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Month in review

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The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
At Ease by Evan Bachner
The Avenue of the Dead by Evelyn Anthony
Bannock, Beans and Black Tea by John Gallant and Seth
Bollywood Babes by Narinder Dhami
Bone 09: Crown of Horns by Jeff Smith
Brain Camp by Susan Kim
Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace
Doodlebug by Karen Romano Young
Early Hayward by Robert Phelps
Fullmetal Alchemist 01 by Hiromu Arakawa
Fullmetal Alchemist 02 by Hiromu Arakawa
Hands of My Father by Myron Uhlberg
Hattie the Bad by Jane Devlin
Havana Mañana by Consuelo Hermer and Marjorie May
How to Crash a Killer Bash by Penny Warner
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up? by Bill Martin Jr.
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo
The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater
The New Gay Teenager by Ritch C. Savin-Williams
The Nightmarys by Dan Poblocki
The Octonauts and the Only Lonely Monster by Meomi
The Octonauts and the Sea of Shade by Meomi
Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
The Phone Book by Ammon Shea
Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton
Ten Little Mummies by Philip Yates
Welcome to Monster Town by Ryan Heshka
The World at Night by Alan Furst
xxxHolic 01 by CLAMP

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 01

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 01: 05/13/11

 cover art (Link goes to Powells)Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa is one of the most popular shonen manga series. It's also a damn fine anime series, so good that it was redone to better follow the manga. The first time around the anime ran quicker than the manga (a fairly common occurrence) and so the two plots diverge. Last December Ian and I watched the first anime series. Now as we're reading the manga we are also watching the newer Brotherhood series which is like a director's cut version.

Volume 1 begins with Edward and Alphonse Elric arriving in a desert town that worships the Son God Leto. They're under the control of a charlatan named Cornello who claims to be able to able to resurrect the dead.

Ed and Al know first hand that can't be done. They bear the scares of their attempt to bring back their mother. And while it's important to know what happened to Ed and Al and the choices they made, how that part of the story is told differs from the manga and the first version of the anime.

The first anime uses every single piece of the story, probably to buy more time as the manga was released. The earliest episodes suffer most for the decision to expand everything. The Leto, for example, gets drawn out to painful extremes.

The manga, though, keeps things brief and doesn't pull any punches. Most of Ed and Al's history is left for later episodes. Only enough is told for the reader to catch on that the Leto miracles are smoke and mirrors.

Instead of focusing on the gore of what happened with their failed transmutation, the story sets up the basic themes and plot threads:

  1. transmutation of human life bad
  2. homunculi pulling the strings for some unspoken reason
  3. equivalent exchange and
  4. Ed and Al's search for the philosopher's stone.

While there are a few times in later volumes that I prefer anime's pacing, for the most part I think the manga's close to the cuff approach is better.

Five stars.

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