Review: The Rithmatist

Posted 12 February, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1)
By: Brandon Sanderson
Format/Source: Hardback; my copy

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.

Was a bit on a roll with Brandon Sanderson’s books recently; I finally got around to reading The Alloy of Law (review) and afterwards decided to start reading this book, the last book left on my to-read pile by him.

So my first impression of this novel (sorry, had to get this out of the way first) is that it reminded me of Harry Potter with the school setting (albeit one in which the school is segregated with the regular students in one side and the Rithmatists on the other). But other than that, Brandon Sanderson once again impresses with his world building and the uniqueness of his magic system. Rithmatics is really elaborate, using geometry and drawings and a system of attack that reminds me of card games. But it’s really cool, complete with drawings and explanations between chapters. The wild chalklings are pretty creepy as are the strange things lurking in Nebrask that the Rithmatists are trying to keep at bay.

I like the premise where the main character, Joel, isn’t already a Rithmatist with some epic destiny, but rather the guy who really wants to be a Rithmatist and knows everything there is to know about them but for whatever reason that dream of his never materialised. I found myself really relating to Joel’s character and his ardent wishes of studying Rithmatics and getting involved in some way with that secret half of the school. His character arc was also really interesting to follow, especially at the end:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

The rest of the characters that populate this novel and that Joel interacts with were all interesting in their own way–the kindly and brilliant Professor Fitch, the dramatic but kind Melody, and his hard-working mother. Professor Nalizar is such a douchebag from the moment he enters the story, while I love Florence and Exton’s scenes with Joel as well as Joel’s scenes with Professor York.

The story itself was interesting, following Joel as he unravels the mystery that Professor Fitch is assigned to uncover. I was trying to figure out which of the characters we know could be the culprit behind the attacks and let’s just say no, my suspicions were similar to Joel’s but the reveal was surprising 😛 The larger scope and storylines leading into future novels in this series was also really interesting and left me curious as to where the story will head in the future.

The Rithmatist is the first YA title by Brandon Sanderson that I’ve read and I really enjoyed it! It’s a bit different in tone from his adult novels, but they’re just as detailed and intricate as any of his other titles I’ve read. An intriguing and fun read for all ages!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Visit the author’s official website || Order the book from the Book Depository

Tags: , , , ,

6 Responses to “Review: The Rithmatist”

  1. Rithmatist is still on my tbr, but I did read Steelheart from his ya novels. As you said different tone but still very good. I often wonder why I haven’t read all books by Sanderson, I love his writing style. I will probably reading Rithmatist this year…

    • Sanderson is definitely one of those authors I’d read all of his books (still have a few to read though, like Steelheart) 🙂 Hope you enjoy The Rithmatist when you get to it!

    • Omg I’ve read so many books at this point that I actually had to go back and see as to whether the second book came out yet or not xD

Leave a Reply