Author: Brandon Sanderson
Part of Rithmatist series
Rithmatists have the power to bring two-dimensional chalk creatures (chalklings) to life and they are the only defence humanity has against the horrors of Nebrask.
Joel Saxon is a 16 year old student at Armedius Academy. Only the son of a mere chalkmaker he doesn’t quite fit in with the children of the rich and powerful. He can only watch how the rithmatists do what he has longed to do for as long as he can remember. But now that danger is lurking around the corner and people are missing, Joel gets an opportunity someone like him rarely gets. Together with Melody, a rithmatic student, Joel will follow a path leading to discovery and adventure.
In a school for the magically gifted, your talent could cost you your life.
“Joel, lad, school is about learning to learn.” – Professor Fitch
The story is set in a world much like our own but it is mostly set at the United Isles (America). These Isles are all connected to each other with some sort of train system and so each Isle is reachable for the inhabitants of this world.
Some of the Isles (eight to be exact) have academies where the rithmatists can be educated before they serve their ten year at Nebrask to fight the horrors at the island. Armedius Academy is one of those eight where the rithmatists are educated and even there it is evident that there is friction between the few chosen by the Master (rithmatists) and the normal people.
Joel belongs to neither one of these factions because he is one of the few ‘normal’ people who are extremely interested in rithmatic, he’s pretty good at it as well. Taking every chance he can possibly get to be involved with anything rithmatic he is going to play a great part in the investigations concerning the disappearance or death of rithmatic students. Knee deep in the situation he can use any support he can get and he finds that support from Melody. She’s one pain in the butt, according to most, and she’s a student now under Professor Fitch’s tutelage. But even though she can be a pain in the ass, a bit of a drama queen (everything is a total tragedy) and she’s kind off a freak; she is truly a good friend.
Focussed on fixing this crisis, they plunge into the investigation, and so take a path neither of them had envisioned.
This book has everything one can possibly wish for.
It could be just me but frankly I’ve never heard about a world where people can bring chalk to life. The idea is just brilliant and well executed. Even if you have no clue whatsoever about whatever rithmatics is, then this book gives you explanations about some of it between the chapters. These explanations are not just text but there are drawings as well…drawings. Really I thought my childhood days were over but when I saw that first drawing illustrating a small chalkling knight I simply lost it. Just look at it!
And just in case you were wondering… there are unicorns…In any case I love the explanatory pages between the chapters and together with the drawings in the chapters they make for a nice addition to the book. Another nice add were the last six pages. These pages are a: reading and activity guide. Why? Here’s why and I think the reason is just very sweet:
“The Rithmatist can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. However, for younger readers the information, activities and discussion questions that follow are intended to enhance your reading. Please feel free to adapt these materials to suit your needs and interests.”
One of the aspects I specifically liked about this book was the relationship between the characters. Sanderson has a way of making his characters really human and he did the same thing this time. The interaction between the different characters is often the source for a lot of humour.
Again the eye for detail, the ‘flow’ of the book and the use of language made a well written, good, amusing and easy read. The book took hold of me and wouldn’t let me put it away until I finished it. I was not an easy person to live with these last two days… Poor people around me but at least I had a great time!
Like I already mentioned before this book can be read by anyone and by adding the reading and activity guide to the end it made the book a little bit more special in my opinion.
Brandon Sanderson is simply a great author why makes me an extremely happy human being whenever I finish one of his books. The concept of this work is original, fun and I would recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest love for fantasy.
Maybe you could see this coming but I give this book 5 stars because I’m over the moon.