The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson Review

The Rithmatist was Sanderson’s first foray into fantasy for a young adult audience. It follows Joel, a student who longs to be a Rithmatist however has no magical ability. Rithmatics is a great scientific hard magic system that Sanderson has become known for. It is a system based on chalk drawings of geometric patterns that are infused with magical essence. Joel is a chalk maker’s son who has longed to be a Rithmatist his entire life but was not endowed with the ability at the age of eight when it manifests in those who have the ability. Ever since, he has studied Rithmatics as an interested but incapable pupil, but now he gets embroiled in a plot high above his pay grade.

This is the first non-cosmere Sanderson I have read, and the world building was interesting. The way real world places are used but almost with an alternate history feel is a fun twist. The almost steampunk, clockwork elements also added a fun technological side to this fantasy world. In many ways this felt like Sanderson light to me, a single viewpoint character limited some of his usual shenanigans but did lead to it being a nice and tightly plotted story. It lacked much of his typical sprawling storylines, but had a nice streamlined plot.

Through most of this book I enjoyed following Joel, and the story pushed forward with good side characters and an understandable motive for all our characters. Where this book really picks up is the final third, the pace quickens and resolves very satisfactorily for me. It does finish with a reasonably self contained conclusion, however I am very much longing for a sequel.

All in all, this was a good enjoyable YA book that has me interested for me in this world.


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