June Books 4) Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm, by Kaja and Phil Foglio
This is the ninth volume in the Foglios' Girl Genius saga, originally published online, but now available as part of the Hugo Voters' Packet; it's not a series I know other than having read Volume Eight last year when it too was up for the Hugos. I liked this one more; perhaps it is that I am now even a little more familiar with the characters, but also the storylines seemed a little less opaque, with the intelligent castle particularly memorable as playing its own game with Agatha, its ostensible owner (at one point it muses that it would quite like to be reconstructed as a yurt, so that it could go and visit exotic places). As ever, the Foglios' artwork is gorgeous and distinctive. I don't think they will score a second successive Hugo - Neil Gaiman is sure to win for Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? - but I will rank this volume higher than I did last year's.