Enthralling. That is not a word I use very often about books. I am a book lover. I read many different kinds of books. Very few have I described as enthralling.
Monday I bought a book by Brandon Sanderson called The Rithmatist. I was first introduced to Brandon Sanderson when he was chosen to finish the Wheel of Time series that Robert Jordan wrote but didn’t finish before his death. I had enjoyed his work on the last three books, so it was really a no brainer to buy his newest offering.
My electricity was out for several hours and it gave me a chance to read while the kids played and read. I couldn’t do laundry or dishes. Okay, I might have been able to do dishes, but the house was hot and outside felt fabulous once the storms left. Anyway, it gave me a chance to do some serious reading.
Move over Harry Potter! Joel and Melody have made their fantastic debut in The Rithmatist, and I hope to see them in many more books. This book is a fantasy novel set in the early 1900s in America, but it is not an America that you or I recognize. It’s a fanciful mix of faux history and fantasy, with a touch of engineering genius and mathematics thrown in for good measure. It’s a great first book for a Brandon Sanderson first timer.
Joel is the son of a dead chalk maker and a cleaning lady at the prestigious Armedius Academy in New Britannia. Because the Principal was a friend of his father’s, Joel has free tuition and a real chance to change his life for the better. If, of course, he can learn to leave the Rithmatists alone and be content. Instead he is obsessed by Rithmatics, a magical science of chalk drawings that can come to two-dimensional life.
During the course of the book Joel befriends one lonely Rithmatist student and one Rithmatist professor who has fallen from grace in a duel. Together this unlikely team works together to solve the mysterious disappearance of several Rithmatist students. The action builds to an unexpected and heart stopping climax.
Their adventures are harrowing and consuming too. I had to know what was going to happen. Brandon Sanderson has created such great characters that I became emotionally involved in their lives. The idea behind the plot is strikingly unique, at least to me. I haven’t read every fantasy novel or author out there.
One thing that I loved about the book is the exploration of separation and prejudice. It’s a great book that can explore these issues without shoving it down your throat and being obvious. Joel feels separated from everyone else. Melody feels lonely and unaccepted by the other Rithmatists. The book explores division and how breaking down some intellectually and socially constructed barriers can bring about marvelous breathtaking progress.
I also really appreciated that this book is clean. There is no swearing or sexual content at all. I think it is young adult fiction, but that doesn’t diminish its greatness. I’m only worried that if I hand it to my kids they will start running around with chalk in their hands instead of chopsticks, um I mean , wands.
I couldn’t put it down. It’s an amazing book. I am definitely going to be buying the next book. And there better be a next book because there’s still problems in Armedius Academy and America! All of you should read it as soon as you can! Even if you aren’t a fantasy fan….
Like I said: Enthralling!
- The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (pencilstopaper.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: “The Rithmatist” by Brandon Sanderson (20four12.wordpress.com)
- THE RITHMATIST Out Now (brandonsanderson.com)