Review: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

THE RITHMATIST by Brandon Sanderson, reviewed at
Image from Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Rithmatist

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Hardcover

Back cover:

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 learn 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.


This is one of those books where I’d planned on reading it at some point when I had some free time, but wasn’t going out of my way for it. My boyfriend is a huge Brandon Sanderson fan, though, and watching him get really excited about finding this in the library made me excited to read it, too.

I really enjoyed Joel. He was talented, ambitious dedicated to the point of stubbornness sometimes, and freaking smart. He made bad decisions sometimes, but he always had a clear, well-planned reason for it. He could also be a little hesitant and overly cautious, so I think he and impulsive Melody made a good team.

Melody was a surprisingly minor character, and to me, she was somehow both irritating and endearing at the same time. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or do something crazy and stupid. Her personality stood out despite her being not a major character.

The plot is kind of a murder/kidnapping mystery – kids disappearing from their houses and leaving trails of blood. Plus there’s the plot where Joel desperately wants to be a Rithmatist but can’t. Those are the main focus of the story, but there’s so many little threads weaving through the plot that it’s hard to condense it to just a sentence or three. (Although for me, the plot was secondary to the amazing steampunk-esque world and fascinating magic system.)

Who exactly is the bad guy in this story? I couldn’t answer that question until it was revealed in the end. One of the bad guys I never suspected; another, I waffled back and forth on his allegiances. Due to my plot psychic-ness, I was delighted to find that yet again, Brandon Sanderson managed to keep me guessing.

Brandon Sanderson may be the most insanely creative author I’ve ever read. The magic system of The Rithmatist was unique and absolutely amazing. Rithmatics uses chalk lines with different properties to make things happen – lines to defend themselves, lines to shoot at other things, creatures to attack other creatures, battles and duels and everything two-dimensional since it’s drawing magic. It was absolutely fantastic.

And I just have to mention the final scene – no spoilers, but let me just say it was epic. I didn’t see it coming, but I had a moment where I just wanted to completely fangirl and squeal, “oh my gosh that’s so perfect!”

I really shouldn’t have been so hesitant to read this book – after all, Brandon Sanderson is an amazing writer and pretty much anything he writes is guaranteed to be epic. Now I just need to know when the next book is going to happen.

The Rithmatist series:

  1. The Rithmatist
  2. Currently untitled

Report Card

For more on my grading system, check out this page.

THE RITHMATIST scored a 3.8 (A)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s