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review 2020-02-10 03:05
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Abducted Alchemist (book, vol. 2) by Makoto Inoue, original concept by Hiromu Arakawa, translated by Alexander O. Smith with Rich Amtower
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Abducted Alchemist - Rich Amtower,Makoto Inoue,Alexander O. Smith,Hiromu Arakawa

After another unsuccessful investigation into Philosopher's Stone rumors, Edward and Alphonse Elric wait for a train. Strangely, when one finally arrives, it's hours late. They're also surprised to see Roy Mustang and Jean Havoc among the passengers, dressed in civilian clothes. They soon learn that there has been a lot of recent terrorist activity on the train tracks. The terrorists announce their bombing target 20-30 minutes in advance, enough time for civilians to get to safety but too little time for the military to do anything to stop them. It's terrorism without terror - civilians are more inconvenienced than anything, and they've directed their annoyance towards the ineffectual military.

Although he hasn't been able to find any proof yet, Roy suspects that the bombings are somehow connected to a string of kidnappings. The kidnappers abduct a child from a family with a connection to the military, demand and receive a ransom, and let the child go free, completely unharmed. As Ed and Al continue their own work, they accidentally stumble across something that may be key to both of Roy's investigations.

This is the second Fullmetal Alchemist novel I've read, and the first that I don't think was turned into a filler episode in the original anime, so the story was entirely new to me. It was decent - not something I'll necessarily want to reread, but it felt like something that could happen in the Fullmetal Alchemist universe, was a relatively quick and light read, and the characters mostly acted and spoke like themselves.

Ancy, the child Ed and Al encountered, was like literally every child they've ever met in the series, sweet and cute. There was a funny running joke involving Ed calling Roy "Dad" that, for a very brief moment, dipped into "Roy as Ed's father figure" territory. Havoc drove a car badly, multiple times. Ed went up against a couple dozen terrorists and managed to hold his own with alchemy and an entire building (although he forgot that some parts of buildings are load-bearing and really shouldn't be messed with). There were no alchemists in the terrorist group, but there was a guy named Gael who was ridiculously strong and fast.

It wasn't the most exciting story, overall, but it had some good stuff in it, especially in the second half. Roy and Ed had some great scenes together. The one thing that was a little off was the bit where a woman called Ed a "wee bonnie squire" to Al's "knight in shining armor" (78) and Ed didn't even twitch.

This is the last of the Fullmetal Alchemist novels that I have on hand, but I'd still like to read the rest.

Extras:

A few black and white illustrations throughout, an afterword by Makoto Inoue, and an afterword/illustrated interpretation of the "you have a son?" scene by Hiromu Arakawa. Also, one full-color illustration.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2015-08-26 14:26
Boston Strong: A City's Triumph over Tragedy - Martin J. Walsh,Dave Wedge,Casey Sherman

This book popped up in my audiobook app's Recommended For You section, and I hardly hesitated before starting the download. As a runner and a person with deep personal connections to New England and Boston, the marathon bombings struck hard. In Colorado, was glued to Twitter, refreshing every ten seconds and ignoring my schoolwork. 

 

This book, written by a pair of journalists, wasn't without its biases and moments that made me question the way we think about radicalism, religion, and the "Other" in this country. But it also gave me a much better understanding of those fraught days in Boston, when all the media was frenzied and inaccurate. 

 

And, as always, I completely lost it when the book moved into stories of survival, unity, and a city rallying together. There's something about David Ortiz-- light of my little middle-school heart-- yelling, "This is our f--king city!" before the first post-bombing Red Sox game that just gets me. 

 

My niece just started college in Boston this week, and listening to the audiobook and the thick Boston accent, added to all my emotions. I love New England. I love Boston. I love the spirit of the marathon.

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