Archive for February, 2011

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 22

[openbook booknumber=”9781421534138″][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 and his brother’s bodies… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Having consumed Gluttony’s powers, Pride may now be too much to handle for Ed and his allies. Their only chance could be the help of Al and Hohenheim, but will Ed trust his estranged father long enough for their plan to work? And back at Central City, Mustang and his team have started their attack. But does the army have a dangerous trick up its sleeve…?

The final battle has begun! Ed and Al are now both reunited with their father and with King Bradley out of the picture the rest of the band has begun to make their move in Central. I loved these scenes in particular because they show how far these soldiers have come in this series and it was great to see familiar faces reunited once more. Perhaps more familiar faces than I was originally counting on even! It’s also nice to see that the lessons from Ishbala have not been forgotten and while yes they are waging war they are doing so by using all of their considerable skill and training to only injure and not kill their enemies as they initiate the take over. Well almost all of them aren’t killing their enemies.

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The Graveyard Book

[openbook booknumber=”9780060530921″][rating:5/5]

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy – an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family…

This book was an amazing middle grade coming of age novel and I loved it! From the author that penned Coraline comes The Graveyard Book a book about a young boy whose parents are brutally murdered (off camera) when he is a baby and left unattended he wanders into a graveyard. To protect the boy from the serial killer Jack the graveyard inhabitants adopt him and raise him as their own. They even give him a name of their choosing, Nobody. He grows up surrounded by ghosts and ghouls and other creatures more mysterious and left unnamed. Somehow with their help he must grow up and learn about this world and with the help of the dead be given the tools he needs to live his own life, hopefully before the serial killer comes back and snuffs it out permanently.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 21

[openbook booknumber=”9781421532325″][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 and his brother’s bodies… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

A diabolical trap is set for President Bradley… If he is assassinated, a power vacuum will open that Mustang and his allies will be more than happy to fill. Then, while Ed is reunited with someone from his past, Al is separated from his body – his proxy armor body! Now who is filling his heavy metal shoes…?

Plus, take a break from all the alchemical intrigue and homunculus backstabbing at the annual Resembool Spring Sheep Festival!

The good guys have regrouped, they have fitted the pieces of the puzzle together and they have developed a plan to beat the homunculii and their father, they have also made a very bold first move going on the offensive finally to try and end this war swiftly and with minimum losses on their side. Action is finally happening in this volume and things are starting to look dire. Both sides have unexpected aces up their sleeves and both have a few more tricks left in them. The good guys target? King Bradley. The bad guys target? Alphonse!

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The World Above

[openbook booknumber=”9781442403376″][rating:2/5]

Gen and her twin brother, Jack, were raised with their mother’s tales of life in the World Above. Gen is skeptical, but adventurous Jack believes the stories – and trades the family cow for magical beans. Their mother rejoices, knowing they can finally return to their royal home.

When Jack plants the beans and climbs the enchanted stalk, he is captured by the tyrant who now rules the land. Gen sets off to rescue her brother, but danger awaits her in the World Above. For finding Jack may mean losing her heart…

I realized going into this that The World Above is intended to be a light, fluffy read for young teens. The entire Once Upon A Time series is all made up of fairy tale books retold in a literary manner within a relatively sanitary and safe fairy tale world. Even knowing all this I still took issue with the book because, well, it’s boring.

In The World Above Jack has a twin sister who is the main character of the book. All of the Once Upon A Time books have a female protagonist. Following things from her point of view proves… dull. Jack leaves on the adventure while Gen, the sensible one, stays at home. Weeks pass where Jack climbs a beanstalk, meets a giant and his beautiful normal sized sister, discovers the charged political environment of a different magical world, and brings back a magical goose and sack. But we are not following Jack, we are following Gen. So while all of that is going on “off camera” we are told in great detail about Gen’s adventures cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, and making lists for next years harvest. This proves to contain all of the adventure and excitement one expects from watching paint dry.

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