29 May 2013

Review: The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On one hand, this is another classic Brandon Sanderson read, complete with unique magic system and compelling finale.

On the other, this is a little more disjointed than most of his stuff, and is more rescued by a great conclusion than consistently getting there.

The story follows a kid, Joel, who really wishes he could be a Rithmatist, a type of mage that uses chalk outlines to build spells and attack/defend. Taking place in an alternate United States where a massive war is happening, Rithmatists are trained at a special school to learn their craft and go to war. A series of kidnappings are occurring on campus, however, and Joel is on the case, along with his friend Melody and their professor.

The book isn't bad, far from it. It feels too young for a young adult audience, too old for middle grade, and the magic system in particular is interesting but feels limited. I'd put this closer to a 3 if it weren't for a really wild, really entertaining finale where everything starts to make a little more sense, but getting there was admittedly a bit of a slog in a way I didn't expect.

As a Sanderson fanboy, this worked pretty well for me on a whole. As someone who was looking for a better book, however, this left me wanting more on a whole. I really did enjoy this book, it's more that Sanderson has set the bar so spectacularly high as of late that something less solid pales in comparison. If you're a fan, dive in, but if not, you might not love this as much as you think you might.

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