Archive for May, 2010

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 4

[openbook booknumber=”1591169291″][rating:5/5]

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his brother and himself… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Trapped and injured in a secret alchemical laboratory, Edward Elric is at the mercy of his enemies, Lust and Envy. But they don’t want him dead… they have other plans for him. As the laboratory goes up in flames, the brothers find themselves back at square one, with only an inkling of the massive scale of the Philosopher’s Stone conspiracy. But then, Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes uncovers a shocking secret…

After the horrific events in volume 3 the Elric brothers spend most of volume 4 recovering from their wounds whether physical, mental or emotional. Laboratory 5 is destroyed and in its aftermath Ed is hospitalized with serious wounds and Al is left reeling from the words of doubt planted by Barry the Chopper. Winry also makes another appearance to fix Ed’s auto-mail arm with the missing bolt. Both brothers have time to reflect on their actions both past and present and in some cases are given a bit of a wake call about them.

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Charity Girl

[openbook booknumber=”1402213506″][rating:4/5]

A young and lovely runaway alone on the road to London.
Miss Charity Steane is running away from the drudgery of her aunt’s household to find her grandfather. Not expecting her visit, the old gentleman is not in London but is away in the country.

A scandal broth in the making.
When Viscount Desford encounters a lovely waif searching for her grandfather, he feels honor bound to assist her; but dashing about the countryside together, the Viscount must prevent his exasperating charge from bringing ruin upon herself… and him.

In the end, his best ides is to bring Charity to his lifelong best friend Henrietta, and that’s when the fun and surprises begin…

While this book may start off slow and shaky, by the end Heyer has her footing again and the plot and characters sparkle. In Charity Girl a Viscount named Desford meets a young woman named Charity, “Cherry” for short, hiding away upstairs at a ball. She was foisted off on these relatives by an absent father and is treated more like glorified help then a poor relation in need. Naturally she ends up running away to London in a search for her grandfather. Desford finds her on the road to London and, after hearing her story, decides she would be better off with her grandfather and so gives her a lift. Unfortunately they arrive in London just to discover that her grandfather is out in the country and no one knows where or when he will be back.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 3

[openbook booknumber=”1591169259″][rating:5/5]

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his brother and himself… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Accompanied by their bodyguard, Alex Louis Armstrong, our heroes seek their closest childhood friend, mechanic Winry Rockbell, to fix their battered “auto-mail” bodyparts. Soon their quest for the Philosopher’s Stone takes them to the great central library, where the Stone’s formula may be hidden… if the mysterious figure named Lust doesn’t get there first! But the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone may be even more frightening than the beings who guard it…

Volume 3 has the Elric brothers finally arrive in their hometown to visit their mechanic Winry Rockbell. Their bodyguard Alexander Louis Armstrong learns along with us more details about the brothers’ past and how they came to lose their limbs, gain their new metal bodies and decide to join the military and never turn back. It’s nice to finally get some more back story on the main characters and also find out just how committed they are to their present course.

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The Chosen One

[openbook booknumber=”0312555113″][rating:4/5]

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much – if you don’t count her secret visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.

But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle – who already has six wives – Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

This book addresses a very powerful and deeply controversial subject and in a surprisingly strong, vivid and heart breaking way for a YA novel. I think this book exemplifies one of YA’s true strengths in that way. Kyra is a young girl growing up in a remote compound belonging to a polygamist sect. She has grown up in a family with one father and three mothers and now has twenty siblings with two more on the way. She has known no other life and in fact finding out about other ways of life is next to impossible and is considered a sin. By chance Kyra discovers a mobile library and that discovery, along with a library card, opens up fresh new horizons for her and she discovers a world beyond the compound’s barbed wire fences and brutal attitudes towards freedom and independent thought.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 2

[openbook booknumber=”1591169232″][rating:5/5]

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his brother and himself… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

There are many types of alchemy in the world. Edward’s commanding officer, “Flame Alchemist” Roy Mustang, can control fire. Shou Tucker, the “Sewing-Life Alchemist,” specializes in the most difficult alchemy of all… biological transmutation, the ability to alter the tissue of living things. But no matter what their power, alchemists are still human. And when a mysterious killer begins stalking state alchemists, no one can escape his vengeance…

Volume 2 picks up right where volume 1 left off, with Roy Mustang “owing one” to Ed for saving the general on the train. In return Mustang introduces Ed to Shou Tucker, the “Sewing-Life Alchemist”. Ed is branching out in all directions searching for a way to restore his body and that of his brother. Unfortunately who he ends up meeting is a scientist who is willing to use any means to achieve his ends. Ed and Al have some hard lessons to learn about their own continued powerlessness and about the difference between sacrificing others for your ends, and sacrificing yourself. I thought this was a very powerful and eerie part of the series, and of course very sad.

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