Literature: Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess

A novelization of the second major Story Arc of the award-winning webcomic series Girl Genius. It follows the webcomic very closely, often having a distinct 1:1 mapping between panel and paragraph, but it does have a few interesting departures, omissions, and expansions.

Tropes included:

  • Adaptation Expansion: More than in Agatha H. and the Airship City; for example, Agatha and Lars' relationship is given more time to develop.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Agatha finds Lars' "madboy" voice rather appealing. Also part of her attraction to Tarvek seem to be connected with liking the sound of his voice.
  • Author Avatar: Professor Phil Folgio appears in the book.
  • Berserk Button: Agatha accidentally hits one of Zeetha's in a moment of snarky Genre Savvy, refusing to insist she learn how to wield one of Zeetha's swords since she knows she'd learn she wasn't prepared to do so. Zeetha goes into a rage, but she does eventually explain her problem. Skifander tradition involves learning to wield the swords, and her much more skilled cousin had a fatal accident trying.
  • Bottled Heroic Resolve: Lucrezia indulges.
  • Brick Joke: See below under Gone Horribly Right; Dame Aedith is later shown being harassed by the bat while trying to do her knife-act in Sturmhalten.
  • Broken Bird: Pix. Exactly what caused it is unclear, but the woman has a great deal of issues.
  • Curious Qualms of Conscience: Wooster can't figure out why he feels guilty about alienating Agatha and Gil when it's obviously for England's benefit.
  • The Dead Have Names: Averted. When Tarvek and Clank!Lucrezia discuss one of Anevka's dead servants, Tarvek admits he has no idea what the man's name was. Lucrezia decides to name him after a cat of hers that she murdered.
  • Dirty Business: Wooster realizes this after the fact.
  • Everythings Worse With Sharks: A bizarre shark-like construct, with mouths at both ends, is one of the many horrific things in the Wastelands. Fortunately for the circus, it ran into Da Boyz first, and wound up being dinner.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: A variation is told with Baron Wulfenbach and two snake-like constructs. Klaus was wearing body armor under his coat, and chose to spare the life of the construct who was able to go against her nature and not try to kill him.
  • Footnote Fever: Footnotes explain on points and backstory.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: There are very few in the Circus who actually like Pix, possibly on account of her being rude, haughty, self-focused, loud, and just generally unpleasant. Though everyone admits that she is an excellent actress.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Vampire-hunter Dame Aedith tests a small box-like device that Agatha has been fiddling with. Seconds later, a large and overly friendly bat appears and becomes her unwanted permanent traveling companion. Agatha belatedly reads the label on the device and learns it's designed to summon bats, with someone having added a note stating it works "exceedingly well".
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Agatha's outfit while performing in the notoriously saucy Socket Wench of Prague is noted to be leather.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Jägers take up human hobbies to reconnect with their lost humanity. Oggie tries to set up his descendants on dates (which has led to Phil being the last of his line), while Dimo apparently knits multicolored socks. Agatha herself experiences shades of this while traveling with the circus but following her fight with the Baron and his forces, she accepts this was never a realistic possibility.
  • I Want Grandkids: Oggie in fact wants great-great-great grandchildren, and frequently tries to help his descendants.
  • Love Epiphany: Tarvek has one, when he sees that Agatha is ready to give herself up to the Baron to keep the Other from taking over Europa.
    And seeing her there-seeing the fear in her eyes, alongside the simple raw courage, Tarvek realized that he would do anything. Move mountains, crush cities, toss all of his carefully laid plans into disarray, if that was what it would take to help protect this young girl who was willing to sacrifice herself in order to save Europa, who was standing there alone and helpless before him.
    • Lars has one as well, again directed towards Agatha.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: The footnotes — and Folgio's own appearance — treat this as a history the authors have compiled.
  • Made of Iron: The Jaegers, as one would expect as the creations of the Heterodynes. And yet the Slaver Wasps managed to kill three of them.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The way in to Passholdt is unnervingly quiet. The circus waits for hours by the only bridge leading to it, and not a single person comes over it. And as Lars explains, while looking around the town there were several farms outside which had apparently just been abandoned. The circus eventually learns all too well what the problem is.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: One chapter begins with a song that is apparently unaccredited, with a following note stating that, no, really, the authors don't know who wrote it, just in case a Spark takes offense.
  • Retired Badass: Mention is made of one of the Heterodyne Boy's allies retiring to the North Pole, to function as a living generator.
  • Rooting for the Empire: invoked In-universe, Lucrezia Mongfish is one of the most popular characters in the Heterodyne Boy plays... right up until the inevitable third-act loved-based redemption.
  • Samaritan Relationship Starter: Tarvek seems to fall in love with Agatha partly because he sees how she is ready to sacrifice herself to prevent the Other from taking over Europa.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Inverted when Agatha is invited to dinner with Prince Aaronev. Her circus friends make her look as plain and unappealing as possible to make sure she doesn't have to worry about any unwanted advances. Tarvek (being an expert on fashion) is initially mildly put out and thinks they tried to send the wrong girl... until he realizes that it was completely intentional, and is impressed by the genius of it: Perfectly neutral, too ugly to attract attention, but not so much that the prince would take it as an intentional insult.
  • Shout-Out: One of the chapter quotes is a snippet of dialogue from The Socket Wrench of Prague, and is a parody of a similar quote in The King in Yellow.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • Give the setting, it's not entirely unsurprising that this attitude exists. Bang has encounter people with these attitudes towards her. Consequently, the people who replace them do not share these opinions, and are exceedingly polite towards Bang for good measure.
    • The Baron's all-female forces encounter this too. Then they go and turn their opponents into smoking craters.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The Jaeger Generals, when they are informed Agatha has died. It takes Klaus over half an hour of sustained fighting to subdue them. Subverted in that while Jaegers never need an excuse to fight, it's ultimately all an act to throw off Klaus; the Jaegers can tell immediately by smell that it's not Agatha's burned body.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: The Storm King's Muses were very specifically programmed to never tell him what to do, just give him general advice. This leads to them being frustratingly vague, which is why he is happily surprised when they come to him one day and simply explain the Heterodyne's plans. Because it is too late to stop them.
  • Whatevermancy: In the prologue, the Storm King refers to Sparks as Thinkomancers.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Krosp feels what might just be pity for the first time when Zeetha drags a sleep-deprived Agatha out to train.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Dame Aedith talks in this fashion.
  • You Are Who You Eat: Brillat-Savarin fell victim to this when a not particularly bright construct took the saying literally, decided it wanted to be Brillat-Savarin, and ate him. Then it continued his work, though critical reviews took something of a hit.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Lord Rudolph Selnikoff is quite blatantly having an affair, or at least regular dalliances, while his wife is away in Paris. This is part of the reason he managed not to notice Prince Aaronev's death, since he ordered his staff to give him time alone. For several hours.