Agatha H and the Airship City, by Phil & Kaja Foglio
Agatha Clay is a simple lab assistant for a university scientist, but her world is turned upside down after a visit from Baron Klaus Wulfenbach. Taken hostage and brought aboard the Baron’s vast airship, Agatha must escape before the Baron discovers her true identity. Sparks are the elite, genius scientists that control most of Europe. And the biggest secret is that Agatha just may be one too.
This is a novelization of the popular Girl Genius webcomic. It’s a fantastic steampunk series that holds up even without the fantastic artwork. The descriptions of the automatons and various other mechanical creations are fantastic and practically steal the limelight. Agatha is a fun character as well, having little idea about her own past, she often seems naïve but is able to hold her own.
Fantastic world-building, amazing creatures and creations, eccentric characters, and mad science comprise this impressive story. With plenty of swash-buckling adventure, mystery, humor, and romance, I found myself completely absorbed within the characters. Though at times the backstories got a bit lengthy and tedious, it did give better insight into the characters. Fans of the comic, as well as other steampunk fans, should thoroughly enjoy this novel.
I received a review copy of the audio version, performed by Angela Dawe and published by Brilliance Audio. Dawe did an amazing job with the multitude of characters and distinguishing between various accents and intonations. In fact, her distinct and separate voices helped me keep up with the huge cast of characters.