Title: Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess
Authors: Phil & Kaia Foglio
Series: Girl Genius #2
Agatha has escaped the clutches of Baron Wulfenbach, although staying free might prove to be a bit more troublesome. Thanks to a circus that performs Heterodyne plays, though, she’s found a good place to hide. Circus life suits her more than she expected, but her ultimate goal remains Mechanicsburg, former home of the Heterodyne family. She isn’t sure what waits for her there, but plenty of forces are eager to stop her from finding out . . .
Really, the Mad Science is the best reason to read these books. Whether it’s the variety of weird and hysterical creations to the things Agatha can do with a circus (given plenty of time and raw material), there’s always something new around every corner. I love the worldbuilding. The Sparks start semi-normal and go all the way to totally insane—is it any wonder Gil lists “mostly sane” as a criteria for a possible wife?
The humor is also excellent. A few of my favorite quotes below, because they speak for themselves.
[Krosp asking Agatha why she didn’t run out to Gil]
“Why do you think? Because it would’ve been hugely stupid.”
The cat waited for Agatha to continue, but there didn’t seem to be any more forthcoming. “That’s it?”
Agatha nodded glumly. “Well, yes. Isn’t that enough?”
Krosp’s tail lashed a few times. “In my experience, that doesn’t seem to stop most people.”
“Oh wait,” Agatha said, “let me guess. This was where I was supposed to insist you let me wield a Quata’ara, even though you, my Kolee, have told me I’m not ready. Possibly I’m supposed to harbor some day-dream that I have a magical affinity for these swords, which will allow me to side-step all this tedious training.
“No doubt this would have led to some hilarious, but painful lesson reaffirming that I am, in fact, not yet ready to touch the swords. I’ll skip that, if I may.”
[To Master Payne]
“People keep giving me rings,” she confided to him, “But I think a small death ray might be more practical.”
Really, the only part of this I didn’t care for was the purpose of the lightning chair. That particular plot twist really annoyed me, and since the aftermath is going to be unfolding for a long time out, it’s something I’ll just have to put up with. There’s also the fact that Agatha continues to find herself in situations where her modesty is compromised, and it’s a shame to see some of the humor continues to revolve around un- or under-dressing her.
All in all this is a great continuation of the series. I rate this book Recommended.