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Agatha H and the Airship City (Girl Genius Novels #1)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,948 ratings  ·  326 reviews
Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!

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 invention
Kindle Edition, 269 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Night Shade Books (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Story: B+
Narration: A

Sometimes I like a book because the writing is evocative or a character resonates with me. Sometimes the descriptions are so eloquent I can’t help but be in awe of the writer’s skill. Sometimes there’s a breakneck current of action that sweeps me past any less-than-stellar-writing rocks. Sometimes, I come across a book that is just plain downright fun. Agatha H and the Airship City is that kind of audiobook. It is chock full of mildly amusing lines that are delivered with mo
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Notes: This rating reflects my satisfaction with the novelization of Girl Genius. The comic itself is worth 5 stars. Artwork (used with permission) shown in the review at

Adventure! Romance! MAD SCIENCE!

Agatha H. and the Airship City is a novelization of the first three volumes of the Girl Genius comic created by Phil and Kaja Foglio. This beautiful comic strip, which won the 2009 and 2010 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story, is ongoing
Agatha H. and the Airship City is based on a number of graphic novels by the same authors. And it's... okay. It's a fun adventure story, female protagonist with brains, etc. But something felt off to me -- the way her figure was constantly emphasised, the whole bit where she was in her underwear... I don't know what the context of that is, but if it worked in the comics, it didn't work here. Especially since the opening made her seem so very young, and then suddenly it's all about her being a yo ...more
I picked up Agatha H. and the Airship City, and tucked myself into a chair to enjoy the afternoon. Agatha H. is based off of a Hugo-winning webcomic Girl Genius, and though I haven't read the comic, I thoroughly enjoyed this version of the first three volumes and am thinking of checking out the comic as a result.

I felt a little awkward at the start of the story because even with the prologue, it felt like I was jumping into the middle and that there was history I probably should have known. But,
Creativity's Corner
For those of you who don't know, this book is a novelisation of the webcomic Girl Genius. I was introduced to Girl Genius about a month ago, and I have been hooked ever since. I got caught up by the end of the week (neglecting some possibly important other work) and I have been frustrated at the webcomic format ever since - mostly because I can't get the rest of the story fast enough! So, when I found out there was a book, I was very excited! I wanted more of Agatha's story, and here was the cha ...more
***Dave Hill
I am a Girl Genius fan. I've been reading the comic since it started up, have most of the volumes in hardcover, and think it is da bomb.

Which is, in part, why I am disappointed in the novelization.

Robbed of Phil's imaginative and baroquely-detailed artwork, too much of the tale of Agatha Clay becomes ... well, rather unpleasant, rather than zany and humorous. Sure, the Jaegermonsters are always a hoot, and Othar and Krosp can't help but be amusing. But half the fun of GG are the myriad details t
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 graphi ...more
Tahlia Newland
Agatha H. and the Airship City is a delightful book of tongue in cheek heroism set in a Steampunk alternate reality version of Europe. Mad scientists with bizarre names, a wealth of robotic constructions and the very funny Jagermonsters populate the pages. I kept bursting into giggles as I devoured this wonderful book, which I assume is the first in what should be a very popular series.

Agatha is intelligent, likeable, creative and stands up for herself, but is also rather volitile. The other ch
I really liked this book and the sequel, Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess (review to follow). Since it was originally a comic, there’s a strong sense of imagery to the novel. It’s very easy to picture Agatha and her world in your mind. Phil and Kaja Foglio call it a gaslamp fantasy, instead of steampunk, since biology is a technology as well as mechanics.

Agatha is a strong-minded young woman literally discovering who she is. Her family has lied to her for her entire life, and her beloved lock
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Very good, weird, hilarious, and sometimes creepy steampunk. Can't wait to read more of these!

Reviewed for Bitten by Books.
This book was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. Great characters, action from start to finish and funny. I'm looking forward to continuing with this series.

This got me thinking about steampunk in general. This genre seems so exciting! Adventures, mad scientists, robots, crazy airships, inventions of all kinds. So why am I generally disappointed in it? Why are there so few really awesome steampunk novels (at least from what I've read so far)?

