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Agatha H. and the Airship City (Girl Genius) Hardcover – January 2, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews
Book 1 of 10 in the Girl Genius Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The Hugo Award-winning Foglios (Girl Genius) present the first three volumes of their popular gaslight fantasy comic in novelized form, maintaining the zany energy, witty repartee, creative characterization, and innovative world-building of the original. Agatha Clay is a university lab assistant in a world filled with madboy scientists, dangerous automata, and not quite human soldiers with silly Germanic accents. She soon finds herself a pawn in political power struggles when her locket is stolen and she is taken hostage on the airship of the powerful Baron Klaus Wulfenbach. While trying to stay alive long enough to discover the truth, she begins to discover her personal history and genius talents of her own. This version keeps closely to the original plot, and uses most of the original dialogue, but also provides expanded scenes and character interiority that will delight regular fans of the series. Although this book is likely not the best way to experience the Foglios' talent for the first time, and cannot do justice to the sheer buxomness of its main character, it is entirely comprehensible and enjoyable on its own without its comic counterparts. (Jan.)
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About the Author

PHIL & KAJA FOGLIO are famous for their comic book series "Girl genius". This year alone, Girl Genius, Volume 8 won the World Science Fiction Society s prestigious Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story and Girl Genius was named as one of the thirty most important comics of the decade by Comic Book Resources. Over the last eight years, Phil Foglio was nominated for a Hugo Award as "Best Professional Artist," the series has twice been nominated for the Eisner Award and won five Web Cartoonist Awards.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; First Edition edition (January 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781597802116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597802116
  • ASIN: 1597802115
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

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.

Plot/Story: 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.

Characters: B+
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+.

Length: 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-.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Agatha H. and the Airship City (the novel) is a second look at the Agatha Heterodyne "Girl Genius" story now being developed in the authors' graphic novels, the most recent two of which have won the Hugo for Best Graphic Story. As such, it should be taken as a secondary source.

This volume covers the story we met in the first three volumes of the graphic story: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank, Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City, and Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine.

Phil Foglio has stated in interviews that one part of the Girl Genius story is what happens to legends over time. The legends about Agatha's parents and uncle have grown with time; should we not expect the same of the legends about Agatha? In fact, there are some details changed and snippets of story added. A prologue tantalizes with glimpses of history and historical characters and perturbs the historical timeline developed by fans, hinting at clues or vital constraints. Other changes deepen and richen the character development without, so far as I can tell, damaging the story. We learn a few new things and are reminded of some old ones. Some lines of fan speculation are cut off, leaving us to focus on better questions.

The Girl Genius story is all about the backstory. Bit by bit through the graphic novels we've gotten history, found questions in it, and gotten answers that have provided fascinating and bigger questions. That essential story dimension does not change.

The Foglio humor still glows. Much of it revolves around the Jaegermonsters. If you are a fan, you probably know that the Jaegermonsters were a late addition; Phil was already drawing the comic books in which the first part of the story appeared when they were invented.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I feel a little guilty about only giving this three stars -- I *love* the webcomic, and obsessively check at 9PM Pacific Time Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday evenings to see each new page. I grab the graphic novels as soon as they come out. The Foglios have made a stunning alternative world, their art is amazing, they've crafted a fabulously intricate plot that has gone on for years with cliffhangers, twists and revelations on almost every page, etc. They richly deserve every accolade it has received.

When I heard this book was coming out, I immediately pre-ordered it, but was a little nervous. I didn't know if they could write prose as dazzling as their webcomic and, while I craved learning more of backstory, I feared the whole house of cards might fall down if they tried to explain too much.

This is definitely better than my worst fears -- you do learn a bit of backstory, and a few episodes from the first three volumes of the graphic novels are retold with enlightening new details. And the prose is servicable, if not dazzling.

But it really is mostly the story from the first three volumes, much of the same dialog, with a few adjectives tossed in to replace what was done in the artwork of the books. It just isn't the same!

For those already in love with the characters, it may not matter -- just seeing the familiar lines in the book immediately conjures up the page of the comic in which they occur and the characters you already know so well. But it's all a bit flatter without all that support.
It was Z. who felt he had to state the obvious. "It's a talking cat."
Theo shrugged. "Well, we're in a Heterodyne story now. These things happen." The others nodded.
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