Girl Genius, Volume 1: Agatha H. and the Airship City

Girl Genius, Volume 1: Agatha H. and the Airship City

by Kaja Foglio, Phil Foglio

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Overview

The Industrial Revolution has escalated into all-out warfare. It has been eighteen years since the Heterodyne Boys, benevolent adventurers and inventors, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Today, Europe is ruled by the Sparks, dynasties of mad scientists ruling over — and terrorizing — the hapless population with their bizarre inventions and unchecked power, while the downtrodden dream of the Hetrodynes' return.
At Transylvania Polygnostic University, a pretty, young student named Agatha Clay seems to have nothing but bad luck. Incapable of building anything that actually works, but dedicated to her studies, Agatha seems destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But when the University is overthrown by the ruthless tyrant Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, Agatha finds herself a prisoner aboard his massive airship Castle Wulfenbach — and it begins to look like she might carry a spark of Mad Science after all.

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597802123
Publisher: Night Shade
Publication date: 08/01/2011
Series: Girl Genius Series , #1
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 609,708
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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Girl Genius, Volume 1: Agatha H. and the Airship City 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
ShadrachAnki More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to find this book on the shelf at my local Barnes & Noble. I have been reading the Girl Genius comic for several years, so a novelisation was of interest to me. The writing is solid, though some stylistic elements may take getting used to, particularly if you are unfamiliar with steampunk and/or Girl Genius. Content-wise this novel covers the same time period and story elements as the first three volumes of the Girl Genius comic. There are some minor differences between the two, and the novel expands on several background story elements that aren't really covered predominantly in the comic. Unfortunately, reading the novel doesn't let you see all the intricate background details that are shoved into the art in the comic. Including said details would be impractical; if nothing else it would completely bog down and derail the story. So as an example, in the novel we have to be content with knowing Gil's personal library has bookcases crammed with books, and some of the broad categories those books fall under. In the comic we can read the titles of many of those books (things like Who's Who; What's What; Cultivate a Maniacal Laugh; and Oops!) and get some chuckles. All in all I would say this is a good companion work to the comic, not a replacement or substitute. They work best together. Reading the novel had me jumping back in to reread the comic, because I was craving all the little humorous details that just didn't translate over to the written word.
salimbol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As the tagline says, "Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!" - and this book delivers in spades. It was just TONS of fun from beginning to end. It's based on the first three graphic novels in the Girl Genius series, and it has many of the strengths of those graphic novels (sharp dialogue, humour and sense of whimsy), while at the same being able to convey more of the characters' backstories and thoughts, and really revel in the world-building. Would I enjoy it so much if I weren't a fan of the graphic novels? I honestly am not sure - I'd still recommend starting with the originals, but OTOH I introduced my sister to the series via the audiobook, and she really liked it (speaking of which, I have to say that's it's a funny experience, reading a book after having listened to the audiobook first; I could totally hear narrator Angela Dawe's voices for all the different characters). A favourite quote:[Agatha:]' "So what you're telling me is that you - Gilgamesh Wulfenbach - the person next in line to the despotic, iron-fisted rule of the Wulfenbach Empire - have no deadly, powerful weapons lying around whatsoever! That's just great! What kind of Evil Overlord are you going to be, anyway?""Apparently a better one than I'd thought," Gil said, suddenly thoughtful.' (Heh)On a final note, I do love the cover art for this novel, even if its Agatha isn't as¿ buxom as I'm used to seeing her.
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seeing as I started playing D&D about 33 years ago, the Foglios are like old friends. It's great to see their stuff getting popular. I was told about the Girl Genius web comics by the same friend that introduced me to D&D (and hence Phil and Dixie) and Robert Asprin's Myth-series (illustrated by Phil). Of course between kids and work and dogs I never found time to read them. I even saw the book heavily discounted at a Borders "closing sale" and didn't pick it up. Obviously fate/god/the flying spaghetti monster meant me to get into this series. Because a few weeks later there it was on my Amazon Vine list - Free and Audio just go so well together I couldn't resist. At first I thought the narrator's voice was sub-par but once the accents kicked in I really liked it. The story was fun and filled with the type of characters you'd find in Robert Asprin's myth novels (sorry but it's hard to separate them when in both series' you're picturing Phil's artwork). Lots of action and the mystery of Agatha's background. Plus you're never sure if Gil is really a good guy or a bad guy. This is not serious stuff but unless you're just completely new to the Foglio's style you knew it wouldn't be. The biggest problem I have with the book is it's ending. It really seems to just stop in mid-scene. Like the budget ran out or something. It's definitely a cliff hanger and it sounds like to find out what happens next I'm going to have to check out the webcomic or buy the newest graphic novel (not free and not audio). So hopefully karma (or Santa Claus) will drop a copy of it in my lap sometime in the next 4 months.
