Synopsis: More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. 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.
Publishing company: Tom Doherty Associates
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult, Steampunk, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery
Page Count: 370 (paperback)
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Throwback to Chalkzone. Anyone else remember that show? Except this book is darker, creepier, and absolutely magnificent.
I adored both of the main characters - Joel and Melody. They were likable, clever, intelligent, funny, and realistic. It's so hard to find characters like this anymore...*sigh*. In fact, I liked them so much, that I'm even starting to speak like them.
“What! That’s a tragedy.”
“Melody, everything is a tragedy to you.”
"Well, all right," Melody said. "But I'm only doing this because I get to take a peek at Nalizar."
"Melody," Joel said. "He's not a good person."
"I never said anything about his morality, Joel," she said, opening the door. "Only his face."
I loved the friendship in between Joel and Melody. It's not perfect, but whose friendship is? They're there for each other when it counts, and they have each other's backs.
And Fitch was adorable! He was so sweet, adorably awkward, and passionate about rithmatics. He genuinely cared about the subject and his students. This is what all teachers should be like.
As for Nalizar, I think Melody says it best:
“I’ll pay for both of us.”
“I can’t let a girl pay for me!”
“Vain masculine pride,” she said, reaching into her pocketbook. She pulled out a shiny gold half-dollar.
“Here,” she said, handing it to him. “Now you can pay for us.”
I thought it was an interesting plot line. It was original and creative. There are things that Joel wants, and I like how he didn't get them right away but is still left with a little bit of hope at the end. The plot twists were surprising and unexpected. Sometimes, I find plot twists to be over-the-top, but I thought the ones in this book were realistic and well-thought out.
I really liked Brandon Sanderson's style of writing. The magic system was intriguing. Everything was explained nicely and made sense. I didn't feel like I was overwhelmed with information, and it was fairly easy to grasp. In fact, I think I could be a rithmatist now too. Sign me up!
I would have like a bit more world building though. I believe this took place in the 1900s? In America? Maybe?
I loved all the illustrations that were included in this book. They were helpful in understanding how the magic system worked and what was going on. Since I don't have a mind's eye and can't visualize anything in my head very well, the drawings were extremely beneficial for me and made the story much more enjoyable.
This book was fun and exciting. I loved all the adventure.
That was terribly thoughtless of you. What good is having friends if they don’t put you in mortal peril every once in a while?
I will definitely be reading more of Brandon Sanderson's books in the near future.
I'm going to end this review now with a few words of wisdom:
But everyone knows that ice cream is worth the trouble of being cold. Like all things virtuous, you have to suffer to gain the reward.