Book Review: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Rithmatist
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Published: 2013
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Steampunk

Synopsis: 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: red-starred-starred-starred-star

If you been reading my blog for a while you know that I go up-and-down with young adult fantasy. Some of it is really great but for the most part is either mediocre or just bad. This is my first Brandon Sanderson book and I was left incredibly impressed.

When I hear steam punk I run towards it and this delivered everything I love about steam punk. In this fantasy novel Sanderson creates the united isles, A group of islands shaped like the United States. He re-creates history of the mythology of the world and it’s very detailed but not bogged down. He gives the right amount of detail which is a fantastic craft to have as a fantasy writer, one that I’ve seldom seen employed. In this world there are these evil creatures called ‘chalklings’ and they have been attacking people since the beginning of time. Rithmatists are a mix between Jedi Knights, mathematicians and scholars. They protect humans against the chalklings. Our main character Joel, has always wanted to be a rithmatist but he was not picked us a child. He attends a very prestigious high school where the very best rithmatist are trained because his mom is the cleaning lady of the school.

Our story takes off when a new professor arrives and challenges an established tenured professor to a rithmatist duel. Other strange things start happening like the disappearance of children. Somehow Joel gets involved to help solve the mystery using his vast knowledge of rithmatics.  This is a fast paced book filled with great characters, a solid mythology and the crafting of a fantastic world.

Based on my impression of this I am looking forward to reading more Sanderson, he obviously knows how to craft a story and to make it an enjoyable ride for the reader. I was very doubtful about this book but I’m so glad that I picked it up on a whim because it certainly did not disappoint.


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