Anyway, I think this is more representative of what I
I was not trilled to discover that this is a retelling of the first graphic novel, now in prose form, and the question that kept popping into mind is "Why was this necessary?"

The graphic novel / webcomic is such an intensely visual experience, from the character designs to the panorama shots to the intricate Easter Eggs buried in detail-packed backgrounds that it was so hard to take the book at face value, especially since much of it is a line-by-line rendering. And reading this as an ebook on a
Audrey Jane
The difficult beginning aside - where it took a while to adapt to the alternating point of views -, once I hit page 50 I was hooked.

This is how I like my steampunk. The steampunk elements aren't merely incidental but rather the central part of the story. This book promises a lot of retro futuristic science, odd inventions and constructs going out of control. It's young-adult without all the familiar tropes. I recommend this series to anyone seeking a light, fun, and fast-paced read with loads o
Jun 17, 2012 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steampunk Fans
I am shocked that this book isn't already listed here. I went through the steps to "create" the book entry. I'm hoping I did it correctly.

I think I picked this e-book up as a "free trial" someplace, but I can say it would have been worth paying for. I'll probably go and get the next one. If you're a fan of fun, fast moving romp type books set in an alternate steampunk world, this is the book for you.

I also suspect that female YA readers will be particularly interested in this book. I think Agath
Honestly, I haven’t’ had this much fun in months.

Novelizations of the webcomic, and adorable, absurd, alarming hilarity from start to finish. It’s “gaslamp fantasy” about historical not!Europe. Not about science but instead about mad science, which is a completely different thing. A classic/cliche story about a young orphans adventures on-the-run from the powers chasing her, with all the expected familial entanglements, and also about being dangerously gifted. Except told so freshly and charmin
I have been looking forward to this ever since I got to interview the Foglios for Galactic Suburbia way back at Aussiecon4, when they announced they'd been given a deal with Night Shade Books for the novels.

Actually, in some ways I have been looking forward to this for even longer: I first read about Agatha Clay in Girl Genius vol 9, the Hugo-nominated (and winning!) graphic novel. I had never heard of it before I got it in the Hugo packet, and... well... it was love. Pure, sweet, love. I read t
April Steenburgh
The worst part about this book? Trying new ways to stifle the chuckles and outright guffaws that manage to slip free while reading.

What a brilliant reintroduction to the Girl Genius world and characters! It is sure make old fans chortle merrily as they flip through the pages, and will attract new fans. For folks who like large doses of mad science and humor with their steampunk there never was a greater creation than Girl Genius.

Agatha H and the Airship City is, essentially, a relaunch of the co
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' ...more
This book was really fantastic! I loved it.

I was drawn in by what seemed to be a steampunk-type theme, and by a character who had the potential to be a real spitfire. The book definitely lived up to my expectations, and then some.

I am really hoping this couple will put out another novel, because I would prefer that to reading the graphic novels series upon which this was based, but I will probably have to check out the online installments (since the book is brand new, and I will have to wait a
This book was OK, but not wonderful. I am not really familiar with the Girl Genius comics, but this book still did not meet my expectations. I don't know, from the title, the cover, and the description I had really high expectations. For some reason, I imagined it would be humorous throughout and it had a few amusing parts (the Jaegermonsters were the best), but was not on the whole a humorous book. The steampunk setting was great, but the plot was hard to follow at certain points. And the endin ...more
This delightful steampunk fantasy isn't quite as good as the graphic novel version, but still a wonderful romp in a universe where Frankenstein would be standard non-fiction reading in school.
By starting at the beginning of the Girl Genius story and retelling it in prose, this is a good jumping-on point. Readers who enjoy this may also enjoy the ongoing graphic version, or a prose version if this one sold well enough to continue.
Agatha has a moderately happy life, with a few minor exceptions. Sh
Fantasy Review Barn

How seriously do you take a book that in no way, shape, or form takes it’s self seriously? ‘Agatha H and the Airship City’ is a novelization taken almost directly from a web comic, and it shows. How much enjoyment a reader takes from the book would depend on how capable they are of turning their brain off. Lucky for me, I can turn my brain off at will, so I enjoyed the hell out of this little steampunk yarn.

