Archive for May, 2010

The Chalice and The Blade

[openbook booknumber=”0062502891″][rating:3/5]

The phenomenal bestseller, with more than 500,000 copies sold worldwide, now with a new epilogue from the author–The Chalice and the Blade has inspired a generation of women and men to envision a truly egalitarian society by exploring the legacy of the peaceful, goddess-worshiping cultures from our prehistoric past.

I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to read this book. A lot of what I read in its pages changed my entire worldview and caused me to reevaluate the history of the world as I knew it through a feminist lense and to change how I felt and thought about that history. There was a lot in this book that I didn’t completely agree with but there were many parts that I was glad to have read and have reached a deeper and richer understanding of the world because of it.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 1

[openbook booknumber=”1591169208″][rating:5/5]

Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the world; something between magic, art, and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg… and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders… even to kill. Except his powers aren’t unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher’s Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are…

Fullmetal Alchemist turns out to be an engaging series set in the early 1900’s about a paranormal world where alchemy is real and its effects on the world and artifacts that increase its power are at once magical and beautiful, sinister and deadly. Transforming something from a broken to a fixed state is handy, transforming something into a grotesque pantomime of what it should be, not so much.

For fans of the anime, this series is a must read. First off, the anime was based on this manga series. The original anime split off in development pretty early on and ended some time ago. For those of you disappointed in that ending you simply must read this manga, and watch the new Brotherhood anime which follows it much more closely. The storyline is so much better and this is one of those cases where the book is ten times better than anything you have seen on screen.

The opening to this book is a shock that makes you sit up and take notice. They start you right at the moment that Ed discovers that he is missing his leg (no clean cut, either) and that his brother is gone. It very much sets the tone for the rest of the book, and the series! Very dark and frightening with many hard lessons to be learned and sacrifices that need to be made to set things right after this very gruesome beginning. Right at the end of that first page the book snaps to several years later and you have to read on to find out why Ed and Al are the way they are and what exactly made them that way. Definitely a page turner to find out more about these characters and the lives they have been forced to lead since that very disastrous decision they made as children.

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