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.
This was the Rainbow Book Of The Month and it was Mel’s turn to pick and she picked a Brandon Sanderson book because she was fresh out of Mistborn and really wanted to introduce us to the magic of Sanderson and I for one am so glad she did.
The plot itself was pretty awesome. I mean I never thought that something as boring as chalk could actually be interesting and be used as a weapon. I loved how the story flowed and how just when you thought you had everything figured out, Sanderson whips around and starts leading you down another path.
That said though, I did find certain parts to be quite draggy. For example, I didn’t like the heavy quoting from the Rithmatist history textbooks. That was very boring. I also didn’t appreciate the illustrations as much as I wanted to. I felt the they were unnecessary and that they added no value to the book. I mean okay, it can be argued that the drawings gave the reader a picture of what the lines looked like but I have an imagination thank you very much.
I’m only going to talk about 3 characters here even though I desperately desperately want to talk about more of them but SPOILERS. So I shall resist the temptation.
Joel was a lot of fun. I really had fun reading about him and about his strong desire to be a Rithmatist and to be something more then he was. But what I found most noble about his character was the fact that he remained true to who he was. It was very easy to give him Rithmatist powers midway through the book and then have him save the day but I loved how he remained true to himself and proved every YA book ever wrong by saying that no. You don’t actually need superpowers to save the world. You can be the ‘sidekick’ and still be the hero. I loved that.
I don’t really know what to say about Melody except that I thought she was a great supporting character and I loved her friendship with Joel. I thought the two of them had excellent chemistry. Also, she had unicorn chalklings. I mean seriously. How could that get any better?
I loved Fitch. He was such a gentle old man and he was just that kind of teacher that everyone wants to have. The guy who truly cares about imparting knowledge and not just about his pay check. I loved that old guy and I was rooting for him from day 1. Plus, the guy was a little snippy at his students and then couldn’t sleep and had to trawl the whole school in the middle of the night looking for them just to apologise. I mean how cute is that??
Overall I loved this book. I thought it was very well done and a nice break from all the repetitive YA novels that are published. I enjoyed the characters who were all so well written and just nice people. I mean nowadays, its so hard to find a book where you actually like the characters. I feel like there’s always something about a character that makes you go, ‘Ugh. Really?’. But with this book, yes there were the villains, but generally everyone was just excellent.
The book lost that final star from me mainly because it was draggy at some points but the easy flow and addictive way Sanderson has of telling the story completely made up for it.
All I can say is that Sanderson has swept me off my feet and I can’t wait to get to the Mistborn trilogy.