," and "pissed." Nimona is also available as an audiobook. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynshonka April 20, 2020

Spoiler alert, not for those under 12

I agree with what the other kids and parents have said, particularly that this is a great and well written story but not for the softer hearted or younger audie... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySloogCat September 5, 2019


OH MY GOD, SUCH AN ENGAGING BOOK!!! The art is top tier and the story is relatable and dark. It's kind of like Megamind except through the viewpoint of a v... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJBMuggleton June 21, 2018

light hearted at the beginning but gets deeper and darker later on

Nimona is a amazing story with many great twists and a sad conclusion (sorry for ruining it for you). It takes the look and concept of a light-hearted fantasy a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Shape-shifting Nimona wants nothing more than to be the faithful and adventurous sidekick of supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart. She's full of bold ideas, but most of them involve numerous casualties. Blackheart wants Nimona to be a bit less rash and bloodthirsty, and they develop a plan to discredit Blackheart's nemesis, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, and the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics. In doing so, they learn what it means to be a hero and what kind of legacy they want to leave behind.

Is it any good?

It's hard to resist the brash audacity of the title character of this well-constructed, fast-moving, funny, and touching fantasy. Nimona is the first to rush off to battle in the name of supervillainy, but there are times when it's better for her to be more discreet. With a loose drawing style that facilitates both big action sequences and quieter character interactions, writer/illustrator Noelle Stevenson knows how to construct and execute each scene for maximum humor, even when the story takes a more serious turn. Nimona is a dazzling debut, a graphic novel to be savored by young and old alike.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of graphic novels and comics. What kinds of stories are best suited for the medium?

  • How do people decide whether someone is a hero or a villain? Is it possible to fit both roles at the same time?

  • How can you repair a broken friendship? What makes for a good apology?

Book details

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