This is steampunk with all the trimmings. Alternative Europe, mechanic
So, I've read the comic, several times. I have some of the print versions, I've read the entire thing online.

People have said that this book looses something. And that's true. You don't see the little bit of whimsical detail in the background. You loose trivialities, you loose some of the giggle inducing bits of madness that's a major part of what a mad boy IS.

But you gain something, as well. Agatha's story is tragic. It's a stream of horrible things happening in a horrible world. This book ad
This is the first prose novel adaptation of the webcomic Girl Genius. I bought it because the authors promised more depth than the comic. I'm not actually convinced there is more depth, but can't speak very well to if or how much extra this adds to the comic because it's been awhile since I read the beginning of it. I did really enjoy reading this, though I'm not sure if it would be as satisfying a read if you haven't read the comic. Having the visuals for the characters and gadgets in your head ...more
Finally inter-library loaned this book and I liked it. It was a little... cluttered, seemed like every kind of creature or contraptions the authors could thought of they put into the book. I know this started as a webcomic, so they could draw whatever they wanted and you could see what they meant, but the transition to just written word didn't come off that smoothly, I think. There doesn't seem to be any rules to the science/magic in this world, which made it a little hard to picture in some cas ...more
Dec 28, 2010 Fiona rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of the Girl Genius webcomic, and all steampunk fans.
This is Phil and Kaja Foglio's novelisation of their ongoing Girl Genius webcomic (or rather, the first three volumes of it). The webcomic promises 'Adventure, Romance, Mad Science!' - and that's exactly what you get in this book. It's a lighthearted, fun romp through a world shaped by mad geniuses (those with 'the Spark') and their crazy inventions.

If you already read and love the webcomic, the book won't offer any surprises in terms of plot, but what it does is flesh out the characters and off
Tejas Janet
What a fun ride this was! Never would have read this except for a bookclub challenge. I'm probably one of the few who preferred the novelization format to the original webcomic Girl Genius format, which I do plan to check out though for the drawings.
Mary Catelli
The novelization of the first three Agatha Heterodyne graphic novels.

A faithful retelling. Those who don't want to read the graphic novels will get the story as the Foglios told it. Those who have can get some additional insights, because the medium, naturally, gives them more scope to get inside people's heads as we go through the story of how the Baron came to town, and Agatha discovered who is she is.

In particular, there are some insights into Moloch's behavior that make his later changes mor

I loved this book! I always say that I want to be a mad scientist and was extremely excited when I found a book that was about a girl becoming a mad scientist. This book had some dry humour, twists, and was a good pace for the sequence of events. My only problem, was once again, the romance. That always seems to be the problem.

Side note: I originally picked up this book to make fun of the cover art, only to read the back and sequel with delight.

What really jumped out at me was
H Lynnea
"Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!" This is what the back cover of Agatha H and the Airship City promises, and it pretty well delivers.

This book is a novelization of the first three volumes of the webcomic Girl Genius. A little background on my approach to this: I am a fan of Girl Genius from way back, back when they first published as print comics. So, I was very familiar with the storyline being covered in this novel. However, from that perspective, it was still very much a worth-while and fun
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A popular science fiction fan artist in the 1970s, Phil Foglio began writing and drawing cartoons and comics professionally in the 1980s. His work includes "Magic: The Gathering," "Buck Godot," and the popular series of comics and novels, "Girl Genius," co-written with his wife, Kaja Foglio.

Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist (1977 and 1978)
Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story (2009, 2010, 2011)
More about Phil Foglio...

Other Books in the Series

Girl Genius Novels (3 books)
  • Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius Novels, #2)
  • Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle (Girl Genius Novels, #3)
Girl Genius, Vol. 1: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank (Girl Genius #1) Girl Genius, Vol. 2: Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City (Girl Genius #2) Girl Genius, Vol. 3: Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine (Girl Genius #3) Girl Genius, Vol. 5: Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius #5) Girl Genius, Vol. 4: Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams

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“Now I am in control!" He followed this statement with a burst of laughter that showed the owner had done a fair share of gloating in his time, and had the basics down pat.” 6 likes
“Agatha was a connoisseur of headaches, and was relieved at the transitory nature of this one.” 4 likes
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