Agatha H. and the Airship City (Girl Genius Novels (Hardcover)) Hardcover – 4 Jan 2011
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Overall, if you enjoy steampunk, adventure stories, science fiction or fantasy you should pick this up and is defintaelly a good read. I would give it a A- for a starting novel.
I enjoyed the book, I felt it was well writen for being an adaptation of the web-comic Girl Genius (which I am a fan of). The steampunk themed Europe the authors have dreamed up is amazing. They do a good job of describing the different steampunk inspired devices and enviornment without losing the reader in technical jargon that doesn't add anything to the book. The main characters are well developed, however there are a lot of supporting characters in this first novel that made an appearance that is going to be easy to lose track of in future books. The other drawback is that it seemed a bit short, however since I do read the webcomic I understand why they stopped where they did as it was a natural stopping point.
World Building: A
They do a good job of building a unique steampunk world, solid A.
This is the first book of the series, which introduces the world and the main character Agatha, it finished up the main plot of this story nicely and leaves a couple of sub-plots open that leave you wanting more, solid A.
The main characters are portrayed very well, but as I mentioned above some of the supporting cast that was introduced who played only a small part in this book is going to be hard to remember, will be curious to see how the authors deal with this going forward, B+.
The length was disappoiting, again I know where they stopped where they did due to this being a retelling of the webcomic but would have liked to have seen it fleshed out a bit, maybe add some additional details about the world, B-.
If you like the story, then you'll know if you want to buy the novelization. Mostly I just wanted the Kindle version of the novel because it's a more convenient way to enjoy the story when I'm out of the house, and because the novelization includes a few extra details not included in the web comic.
It's set in an alternate Victorian era Europe which is overrun with mad scientists (called "sparks") who have the ability to create devices that violate the normal rules of science. Most of the protagonists and antagonists are mad scientists, and they're all as deliriously insane as you could hope, and most of the normal humans willing to work with/for them are just as bonkers.
If you like action and humor in a steampunk setting, you're sure to enjoy it.
Also, how to recreate the visual humor of the original? The Foglios add many new, extra touches which make Europa more real and provide extra smiles. Mentions of glass crabs, mimmoth invasions, Jaegermonsters "schtealing" boots (but not ham), and foods on sticks made me laugh.
I also love the non-Foglio cover art. It's neat to see a different interpretation of Agatha. Tom Kidd's depiction is true to detail but done in a realistic vein. I admit it got me thinking. A Girl Genius movie, perhaps? That would be the bomb! (What? He threw a *bomb* at me!) I can just see the opening scenes...The Heterodyne Boys prologue in sepia tones, narrated by Phil, leading into Phil storytelling on the street, as in Volume I page one. Then a pan back to show all Beetlesburg during the credits, ending with a zeroing in on Clay Mechanical. Continue with novel chapter 1 and Agatha getting ready for University. And then Agatha can walk right by Phil again on her way in. Of course, Kaja will be the lovely lady selling sugar frogs behind him.
ARRRG! Well, I can dream, right?
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