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Agatha H. and the Airship City (Girl Genius) Paperback – August 1, 2011
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Attention Science Fiction Fans
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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.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Phil and Kaja Foglioare the cocreators of the Hugo, Eagle, and Eisner Award&nominated webcomicGirl Genius. The two have contributed artwork to the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering and have collaborated on the gaming comic stripWhat&s New with Phil & Dixie.
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Top Customer Reviews
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-.
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. By now they are deeply woven through both story and backstory. Among their narrative duties, they serve as clowns whose antics conceal both foreshadowing and backstory. A few new incidents near the start of the novel had me laughing out loud. (Clowns or not, they are capable of noble action and sacrifice.)
Is this as good a novel as the graphic story is a graphic story? No, it is not. That's not bad news: the graphic story's artwork, pacing, and working out of story details are so good that it would be a wonder if the novel could match it. The most apparent weakness is that details of the milieu that can be background in graphic form must be explained, and sometimes the explanation pauses the story for detail that might better be given elsewhere. This is a matter of technique and a basic problem for all SF&F writing, and unless the Foglios choose not to improve (for the sake of style, perhaps) they surely will.
It is possible that writing this novel required the Foglios to make another pass over their story notes. The overall plot and the key characters were written before the first published page was drawn, promising a tightly woven story. Phil and Kaja Foglio have delivered magnificently on that promise. This novel may help them continue to do so.
If you want the primary source for the Girl Genius story, continue to buy the graphic novels and read the eponymous web site. That's what they are for. If you are already a fan of the story, or cannot bear the long graphic form, then buy this book. But if you skip the graphic novels, you are missing an awful lot of richness, depth, and fun.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book hit the spot!!! I have been skim-ditching, it's a horrible habit (one I am trying to wean from and sort of my thing lately), like crazy...Read more