by Phil & Kaja Foglio

Night Shade Books, $24.99, 258 pages

Readers of Phil and Kaja Foglio’s epic gaslamp-fantasy webcomic Girl Genius, ( will be elated to learn that their first novel Agatha H and the Airship City, is just as fun and madcap as the original.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a LOYAL reader of the Hugo Award winning webcomic. Its unique blend of fantastic mad science, and humor make it the first thing I read when my computer finally finishes powering up.  For those unfortunate souls that are unaware of the webcomic, this book is the perfect place to learn.

Our heroine, Agatha Clay, is a sweet, and shapely minion, and a failing student at the Transylvania Polygnostic University. Through a series of misadventures, the occasionally clothed Agatha finds herself a captive aboard the enormous Airship fortress of the tyrannical, enormously bored Baron Wulfenbach. Unbeknownst to her, Agatha’s true birthright as the heir to one of the most powerful mad scientist/ruling families has been suppressed. The meek and underdressed girl is in fact, Agatha Heterodyne, Girl Genius, an enormously creative mad scientist.  Soon, Agatha and the Baron’s only son Gilgamesh embark on a series of flirty misadventures.

If this all sounds ridiculous, I absolutely couldn’t agree with you more. It’s ridiculous, and funny, and a little bit sexy. If you’ve ever thought that Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein just wasn’t funny enough, and that Victor Frankenstein could have used a mile long dirigible, bristling with guns, a talking cat and 50-foot tall Robot guards, Agatha H and the Airship City is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Reviewed by Bradley Wright