Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: young Adult Fantasy
More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. 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 is an absolutely amazing Young Adult Fantasy that doesn’t read like Young Adult because the world building and characters are extremely fleshed out.
The magic system is easily the best part of this novel. Not because of how intricate and detailed it is, but because of its uniqueness and entertainment. I’ve never read a magic system that’s so fun and relies heavily on a person’s mental capacities rather than their physical attributes. The ability to draw perfect circles and lines is difficult to perfect, but definitely more possible than Pushing and Pulling (Mistborn). Admittedly, it can be hard to imagine some of the defense strategies outlined throughout the novel, so I was pleased to see detailed images following each chapter about the different strategies.
The characters are a little on the absurd side of the spectrum of realistic characters, however they work within this novel. They reminded of characters Rick Riordan would write; relatable, good senses of humor, and extremely intelligent for their ages.
Joel is an overlooked genius dreaming of things he’ll never attain. He’s resourceful and a little stubborn, which makes him a character I was able to identify with immediately.
Melody is sassy, dramatic, and, is also, dreaming of things she’ll never attain. Melody and Joel are almost mirror images of each other, which creates an interesting dichotomy between the two.
What makes The Rithmatist such an amazing novel is that it doesn’t treat its reader differently because it’s a Young Adult novel. There is no slowing down to make sure the reader understands what happening or what just happened. There is no dumbing down of concepts related to the world building or magic system. Sanderson assumes the reader understands what’s happening as the story progresses and continues to add layer upon layer of intricate world building while also expanding on the magic system.
Overall, The Rithmatist is an amazing fantasy novel with a unique magic system that will keep you reading well into the night. Sanderson is a phenomenal writer with a crazy imagination that I can’t get enough of!
Apparently the sequel, The Aztlanian, is scheduled to release in 2017, according to Sanderson’s assistant on Reddit, so be on the lookout because it’s story you won’t want to look out for!