Agatha H. and the Airship City by Phil Foglio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bit worried about this one at first as I had absolutely no fucking idea what was going on or what anything was...there were a staggering amount of new concepts introduced and it felt like, as a reader, I was supposed to know what they were with little or no explanation whatsoever. I always find that kind of start to a book not only a little daunting but off putting. I'm sorry author people but I can't see inside your head and therefore if you are creating a new reality filled with odd inventions and ideas I am not familiar with, I'm gonna need a little more information. My own imagination can only do so much.
Luckily, as the story wore on things did become a bit clearer, though not necessarily because of specific descriptions, rather hints were given as to the nature of some of the things the authors were introducing us to, and bit by bit I was able to fit the pieces together to form a more accurate picture, or at least one clear enough to satisfy me. They are probably completely wrong, but oh well, give a shit!!!
Once I had a better grasp on things, the story did become much better. A lot of books will say they are steampunk, but in reailty that will turn out to be a slight exaggeration, with maybe a brief mention of a wacky device or a pair of goggles, which I'm sorry is not steampunnk, but someones poor attempt to try and and make their book more appealing to certain audiences. This book however is truly filled with all things steampunkery, and once the story really began, about a third of the way in, it became really rather enjoyable. Floating airship castles, clanks of every shape, size and purpose, constructs...so many imaginative ideas all woven together into what became a fun romp. Slightly disappointed as to the humour side of things, or lack thereof, but there were a few funny moments, the rest of the time it just felt like the authors were trying to hard.
Also, continuing on the humour side of things, as I understand it we are supposed to view the character of the Baron as a sort of ruthless overlord who will do whatever it takes to maintain the rule of his Empire. So naturally people should be afraid of him yes? But here's the thing, there was a scene early on, a confrontation between aforementioned leader and a group of his subjects. Rather than trembling in fear, what transpired was a rather odd comedy scene, with a bit of banter, a little slapstick and in general no sign of any fear from any of the characters whatsoever. The narrative felt a smidge confused. If the characters were supposed to fear him, why were they behaving like buffoons and circus clowns? But hey, that could just be me...
A few things still remain unclear, or shall we say a tad fuzzy for me. The nature of the Jagermonsters for one, are they men, beasts, machines or a mixture of all three? And the Lackya too, not 100% sure what they are. I also found the way the Jagers spoke slightly irritating. I have been taught to read words a certain way from childhood, so when you start fucking about with the spelling trying to making them sound German, it kinda stagnates the flow of the story some what as I am having to read the sentence stupidly slowly to try and figure out what, in the name of arse, they are on about. Yet I won't say it was a completely wasted effort, as this did lend a certain charm to the creatures, machines, whatever they were.
But on the whole, an enjoyable adventure> The fact that I have picked up the sequel before I had even finished and have already started should give you an idea of how much I liked this, considering the fact I am willing to dedicate more reading time to the series.
I will ask you though to excuse the slightly poor review as I have a rather nasty cold and this is about all I can manage at the moment. Thank you.
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