Review: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is an author I have yet to hear a single bad word about. He is also an author I have been wanting to read for a long time. Seeing ‘The Rithmatist’ as a kindle deal, I jumped at the chance.

‘The Rithmatist’ follows Joel as his determination to learn Rithmatics places him in the midst of an investigation that explores the mysterious disappearances of students at his school. Alongside him is Melody, a Rithmatist who struggles with her abilities, and Fitch, a professor forcibly removed from his tenure at the beginning of the book.

I really enjoyed reading this. The magic system is unique – I have not seen anything like it before. When I first discovered what it was, magic based on chalk drawings on the ground, I could not see how it would work well or give a sense of danger or conflict. By the end, I was terrified for the characters. Sanderson does a fantastic job of developing the magic and making it realistic and dangerous. On top of that, the book contains many illustrations of the various aspects of Rithmatics, for example the defences used, with additional notes, so allowing the reader to further understand the magic system and easily picture what is going on.

The world the novel is set in was fascinating. Sanderson slowly builds it up, creating this realistic plane in your head that still leaves room for further exploration. This keeps you engrossed in Joel’s world and you even get to explore some of the history, so giving the world further grounding, although at times this history is revealed in whole chunks of exposition from the books Joel reads which does detract from the story a bit.

The characters are all well-defined with interesting subplots that fit in with the rest of the book; they don’t feel forced on you in any way and you can’t help but read about them as if they were real people. On top of that, the story itself is thrilling. I struggled to put it down. While some parts were easy to predict, there were a few really good twists and on the whole it was difficult to tell what would happen.

I really enjoyed this book and by the end I was ready for more. As a result, the final words ‘to be continued’ caused me to let out a cry of anguish. I am definitely looking forward to the second book.

Rating: 5/5


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