Book Review: Agatha H and the Airship City

I know this post isn’t really in theme for this blog, but this is the only place I’m actually actively blogging.

The first (which I hope implies more to come) of the novelizations of Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius comic, written by Phil and Kaja. It is the first long form piece of fiction by them that I’ve read, and I was pleased that the writing was strong (writing for comics is a very different skill than writing for novels, since in one case being concise is king, and in the other, you are paid by the word (I know, not exactly but :P) )
Well, the writing was strong and consistently so, and while the novel is pretty much a note for note retelling of the first arc of Girl Genius, it does so in a way that is both complete, and that adds to the world building in the comics by focusing in on things that were not obvious in the comic. The slight change of focus was strongly additive to my enjoyment of the book, and pointed out bits of world building that didn’t carry through the artwork in the comics. The comics and the novel are very much complementary products. It is a fun story, and in both media it is well told. I’m in the middle of a period where I’ve had a lot of trouble focusing on reading things for one reason or another, and I read this book in one sitting. (The last book I did that with was Butcher’s “Changes”) So if you are interested in mad science themed steampunky (gaslight fantasy if you want to be picky) adventures, you could hardly do better than either the comic or the novel. Personally, I’d read the comic first so you get the rich imagery and deeply detailed background world building, but then read the novel. It gives a lot more of the internal world of the characters.
So go, read the comic at http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/ then go to your flbs and order a copy of the book. (The first print run is already sold out and most of the second is already accounted for, but there are already murmurs of a third hard cover printing, so you should be able to get a copy. Especially since some of that sold out first printing was sold to distributors.)

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