Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Rithmatist

by Brandon Sanderson
378 pgs

I'm risking sounding like a broken record here but Brandon Sanderson's books are fantastic! All of them. I have yet to read the Wheel of Time series that he finished for the late Robert Jordan (I plan to now that it's done), but I've read almost everything else that he's written, and I'd say with one exception (all hail King), there's not another author alive whose books I look forward to reading more than Sanderson's.

The Rithmatist was written for a younger audience (12+), but adults will enjoy it just as much. It's about Joel, the son of a humble chalkmaker, who desperately wishes he had been selected to be a Rithmatist when he was younger. Joel is a student at Armedius Academy, where he struggles to concentrate in classes such a math and history, while on the other side of campus, those who had been chosen to become Rithmatists attend classes where they learn how to use its magical system where they are able to give temporary life to two-dimensional shapes and figures called Chalklings. They learn to draw intricate and mathematically precise defensive systems on the ground around them to protect themselves from their opponents' attacking Chalklings, all in training for the time when they're called upon to defend The United Isles from the Wild Chalklings.

Even though Joel wasn't chosen to be one himself, he has spent all his life learning as much about Rithmatism as he can. He can draw its defense systems as well as anyone, he just can't give life to any of the things he draws. But when the young Rithmatists at Armedius begin to disappear, leaving behind evidence of strange Chalkling attacks and trails of blood, Joel finally gets the chance to put his knowledge to use--assisting in the investigation.

It's truly a great book. Sanderson's exceptional world-building skills are once again on display as he creates a world that resembles our own, but with a highly-intelligent and fascinating system of magic within it. The story is extremely fun and it's a great beginning to yet another series by Sanderson that I'm excited to read.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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