More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. 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 learn 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.
My rating: 4/5 stars
Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors who rarely fails to deliver in his books. They are fast paced, enough character and world building to entrance you and leave you wanting more each time you are forced to put down the book for pesky reality like food and laundry without ever being overwhelming or overly wordy.
‘The Rithmatist’ is no exception.
As per usual with Sanderson the magic system is impeccable and unique, based in chalk that can move and, with the right spells, become three dimensional. It’s hard for me to write reviews of Brandon Sanderson books without going on and on and on about the magic systems (notice I haven’t put up a video review yet? That’s because every time I film this review and the review of Elantris it’s 10 minutes long and all about the magic system) so let me just leave it at: Once again Sanderson delivers a unique and refreshing magic system that is fully flushed out and stunning in it’s intricacy.
In a day where there are so many Fantasy books being published all the time, I find myself getting bored with the magic systems and the villains as they get repetitive very quickly. But what other book can you name that has 3 dimensional chalk as the villains and chalk runes as the main form of magic while a war is waged between human and killer chalkings?(It may not sound like it works but trust me: it does.)
The only critique I have for The Rithmatist is the same problem I have with many of Sanderson’s books. He doesn’t write women well. He has one woman character that appears over and over in all of his books and it’s just a bad “strong woman” trope. If you are new to Sanderson it may not be overtly obvious because he hides it better than many authors but once you read a couple of his books it kind of screams at you.
Also, in this book, women are just now allowed to become Rithmatists. This struck me as out of place because the Rithmatist takes place seemingly in the future in America. In the “Epic Fantasy” or “High Fantasy” novels it kind of comes with the territory that women will not be treated very well or, at the very least, will be looked down on. But it felt wrong in the setting of ‘The Rithmatist.
But that is my only problem with The Rithmatist and it isn’t enough to keep me from recommending this book. I love everything else about it and went through the book in under a day.
I loved the world and Joel is very believable as the hero thrown into a world he has studied and longed for but never been a part of. It’s a lot of fun if you are looking for a quick read or something a little different than your average, every day YA Fantasy novel. With how it ended I really can’t wait for the next installment.
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