rahowe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As an insatiable reader and longtime fan of the Girl Genius comic, how could I pass up the opportunity to catch its debut as a novel? While the comic genius of the graphic version ensures that it will always be my favorite incarnation of Agatha's story, the new format is eminently entertaining and a rollicking good time all round. I would recommend this novelization to any fan; it is quite a bit of fun to find out what the girl genius universe looks like in black and white, and there are snatches of things to come for the diligent reader. However, for those new to Girl Genius, I would urge starting with the comic, which remains more engaging, intricate, and satisfying than the text-only version.
wkelly42 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(This review is of the audiobook)I hate trying to compare different media incarnations of things I enjoy. They are just so different, and they're MEANT to be different -- it makes comparison difficult, and the comparisons usually fall well short of the mark. So I'm not going to compare this audiobook to the online comic that I've been reading for years. I'm really not. Not much, anyway. ;-) The story that the Foglios tell is incredible, and anyone who is interested in steampunk at all should enjoy the book right away. Every mad scientist trope is done, redone, and mocked in the course of the books (and comic, of course). The greatest thing about the audiobook would have to be that it gives some more insight into how the characters are thinking, and some more backstory. The greatest thing about the comic is that it's visual, so you can SEE the wonderful things that the Foglios have invented for us. And of course, the characters. I don't think I'd recommend one format over the other, though I think if I was recommending to someone unfamiliar with the Girl Genius universe I'd say get the audiobook first, then pick up the comics as soon as you are finished it. But if you enjoy steampunk, humor, science, and foolishness, get this book and listen repeatedly.
Keeline on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read the webcomic Girl Genius and thought that the novel would be set in that world but not repeat the story of the comic.I was surprised that it was mostly a novelization of the first year of the comic.While this is a great way to expose new people to the wonderful world of Girl Genius, which is wonderful, fans of the comic will only find a few items which seem new.We get a few tantalizing clues to plots going on in the comic which is great. It is also a great excuse to reread the comic (which I've done once since the first time I read the archive of the comic--you have to start from the beginning, so there is lots to read before you'll catch up to today's comics).New readers should enjoy this introduction to the wonderful world of Girl Genius but I hope they go to the comic which is one of the best webcomics out there. (or buy the graphic novels)--KK
shadrach_anki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to find this book on the shelf at my local bookstore (it took them a while to get it in). I have been reading the Girl Genius comic for several years, so a novelisation was of interest to me.The writing is solid, though some stylistic elements may take getting used to, particularly if you are unfamiliar with steampunk and/or Girl Genius. Content-wise this novel covers the same time period and story elements as the first three volumes of the Girl Genius comic. There are some minor differences between the two, and the novel expands on several background story elements that aren't really covered predominantly in the comic.Unfortunately, reading the novel doesn't let you see all the intricate background details that are shoved into the art in the comic. Including said details would be impractical; if nothing else it would completely bog down and derail the story. So as an example, in the novel we have to be content with knowing Gil's personal library has bookcases crammed with books, and some of the broad categories those books fall under. In the comic we can read the titles of many of those books (things like Who's Who, What's What, Cultivate a Maniacal Laugh, and Oops!) and get some chuckles.All in all I would say this is a good companion work to the comic, not a replacement or substitute. They work best together. Reading the novel had me jumping back in to reread the comic, because I was craving all the little humorous details that just didn't translate over to the written word.
