From number-one New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson: his debut novel for the young adult audience.
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 study 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.
Best-selling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that listeners who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.
Brandon Sanderson was born in Nebraska in 1975. Since his first novel, the acclaimed Elantris, Sanderson has written the Mistborn series, the stand-alone novel Warbreaker and has become a New York Times best-selling author, hailed as the natural successor to Robert Jordan. Indeed, Sanderson was chosen by the Jordan estate to complete the Wheel of Time sequence following Jordan's death.
©2013 Brandon Sanderson (P)2013 Audible Ltd
I disliked this book for three main reasons.
1. The chalk monsters are 2D and not easy to envisage as malicious or dangerous.
2. Every chapter started with notes that accompany a diagram that we could not see as this was an audio version. It was a mixture of confusing and annoying.
3. The characters were very shallow and the ending was terrible.
The narrator did a passable job with the text he had and this made the book slightly easier to endure. I would not reccomend this as an interesting read.
I enjoyed the new style of magic he created. Its detailed and realistic with a great twist waiting in the series.
I wouldn't - its perfectly aimed at the YA audience with enough creativity to be interesting and action to be engaging.
His ability to create tension is quite brilliant
I think so as its quite short. I was left feeling like it could be a good series for easy listening.
I enjoyed it as a gap-filler whilst I wait for a more serious fantasy to hit the shelves.
Brandon Sanderson comes to young adult fiction finally.
Firstly, the magic. To an extent the magic in this one is similar to some of the Japnese manga cartoons where people battle using "playing cards".
Characters are interesting and very reminiscent of the mistborn series with particular characteristics defining people. Michael Kramer's narration also gives you the same feeling - but do note the sameness is in style not in the background or storyline. So, overall it's good.
Story is interesting, and covers an alternate dystopian world. But, it's interesting nonetheless. Some of the world weaving felt a bit strained and hence I've rated it as 4 stars rather than 5. I think the background could have been built up more particularly, the underlying politics and government structure/beliefs.
Overeall, it's a good book and I recommend it with the hope that the background storyline becomes more fleshed out in a sequel.
"light entertainment - with Sanderson magic"
Still not 100% convinced that chalk drawings are serious foe........but hey, who cares....it was still good fun, and worth spending an audible credit on. If you enjoy Sanderson's story-telling, and in need of some fun, light relief, then you won't be disappointed.
One thing Sanderson is never: predictable. Yes, it's not quite as strong as Stormlight, or the last WoT books, but still worthy of a listen. It has some humour, and, typically, a good solid twist near the end that leaves you wanting more. I'll be watching out for the sequel....
Thank you Mr Sanderson for keeping my commute tolerable.
"Sanderson finds another hit formula"
Brandon Sanderson is becoming one of my favourite writers at present. This is the first book in a series for young adults, but that shouldn't put you off. This was a light read before I stated Sanderson's Words of Radiance - which i am expecting to be a fairly heavy read.
The magic system used within this book is genius - Chalk drawings. It was nice to have details of the magic system described a little after every chapter. This allowed the reader to get up to speed with the magic system without a massive info dump at the beginning.
The story follows Joel, a student at a Rithmatist school. Even though he is not a Rithmatist himself, he is assigned to a professor to look into a number of recent incidents. Of course, no YA novel is complete unless it has a quirky opposite sex person, and this was filled in by Melody.
Together they work through a number of missions for their professor, sometimes getting into trouble while others finding the convenient clues that adults failed to notice. This is exactly what i would expect from this type of book.
I listened to the audiobook version and Michael Kramer did another sterling job. The only complaint is Michael's voices are very similar to his other audio records.
I will most certainly be on the lookout for the next book in this series.
Yes, because the story was so complex, filled with twists and turns, that I'd want to listen again to pick up areas that I missed first time round.
Ender's Game. The central heroes have a similar feel. They are both underdogs, but ones that are liked by other characters in the stories. You can't help but love them.
Michael Kramer's voice is becoming quite a familiar one for me, as I've listened through the majority of the Wheel of Time books with him, and listened to the Mistborn series. I like his skills at characterisation, and lose myself in the audible telling almost as much as if I were reading the book myself.
The battle moments in the book were very exciting, and the details made them very easy to imagine.
I'm now looking forward to listening to another Brandon Sanderson novel. He's pure genius!
"If it wasn't for you meddling kids...."
Not as good as other Brandon books, but that may be that this is a y a book.
I had trouble imagining chalk drawings being a threat to anyone's life, and it sort of played out as a not so good, full metal alchemist, crossed with a Pokemon competition. And a war against chalk monsters. I guess they must live somewhere without rain.
Anyway as the story goes on it gets to a "if it wasnt for you meddling kids" moment but then ends before you realize it.
I suppose it's my fault listing to a y.a book but you have to try these things.
I look forward to Brandon returning to his adult books. And would still recommend and younger listeners to give it a try.
All his other books I gave a 5 but this is a 3 for me
Loving Brandon Sanderson for sometime now, I was happy to see a new book out by him and haven't been let down. Although this book is very light reading compared to some of his other books, it is fabulous in its complex detail.
