Book Review: The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist (The Rithmatist #1)The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At this point, sometimes I wonder why I write reviews of Brandon Sanderson’s books. I’ve loved them all, and so it seems at times like I’m just continually beating that “this was awesome” drum. But you know what? I like drums, and when you find an awesome one, why *wouldn’t* you want to keep beating it?

This is Brandon’s version of a school book, sort of on the vein of Harry Potter, but with the typical Sanderson flair for magic systems. The Rithmatist takes place in a world where certain people can cause chalk drawings to come to life. Oh yeah–and some of those drawings can eat people. There’s an elaborate system of magic built around the concept, with summoning circles and geometry playing big roles. It’s all a bit bewildering at first, but you soon get the hang of it, and there are plenty of illustrations to help you along the way.

So that’s the setting. The main character is a boy who wishes he could be one of the people who has this magic ability–but he isn’t. He studies everything he can about it, but no amount of wishing gets him closer to his dream.

And then people start dying at his school, and he’s one of the people tasked to help the main investigator.

I think that’s enough to give you a taste of what to expect from the book. I loved the fact that it worked well as a standalone book. Yes, there’s certainly lots of room for sequels, but it’s fairly well self-contained. The magic system was also very clever–it reminded me of Flatland in many ways, and that’s a good thing in my book.

It was also interesting and refreshing to have the main character unable to do any magic. That definitely goes against the grain of the normal in YA fantasies–or any fantasies for that matter. But it worked well in this novel.

It’s a fast read, and one I can wholeheartedly recommend without any need to give disclaimers about content. Yay for that.

So if you haven’t already checked it out, might I point you in this book’s direction? Have you already read it? I’d love to hear what you thought.

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