The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson Book Review

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Okay...see if you can follow me on this one.

Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen at the age of eight by the Master in a mysterious ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to breath life into chalk drawings. Rithmatists are warriors and scholars and are humanity's only defense against the Wild Chalklings who threaten to overrun all the American Isles. Joel missed his chance to become a Rithmatist and so he pines for the one thing he is not. At school, Joel sneaks into classes he shouldn't, searching for any answers to the mysterious world he can never be a part of. Then students start to go missing, leaving behind signs that they were attacked by thousands of wild chalklings. 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.

A mixture of parallel universe, steampunk, mystery, and fantasy, this book is all the reasons why I love Brandon Sanderson and fantasy in general. How creative. How original. How fun.

Sanderson creates a world that is just barely recognizable as our own. The Americas at the turn of the century but for some reason in this universe, it is a series of islands and they are not united. They have strange names like Nebrask, Texahoma, and West Carolina. (don't worry there are illustrations and maps to help you as you read) Europe was taken over by the Chinese centuries before and they kicked out all the Scottish for some reason. Due to the Wild Chalklings there are not Native Americans, only their warnings have been left behind. The Dark Ages appear to be a blip due to the discovery of Rithmatism. Christianity and the church is different for it is believed that God is the one who grants power to the Rithmatists, a power that cannot be refuted and thus God is not refuted. 

Joel is smart and desperate, wanting the one thing he can never have, which I think many readers will be able to relate to. An outcast, Joel is troubled when he begins making friends with Melody, a Rithmatist student who absolutely hates her birthright. There is a hint of mystery surrounding Melody too (one that will hopefully be answered in the books to come). How can Melody come from a family with six Rithmatists? Isn't it supposed to be random? All the studies show that bloodlines do not matter...right? 

This is a world that you get sucked into and there are so many little things that would simply not make sense if I mentioned them in this review, but as you go deeper and deeper into the story, things like chalk line theory and chalklings and new chalk lines and duels all begin to make sense. 

I am so terribly excited about this book because I find it so original and engrossing and it is books like this that remind me why I love this genre so much.