This is not a novel, but manga. Manga, for those that don’t know, are comics created in Japan in the Japanese language. Manga is read by people of all ages, not just kids. Some manga are just one volume, some have over a hundred volumes. This particular series is 27 volumes. Manga is read differently than how we read graphic novels here, so if you haven’t read manga before that might trip you up a bit. If a particular manga series is good, it might turn into anime. Anime is mostly based of manga. This series has two different anime series based off of it. The first was started before the series was over, so it’s a lot different. The second, which is Brotherhood, was started after the series was over and more closely follows the manga.
This book follows two brothers, Ed and Al. They grew up with their mother since their father disappeared when they were really young. They had started alchemy when they were little and their mother supported it. Then, their mother died. They live mostly by themselves with help from their neighbors. They find a lady who agrees to teach them alchemy, and then they get better. Then, when they get good enough, they go back to their hometown of Resembool. There, they attempt to do human transmutation, something highly illegal, to bring back their dead mother. It doesn’t work, and Al loses his entire body while Ed loses his leg. He sacrifices his arm so he can transmute his younger brother’s soul into a suit of armor. Together, they look for a philosopher’s stone to regain their original bodies.
This series is phenomenal. It’s sad, has action, and is just awesome. I haven’t yet read the whole entire series (I’m on volume 16 out of 27), but I have watched the entirety of both anime series. There is a lot of violence and gore. There’s mild swearing, but a lot of action. This book also has a lot of sadness, and a lot of death. I would say 12+.