Title: The Rithmatist
Series: Rithmatist (#1)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: May 14, 2013
First Line: “Lilly’s lamp blew out as she bolted down the hallway.”
This is a fantasy book in which grown men and women draw shapes and figures in chalk. In fact, some students in Joel’s school are there specifically to learn the skill, which is called Rithmatics. Joel has a great interest in Rithmatics and understands the principles of it more than some of the students chosen to practice it. But in the case of his drawings, they simply stay chalk drawings on the ground, whereas when a Rithmatist draws the chalk figures, they come to life and fight. The Rithmatist students at Armedius Academy are training for service in Nebrask, where they defend against the wild chalklings that are trying to escape and attack more of the American Isles.
When Rithmatist students start mysteriously disappearing, leaving behind only blood trails and the remnants of a Rithmatic chalk battle, Joel finds himself using his interest in and knowledge of the practice to try and help solve the crimes, along with the quirky Professor Fitch, and his new friend Melody, a struggling Rithmatist with a penchant for unicorns.
My thoughts: Yes, the magical element in this book is two-dimensional chalk drawings that come to life when drawn by certain people called “Rithmatists.” It doesn’t actually sound that exciting, but it is! I enjoyed the different defense drawings and explanations throughout the book. There is strategy involved in Rithmatics practice, and it’s interesting that Joel is so good at it despite the fact that his drawings can’t actually come to life. I have heard great things about Brandon Sanderson, and I’m currently reading the Wheel of Time series, which he finishes (although I’m still near the beginning of the series so it will be a while before I get to his writing in that). I figured a new fantasy YA book by him would be worth reading. This book would be good for anyone interested in dipping their toes in some fantasy, or who likes magic, strategy and drawing.
Kept me interested: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5