book review

Review: The Rithmatist (The Rithmatist #1)

Brandon Sanderson - The Rithmatist

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson: his debut novel for the young adult audience.

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles. 

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing – kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics – and their world – forever.

Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense—the first of a series. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.

Once again, I have fallen in love with a Brandon Sanderson book. I have no idea how he does it, but this book was totally awesome. I loved every moment of it. And, although I didn’t think it was quite as good as some of his other books, it was still very enjoyable and a great read. I mean, this book makes chalk drawings terrifying. Which is a totally crazy idea. And yet, I no longer like chalk drawings at all because of this book.

Let me explain. Sanderson is an amazing magic system creator, and that is definitely true about this book. His magic systems are so intricate and detailed and after finishing one of his books you feel as if you know just as much as the characters about how magic works. Well, I’m not sure anybody could know more about Rithmatics than Joel, but you get the idea. So much detail is crammed into his books and The Rithmatist is no different. Right from the start you’re introduced to the basic idea of Rithmatics – people drawing chalk circles on the floor around them and then attacking each other using other chalk drawings. Although it sounds just a bit crazy, reading this book makes you feel as if this sort if magic is totally normal. I mean, essentially, it’s all about little chalklings going and attacking other people’s chalk drawings (and actual people in some cases) and I really loved the idea of it all. I promise, it makes total sense.

One thing that definitely makes the magic system work is the world building in this book. Everything is just a bit different to our world. For example, there are the American Isles instead of the States and technology is based a lot more on “springwork” inventions. The details about this world are all weaved into the story told in the book so smoothly and I loved the fact that this was an alternate reality.

The story itself was just as interesting. I loved the main characters, Joel and Melody, as they got to know each other over the summer. They’re both very interesting, three-dimensional characters who are easy to relate to, and I loved seeing their debates about various topics like Rithmatists. Also, no romance! Well, not yet anyway. It was so refreshing reading a YA novel where the main characters weren’t dating within a week of meeting each other. The rest of the characters were also great. I mean, there were actual adults in this book who were part of the main plot. Everyone talked to each other about what to do next and it was just so good to read a YA fiction where the parents and teachers have an interest in what the kids are doing.

Anyway, I would happily go on and on about this book to you, because of it’s amazing magic system and interesting world and great characters, but I won’t. Instead I will mention the great illustrations of Ben McSweeney and the way they really bring the book to life. You should go and read this book just for those details. Actually, go and read this book because it is awesome and it’s a great new YA series to start!

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3 thoughts on “Review: The Rithmatist (The Rithmatist #1)”

  1. Awesome post! I’m glad you really liked this book, I’ve heard it was pretty good. I’ve read the first Mistborn book by Brandon Sanderson and I totally get what you mean when you say that he’s amazing at world-building. And on top of that, he writes super fast! xD

    By the way, I think you might have made a little mistake when you said “it was just so good to read a YA fiction where the parents and teachers had no interest at all in what the kids were doing”. You might have meant “it was just so good not to read a YA fiction where..”

    But other than that, great review! 🙂

    1. Thanks for pointing that out! I’ll make sure to change it. And it’s definitely crazy how fast he writes books, and the fact that he comes up with so many awesome ideas.

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