Cover of the novel 'Agatha H and the Clockwork City.'

Hotlinked from the Girl Genius website. (And also linked to the Girl Genius website!)

I recently went on a one week (pseudo-)vacation. It was short, I worked through it, I had to attend several in-person meetings, but you know what? I got to hang out with my family. That’s always nice. But I also got to do one of my favorite things: Read.

And this time around I ended up reading “Agatha H. and the Clockwork City.” I saw its sequel on the “Just Released” shelves and the back cover sounded ridiculous-fantastic. So I picked up the first book on my Nook.

I had no idea at the time that it was an online comic/graphic novel, though that explains what I was struggling with at first. When I first started the book, I found some of the storytelling clunky. There were some writing choices I found distracting (for some reason, actually writing out “Nooooooooooo” just bugs the daylights out of me.) And occasionally there would be a quirky bit of action–which I later learned were sight gags in the original–that were hard to follow (or just unwieldy) in print.

But those aside, I really enjoyed it. What it’s really good at is world-building. The premise is a wonderful bit of… Well, I was going to say steampunk, but Wikipedia informs me that the authors of Agatha H. specifically coined the term “gaslamp fantasy” for this. But it’s a wonderful mix of alternate history and pseudo-Victorian science. The world, the premise, the history are all very well done and I spent my time trying to mentally map out just how they managed to work it all in there. Other than that, it’s a fun, fast-paced little adventure. It’s not super deep or anything, but man. I do love the world.

I don’t really read graphic novels, so I’m glad this made its way to print! The characters in my head look and act entirely different from what little I’ve seen of the actual art. But that’s the wonder of books, I guess.

If you want to read a summary and see if it sounds interesting, there’s a nice overview on Barnes and Noble.