Silvernfire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For some reason, telling the same story in prose and as a graphic novel is a challenge. For every graphic novel that falls flat when retold in words alone, there's a "comic-book adaptation" of a prose novel that leaves you wincing. Since I love the Girl Genius webcomic/graphic novels, I was braced for a not-all-that-great story when I started reading this novelization. The novel was much better than I expected, but not five-star material. In the end, it's the original version's humor that doesn't survive the translation to solid prose, but the story is solid enough.What it boils down to is this: when the Foglios are narrating something original to this novel, the story shines. When they're relating a scene from the graphic novels this book is based on, the story is still decent enough, but it feels well-worn and sort of flat. And since the authors are adding bits to scenes from the graphic novels¿a little back story here, a character's thoughts there¿this means the story quality can change from one paragraph to the next, and back again in the third, while in terms of the story, you're still reading the same scene.So is it worth the read, if you've read the original already? A qualified yes. I think all those little additions will add a lot to my next rereading of the graphic novels. Sometimes a little expository lump really is the most efficient way to give the reader necessary information, and prose novels are better for that than graphic ones. But a reader already familiar with the original should probably go into this accepting that it won't be perfect.
uncleop22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The novel was not as amazing - by a long shot - as the web comic. The web comic - or its printed equivalents - are well worth reading and re-reading.Perhaps I am spoiled by "deeper" novels - I'm a Stephen Donaldson and Terry Pratchett fan - but the translation from comic to novel seems to be more of a transcription.The good news is that most of the "new" information - like chapter one - offers a decent read. But much of the novel feels like, "OK, in this panel we see the characters doing Y and Z, and saying, 'blargh'. Now in this panel, we see..." That just doesn't offer a particularly exciting or captivating experience.In addition to buying their book on Kaja Day, I bought Piers Anthony's conclusion to the Mode series. Anthony's style in DoOon Mode seems similar to the Foglios'. Neither compares, IMO, to Pratchett's "Wintersmith", to pick one example.I recently read both Wintersmith and another of Anthony's Xanth novels ("Dragon on a Pedestal", which I first read two decades ago). I read each for myself, and then aloud to my late daughter when she no longer could do so herself. Wintersmith "worked", while I felt Dragon was just OK.In this manner, I don't think the AHatAC overall will hold up to a re-read as well Wintersmith did. I hope that the panel-by-panel replay style can be updated in future novels to something more like the Chapter One pre-story about the Heterodyne Boys; the pre-story was not something we had seen in the comic (directly) and was far more readable on its own.I am happy to have "helped" Studio Foglio by buying the novel, but I also look forward to them either tuning their craft in subsequent goes or at least finding a better editor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seldom have I tried to read a more disjointed book. Spent the first 42 pages just trying to figure out what it was about then gave up. Wondered if this was maybe book 3 or 4 of a series. I can only assume it appeals to steampunk fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
I’m not quite sure where to start this review. I finished Agatha H and the Airship City, but I’m not quite sure what I read. I’m confused and perhaps that confusion lead to me finishing the book in hopes that my confusion would be cleared. There are so many characters in this book and they don’t seem to be properly introduced. Everyone is seemingly connected, but those connections are so haphazardly revealed and usually in the middle of a fight or arguement so it gets lost in the action. That is one plus to this book. There is a lot of action. It keeps moving at a good clip. When you are working with geniuses (called Sparks) who tend to foil their own plans as often as they succeed it requires the hero or heroes to step up and make good (or at least try). And that is where this book fails again. I’m not sure who the hero or heroes are. There is no central conflict to the book and it’s pretty obvious, I think, from the introduction of Agatha what she is so her scantily clad mis-adventures on board Castle Wulfenbach get old. So basically you are waiting 100 or 150 pages from someone to to actually tell Agatha what she is (she’s a smart cookie, but can’t put those pieces together) and another 100 or so pages after that for another character to reveal her parentage. This book just seemed to be a hot mess in the end. A girl genius is cool and all, but for a genius she is still pretty dense. There were things that happened to her again and again (falling asleep, waking up in her skivvies at a workbench covered in oil only to be discovered almost every time by a man) and she couldn’t put the pieces together or at least get the idea to sleep fully clothed. I was feeling pretty exasperated by the end. I will give the authors credit for giving Agatha a boy that admires her brains and respects her for them. However, that isn’t enough to keep me reading the other books in this series.
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
Great fun! It kept me entertained the whole way. Now I want more adventures!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would have liked to buy this on the nook but it's just too expensive. My advice: get it from the library before buyimg it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun and entertaining adaptation of the web comic, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Bill_Newman More than 1 year ago
This was a good read overall but would have benefited from more back-story. Perhaps there are books that pre-date this that would have helped explain the world this is happening in. I spent too much time trying to figure out what was going on to really enjoy the book. I've bought the #2 book but haven't read it yet.
russellr More than 1 year ago
if you like steam punk this is a series to look into. with the crazy ideas and odd world most any one would enjoy exploring this world.
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