Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, 2013

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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.

(353 pages)

This is one of my favorite books and it makes me SO SAD that there doesn't seem to be a sequel in sight. I don't care that you haven't gotten inspiration to continue the series, Brandon Sanderson, I need to continue this story now!

Actually, having read a sequel written just because fans harrassed the author, scratch that. Wait until you're good and ready, Mr. Sanderson.

But seriously. This book is incredible. The worldbuilding is so fascinating, the idea of an America where each state is an island and where magic is done through chalk drawings, and where the main characters are focused on exploring the bounds of the magic system and trying to find the root of a lurking evil, is such a great concept that it would have been pretty hard for Sanderson to screw it up.

Luckily, though, Sanderson is well-known for being a great author. He pulled me into Joel's story almost immediately, and I was rooting for that poor chalkmaker's son to find a way to participate in the world he loved so much. I love the perspective in this book of the anti-chosen one, the character who has all the right characteristics to be the Harry Potter of the story but who doesn't get offered that chance. Nothing is handed to Joel, but he is so desperate to get involved that he forces his way into lessons and investigations that he has no place in. And I absolutely love it.

I read this book several years ago, and my mom did as well, and she still asks me once in a while if there's been a sequel yet. Just last year, when I was at college and didn't have access to a library copy, I bought a copy of this book just because I got such a strong urge to reread it. And if that's not a good indicator of how addictive it is, I don't know what would be. I love it, but I don't entirely recommend you read it since it sets up the start of a series that has yet to be continued.