Monday, June 9, 2014
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Once again I have found myself amazed at Brandon Sanderson's ability to create magic systems. Each time he starts writing a series he manages to fully capture and develop the most random and interesting magic systems out there. I was enthralled with the intricacies involved in the magic his Mistborn series. Next he managed to take that up a notch with the Stormlight Archives, and now he somehow did it again. In his first foray into Young Adult literature he went with a magic system that involves geometry and chalk doodles. Just reading that line makes you think that it might be ridiculous, but as you get into the book you find that again he has made a magic system that makes sense in the world he has created and it meshes well and never feels out of place. I will admit that if this were not a Young Adult novel it might not have worked out as well.
This book takes place in a historically different version of the United States. Instead of it being one landmass the United States is actually a collection of autonomous islands that are loosely bound together and are called the United Isles. The thing that binds these islands together is an enemy located at the center of them all in a place called Nebrask. The enemy is a bunch of wild chalk figures called chalklings. There are people trained in the Rithmatics (the combination of geometry and chalk drawings) called rithmatists. They were called to the position in a ritual at age 8 and are taught special courses at prestigious schools.
It is at one such school that we meet the main protagonist. Joel is not from a wealthy family and he was not chosen to be a rithmatist, but he finds himself fascinated with it all the same. He finds that he understands the principles behind geometry much better that the actual rithmatic students, but sadly his work has no power. As he goes about his life he finds himself heavily involved in trying to solve an investigation involving kidnapped rithmatist students.
As the book continues the stakes continue to rise, friendships are made, lost things are discovered and new geometrical secrets are revealed. I really enjoyed this book. I finished it in an afternoon because I couldn't find the will to put the book down. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes unique magic systems, young adult fantasy or "gearpunk" enthusiasts. I am quite looking forward to the next installment in this series and I do regret that it is something I have to wait for, but I guess patience is something worth developing.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars