the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Phil & Kaja Foglio’ Category

Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess (a Girl Genius novel) by Phil & Kaja Foglio

published in 2012

where I got it: purchased new










First there was the webcomic.  then came the graphic novels (identical to the webcomic, just in printed form). Now there is the novelizations.

That could too easily be a recipe for disaster, but this is the team of Phil and Kaja Foglio. Disaster isn’t in their vocabulary. Not satisfied with developing the Hugo award winning Girl Genius comic series, they’ve dived headfirst into writing the novelizations of the comics. (read my review of the first novel, Agatha H and the Airship City, here) Not interested in webcomics or graphic novels? You should still pick up their Agatha Heterodyne novels. Why?  Because they are simply fantastic. These books have it all: characters with incredible depth, humor, doomed romances, hysterically ridiculous mad science, more humor, family secrets, excellent dialog, circus folk, monsters, and an all around good time. You will have a smile on your face the entire time you are reading these novels.  Don’t get me wrong, the graphic novels are great (I own them all), but the novels are even better.

In a semi-fictitious Europe, those with the ability to breath life into machines are known as Sparks. Being a Spark isn’t always a good thing, because they are so intent on making amazing creations that they often don’t realize last week’s amazing creation has burned down the village. Some Sparks hide their abilities, others survive by volunteering to work for the powers that be.

Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess is the second book in this series, and it picks up right where the first book, Agatha H and the Airship City left off. Along with the talking cat Krosp, she’s escaped from Baron Wulfenbach’s flying castle, learned who her parents really are (the famous Bill Heterodyne and Lucrezia Mongfish), and discovered that she is indeed, a very powerful Spark. It doesn’t matter that she’s developed some pretty strong feelings for the Baron’s son, Gilgamesh, as she’ll probably never see him again anyway.

Alone in the forest, she comes across a traveling circus, who allow her to travel with them.  Agatha doesn’t tell the troupe who she really is, and they are hiding their own secrets. The troupe puts on what are known as “Heterodyne shows”, with the actors performing the madcap adventures of Bill and Barry Heterodyne, and their sidekicks Klaus and Lucrezia. It sure is uncanny how well Agatha can imitate Lucrezia on stage! She sounds just like her!

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I couldn’t make it to World Steam Expo this year, but some good friends of mine, N & R, did.

N & R got to spend some time with these lovely folks,

Oh, those folks? They’re only Phil & Kaja Foglio, the creators of some of my favorite steampunk graphic novels and this gem of a novel as well.

My friends went to World Steam Expo, and all I got was . . . .

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Agatha H and the Airship City, by Phil & Kaja Foglio

Published in 2011

Where I got it: purchased new

Why I read it: I adore the Girl Genius Graphic Novels

I don’t remember the last time I smiled so much while reading a book.

I’m nervous to simply call Agatha H and the Airship City a novelization of the first three volumes of Girl Genius (reviewed here), perhaps it’s more of a companion?  Yes, the plotting and characters are the same, practically word for word,  but the novel gives you much more background on just about everything – the state of the world,  the characters, and most importantly exactly what a spark is. Can you enjoy Agatha H and the Airship City if you haven’t read the graphic novels? Absolutely and vice versa. The novel offers all those little details that there simply isn’t room for in a graphic novel, and this is much appreciated as the pace of the early graphic novels is fast and furious.  If you enjoy humor, adventure, light romance, you will simply adore this book.

Did I mention it’s hilarious?

Agatha Clay is a frustrated student.  Nothing she builds ever works, and when she tries to think  through mechanical problems she gets headaches. It’s amazing she hasn’t been fired from her job as lab assistant at Transylvania Polygnostic University. The day of Baron Wulfenbach’s surprise visit to the lab coincides with a strange apparition in the sky and the last regular day of Agatha’s life. In a case of very (very!) mistaken identity, Agatha finds herself a guest/hostage of Castle Wulfenbach, a giant floating dirigible and the mobile center of the Wulfenbach empire.

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Wordless Wednesday? Photoshop Phridays?  

I dub today to be Cool Shit Thursday.  Last night I finished Kameron Hurley’s (@kameronhurley) new novel God’s War, and I haven’t started the review yet.  I feel bad that I haven’t posted here in a few days,  so here is some cool shit for you.   It’s all interesting, I promise.

Impatient?  scroll to the bottom.  There is something there you will WANT to see.    TRUST ME.

We had an ice storm earlier this week.  Nothing really out of the ordinary for our part of the country. Anyway, a HUGE tree came down in a local playground . . .  

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It’s January 12th, and you know what that means!

Happy Birthday Kaja Foglio, it must be Girl Genius day!

Not familiar with Girl Genius? Imagine if your favorite action adventure steampunk graphic novel was also a sex comedy. with talking cats. Now make it funnier. Now add some Jagermonsters. 

and a giant squid? wearing spectacles?

anyways, if you’re looking for something a little lighter, a little zanier, a little sexier, a little genius check yourself out some Girl Genius. Written by Phil and Kaja Foglio (yes, *that* Phil Foglio), Girl Genius offers adventure! romance! mad science!

and jagermonsters!

Go check out my reviews, you can find them under the “Manga/Graphic Novels” tab up top.  It’s cool, I’ll wait.

the very, very, very first page of the webcomic is here and go check out Kaja’s Live Journal. Wish her a happy birthday, and while you’re at it, check out the GG novel, Agatha H and the Airship City, from Nightshade Books.

und mebey Iz forgot to menshun, dere iz de jagermonsters.

Need to get caught up on the story? Check out my review of the first three volumes of the hilariously wonderful Girl Genius here.

So far, volumes four and five are my favorites. The main plot line moves forward, Agatha gets some insanely fabulous character development, we get to meet the mythical Geisterdamen, broad brushstrokes of worldbuilding help set everything up for what’s coming, we get some hints about the not so good deeds of the Heterodyne family, and my most favorite minor character of the whole story is introduced. And yes, he’s a Jagerkin. Don’t judge me!

Where the first few volumes of Girl Genius were character and world introduction, sex comedy and shooting down out of control clanks with home made laser guns, volumes four and five are more subtlety, foreshadowing, character and world development, math jokes, sex comedy, and shooting down out of control clanks with home made laser guns. Tis good stuff.

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thanks to TJ at Dreams and Speculation and her article on graphic novels at Dirty Sexy Books for getting me to write an article on Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius.

I’ve been working on this article for like three days, and I’m finding it very hard to talk about Girl Genius. Why? Well, I read a lot of dark and tragic stuff. plenty of magic, plenty of violence, plenty of really bad guys, a bare handful of good guys and lots and lots of melancholy. So that’s what I’m used to writing about.

And Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio is the opposite of all that. It’s a sex comedy with mad scientists and shy students and sentient castles and blimp cities and monster soldiers who have crushes on  monster construct nannies. It’s a riot of science and smarts and silliness and romance and adventure. It’s got it’s own mythology and it’s own cult following. It makes me giggle uncontrollably and want to sign up for Steampunk conventions. Yes, that Phil Foglio of What’s New with Phil and Dixie and Mythadventures.  umm, and SPANC.

and you should be reading it.

AND, I’m even going to tell you what it’s about! Or at least the first three volumes, which I have in a super awesome omnibus edition. Read the rest of this entry »

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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.