Definately a YA Novel in context. But one of those classics that i don't think you need to be a certain age to enjoy it, thankfully...
I have greatly enjoyed the last 2days of listening and now am a bit at a loss for what to do and keep feeling the need to draw circles in chalk... Shame we have carpet to...
I will definately be listening to it again...
The only downside is that i think the book must be illustarted at the begining of each chapter and although it is described and detailed very well I want to see the lines...
I hope you get the same enjoyment as I have from this book.
Different, interesting, quirky.
Yes and more of the same, I say the same because I have listened to well over 300 hours of his narrations and he has never given less than a brilliant performance, seldom equalled, never bettered.
Made me laugh sometimes
About time too, chalk drawings are the bad guys, what a change from werewolves, vampires, elves, goblins etc etc. I think it's fun and the characters are great,
This was stimulating, fun, full of character and with a great story that was very well read. Thankyou.
"Good variation on a well-worn genre"
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed young adult fantasy books or the magical school genre (yes, it exists beyond Harry Potter). It's a new take on the genre but hits a lot of the favourite beats.
The magic system was great (perhaps unsurprising for Brandon Sanderson) but I liked that despite it being based on geometry, I had no problems picturing the lines and defences. I loved that the story was from the perspective of a mundane student at a school for magic-users, and his constant battle with his desire to be a Rithmatist and the uncompromising reality that he wasn't one provided a lot of good conflict.
Friendly, expressive, folksy.
It did make me laugh a few times with some good lines and I really felt the main character's emotions when he was outraged or lost hope. However, it didn't make me cry or go through heady extremes of emotion!
The female character grew more likable as time went on (I especially loved the deadliness of her unicorn chalklings!) but she felt a little stereotypical at times. But the scene that threw her attitude to money into contrast with Joel's was absolutely brilliant.
"A good, solid Young Adult fantasy"
Brandon Sanderson first came to my attention thanks to the award-winning Writing Excuses Podcast, which he hosts. Then IWIWAB had a guest review from Lucy Brown of The Final Empire, which was glowing to say the least. So when offered a review copy of the audiobook of The Rithmatist, Sanderson's first Young Adult book, narrated by Michael Kramer, I snatched it up.
Sanderson is know for his detailed, inventive world building and magic system creation, and The Rithmatist is no exception. The world he has created mirrors ours in most ways, with subtle and sometimes amusing changes. America, for instance, is made up of dozens of island states, connected by vast clockwork train lines. That's one of the more important differences, but Sanderson doesn't stop there, instead he includes little things that you might miss if you're not paying attention, such as the fact that the Europeans invented chopsticks... This sort of attention to details makes the world of The Rithmatist a joy to explore.
In this world, Rithmatists are the magic wielders. They use chalk, crafting defensive circles and 2D chalklings to attack. It's an inventive system which has had much thought go into both its uses and its history, but it's easy to understand despite its complicated patterns and styles. One area that lets the magic system down are the chalklings. They are creatures made from chalk to attack another Rithmatist's defences, whilst wild ones run riot in the north. Sadly it's hard to be too scared of two-dimensional outlines, or at least it is for the first half of the book until Sanderson describes how they kill...
The Rithmatist also shows off Sanderson's obvious talent for story-telling. As a regular reviewer of books, about half-way through I found myself annoyed by some of the obvious hints and unsurprising plot twists in the book, only to realise that actually, I'd been fooled by some clever plotting. That's not to say there aren't some issues with it though. Many of the features in the story are a bit YA-fodder, such as the two main teacher characters; one being old, soft-spoken and wise (Dumbledore, anyone?) and the other slimy, arrogant and possibly evil (the name Snape comes to mind for some reason). There's also the seemingly mandatory mysterious death involving one of the protagonist's parents, which ties in to the plot a little too neatly.
As an audiobook it worked well, with Michael Kramer showing very good voice acting ability, and a knack for creating unique voices for each character. At the beginning of each chapter there is a description of a Rithmatist chalk pattern. Although described well by Kramer, there is only so much you can glean from a description of a pattern, and being able to see these on the page would have been better, but it's hardly a deal breaker.
The finale may wrap up a bit too neatly, with all our protagonists and supporting characters working in perfect unison to defeat the Big-Bad, but gripes aside, The Rithmatist is a great Young Adult fantasy novel, and the beginning of what is promising to be an excellent series. Sadly we'll have to wait until 2015 for the second instalment.
"A slow burner but worth the wait"
I love Sanderson's other work so I had no hesitation in buying this title. However, as much as I enjoyed it i found it very annoying that between every chapter there are in depth descriptions of how the books 'magic system' works along with sketchs and drawings to help the reader better understand it.
This of course would be fine if reading the book but I found it impossible to follow when listening to the descritions without the sketchs to look at and as a result some of the more important scenes were lost on me.
Overall though it was an enjoyable listen aimed more at the young adult market. However I much prefer Sanderson's epic fantasy and will be sticking to that in the future.
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