Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen; 1 edition (May 14, 2013)
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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 study 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.
Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense—the first of a series. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.
At a Glance:
Okay, so I have a confession to make. This might make me a fiend in the world of YA, but here it is.
I don't like steampunk.
Yep. I know. It's awful. I don't know what it is, but the genre has just never appealed to me. Even when they turned the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender (one of my favorite shows of all time) into a steampunk-ish place in the new series, I hated it. So, judging this book by its cover, it would seem pretty steampunk. But here's the thing: it still sounded pretty good to me. So, despite inhibitions towards all things steampunk, I decided to give The Rithmatist a shot. And I am so, so glad that I did.
Cover:As stated above, my first thoughts of The Rithmatist (judging by its cover) were that it must a very steampunk-type book. I mean, gears and a clock are all you need to see before making that assumption. But... this cover is still pretty darn cool. A+ work, cover artist.
After reading the prologue of this book, I was expecting to see quite a bit of action. However, this was not meant to be. Though the action scenes were fairly few, the book made up for this in other areas: a fantastic narrative, an intelligent mystery plot, and delightfully created characters.
Though the romance in this book didn't pan out quite as far as I thought it could have, it was still there. It was more of a shy-love-type-thing; two characters who like each other, and kind of know that the other likes them, but are both unwilling to do anything about it. The relationship between these two characters was an extremely essential piece of the plot, so I'm not disappointed in how it turned out. But, I think it might have made for a fuller plot if Mr. Sanderson had done more with this romance.
Joel was a very likable character. Being very intelligent, he was the one sneaking about and finding clues to the mystery in a very Harry Potter-ish way. He did not lack humor, which I find to be very important for any lead character in a novel, and the way his character expanded with the plot was just fantastic.
Favorite Supporting Character:
My favorite supporting character was Professor Fitch. An old, wise teacher of Rithmatics, he was just pretty awesome all around. Especially in the action scenes later on in the book.
Something I loved:
I loved the originality in the entire book. The art of Rithmatics was extremely well explained, which helped a lot, and the entire thing was pretty awesome. At the beginning of each chapter, there are diagrams dipicting different forms and skills that Rithmatists use, and that alone was one of the more enjoyable aspects of the books.
I didn't really feel like this was a cliffhanger, but the ending did set up very nicely for the sequel.
Would I recommend it?
Most definitely. This book is fantastic for about just about anybody 7th grade and up. Even if you don't like steampunk.
Will I buy/keep it?
This book will be displayed proudly on my bookshelf for long to come.