Book Review | The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1)Brandon Sanderson‘s creativity seems to know no bounds. It’s no secret that he likes use magical systems for his novels that follow rules. But is it still magic when the magic is so predictable that it’s almost scientific?

With The Rithmatist, Sanderson uses his not insubstantial talents to spin a tale about an alternate world just one step removed from ours, where nations small and insignificant in our world are conquerors, North America is a giant archipelago instead of a continent, and gears and springs have replaced steam as the primary method of power. More, a battle is being waged by men and women who can use chalk to draw lines that take form, come alive, and move in the real world. They are Rithmatists, and they are all that stand between the dangerous Wild Chalklings and the survival of mankind.

Joel is nothing more than the son of a chalk maker, a poor boy who wants nothing more than to be a Rithmatists. As students at his school start to disappear, he finds himself pulled into the mystery against a foe that he cannot fight alone.

It’s a great story. There are moments when  The Rithmatist felt less like a fantasy, or a steam punk, and more like a mystery. Joel is a sympathetic Harry Potter-like character, and while Sanderson keeps the tone threatening, the promise of danger is never dark or hopeless.

The Rithmatist is the beginning of another creative Sanderson endevour, and while aimed squarely at adolescent boys, includes the beginnings of a romantic relationship that could appeal to girls, as well. While the systematic way in which Sanderson lays out magic may be almost scientific, his ability to tell a fun and delightful story is completely magical, from opening page to denouement and the final “to be continued.”

Get a copy of The Rithmatist from Amazon, and start reading it this week.

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.