Books, Review, young adult

Review: Agatha H

I’m reviewing two books today, the second and third in a series. I think I reviewed the first, one, you can find that review here. It looks like I didn’t review it, but I did review the comic itself. I really enjoyed reading these two, finished the one and started right in on the other. Fortunately, they are quick reads, because I stayed up until midnight two nights in a row after starting them about 9 pm after homework was done for the day. They kept me giggling all the way through, to the amusement of my First Reader, who told me he rarely sees me react like this to my reading material. 

And I bought these two books for my daughters, not me! 

I’m talking about the Girl Genius novelizations. The Foglios have taken their brilliant webcomic and successfully translated it to a rollicking-good-fun novel. Three of them, and more coming. Agatha, the young Spark who discovers her true identity in the first novel, appears in the Clockwork Princess as a damsel on the run, but not distressed in the slightest. When she falls in with a traveling circus, she loses herself in her work, repairing the elderly machinery they use for transport and other tasks. Along the way she bonds with the strange warrior princess Zeetha, and discovers new depths to her faithful cat companion, Krosp. 

I won’t get into details, I hate to spoil it. Basically, I love the characters, the absurdity of the clanks and the setting, and the whole tangled mess Agatha makes of her budding relationships. I really like that the authors keep her practical and grounded when it comes to those – feelings are interesting, but saving her world comes first, and any way, she wants a man who would build her a really good death ray. 

Lines that made me chortle: 

An injured character insists that Agatha remain with him, “Because she’s got a great big monster-killing gun!'” he exclaimed. “And I want it, and her, right here!” 

Agatha’s comment on romance. “People keep giving me rings,” she confided in him. “But I think a small death ray might be more practical.” 

Now that I have assured you this is well worth reading, here’s the bad news. Unless, like me, you can catch the Kindle version on sale, don’t bother with the ebook. It’s ridiculously priced, especially for a book with proof-checking issues. I’d bought it in hardback as well, for my Junior Mad Scientist, who loved the first one and is looking forward to these. I then bought #3, Voice of the Castle, in paperback, which was a bit of dissonance. The covers are not even remotely similar. Not sure why, the cover on Amazon looks proper. Ah, well, the story was good. Except… This is the part where I tell you to hold off on buying Book #3 until Book #4 is ready to come out. Voice of the Castle ends on one of the worst cliffhangers I’ve seen in a while – certainly outside serial novels (which I why I don’t buy those!). 


Girl Genius
One of these things is not like the other.

Edit: You can find Agatha H and the Airship City priced very reasonably, DRM free, and downloadable in multiple formats over at Baen. Yay! They have the Clockwork Princess, too, at a mere $6.00 for ebook. I think I’ll buy Airship City since my daughter absconded with the paper copy! Sadly, they haven’t got the Voice of the Castle.

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