The Rithmatist is the first of Brandon Sanderson’s books that I have read, and I must say, what an introduction to such a talented author! I originally chose this book as a gift for my partner, who has been a Sanderson fan for years, and I couldn’t resist reading it myself.
Sanderson’s simplistic, yet effective writing style makes it easy to be sucked into this world where rithmatics, a sort of magic conducted through chalk drawings, is a vital yet potentially dangerous profession. The world-building in this book is phenomenal. The world is so similar to our own, but has some major differences (which I shall not spoil!). It’s sort of gearpunk meets fantasy meets geometry (never fear, you don’t have to be a maths wiz to enjoy!). It’s a cool combination of elements which I have not experienced before. The descriptions of this world are simplistic, yet detailed. Sanderson pains a picture for the reader without overwhelming them with small and unnecessary details.
The characters in this story are realistic, three dimensional, and oh so interesting. Many of them are also
One of many diagrams included for the reader
quite funny and I often found myself chuckling out loud at some of the bizarre, yet strangely inspirational and profound comments they make. As The Rithmatist is the first in a series, I certainly feel that only the surface has been scratched on some of the characters, and I cannot wait to discover more about them.
The beginning is a little heavy on explanations about the magic system known as rithmatics, but I didn’t really mind this as it was delivered in a way that was enjoyable. It also helps that it’s fascinating! A diagram is provided before each chapter to help the reader understand and visualise rithmatics as it’s being used. Not only is this just the coolest thing ever, it’s also practical in helping the reader to visualise the magic system being used, especially if you’re like me and don’t speak geometry.
The plot is unique, engaging, and very well paced. I’m the type of reader who will try to figure out what’s going on and guess how the book may end (and I’m not too bad at it either!). With The Rithmatist, I was constantly second guessing myself and changing my mind. This, of course, was both frustrating and elating! I loved the challenge. I loved the red herrings, I loved the hints and clues, I loved that I often was not sure which category certain details belonged to. Sanderson does not hold your hand through this book, but the answer is certainly there to see if you look closely.
This is a great book for lovers of magic and mystery, both teen and adult. The style is easy to read with its simplistic language, but still manages to showcase a world that is detailed and unique. The addition of illustrations and diagrams make it that much more enjoyable. I am definitely adding more of Brandon Sanderson’s books to my “to read” list.