The first Fullmetal Alchemist novel, The Land of the Sand, was well received by Jarred Pine of Mania as a self-contained novelization that remained true to the characterizations of the manga series. He said that while the lack of backstory aims it more towards fans of the franchise than new readers, it was an impressive debut piece for the Viz Fiction line. Ain't It Cool News also found the novel to be true to its roots, and said that while it added nothing new, it was compelling enough for followers of the series to enjoy a retelling. The reviewer said it was a "work for young-ish readers that's pretty clear about some darker sides of politics, economics and human nature". Charles Solomon of the Los Angeles Times said that the novel has a different focus than the anime series; The Land of Sand "created a stronger, sympathetic bond" between the younger brothers than is seen in its two-episode anime counterpart.