I was very excited to find this book on the shelf at my local bookstore (it took them a while to get it in). I have been reading the Girl Genius comic for several years, so a novelisation was of interest to me.
The writing is solid, though some stylistic elements may take getting used to, particularly if you are unfamiliar with steampunk and/or Girl Genius. Content-wise this novel covers the same time period and story elements as the first three volumes of the Girl Genius comic. There are some minor differences between the two, and the novel expands on several background story elements that aren't really covered predominantly in the comic.
Unfortunately, reading the novel doesn't let you see all the intricate background details that are shoved into the art in the comic. Including said details would be impractical; if nothing else it would completely bog down and derail the story. So as an example, in the novel we have to be content with knowing Gil's personal library has bookcases crammed with books, and some of the broad categories those books fall under. In the comic we can read the titles of many of those books (things like Who's Who
, What's What
, Cultivate a Maniacal Laugh
, and Oops!
) and get some chuckles.
All in all I would say this is a good companion work to the comic, not a replacement or substitute. They work best together. Reading the novel had me jumping back in to reread the comic, because I was craving all the little humorous details that just didn't translate over to the written word.