The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)
Brandon Sanderson

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.

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1) book cover

“It’s going to be painful.”
“It’s a fun tradition.”
“So was witch-burning,” Melody said. “Unless you were the witch.”

Sanderson’s truly on form here. This is a wonderfully executed teen story, with overtones to satisfy adults but primarily (and very successfully I’d wager) aimed at a younger market. There’s a lot of room for discussion; religious, political, technological, you name it. And as if that weren’t enough, our hero is just a normal person, just like you or me, without any magical powers.

The ending was supposedly rushed, according to a reviewer. It did come a little quickly, I’ll admit, but only for one used to the scope of Brandon’s writing. It’s over ten hours in audiobook form, which is pretty respectable for a teen story and it positively crackles along with mystery, intrigue and action. It also has the distinguishing characteristic of having its own story completed but leaving the world wide, wide open for more. This is just the start of something and that something is, I will firmly declare, going to be brilliant.

Published by Sean Randall

I am an avid reader, technologist and disability advocate living in the middle of England with my wife, daughter and pets.

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