The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson


GoodreadsThe Rithmatist
Series: Rithmatist #1
Source: Gift
Published: 2013


In Joel’s world, students train as Rithmatists–people who can make chalk drawings come alive to fight the wild chalklings that threaten their society.  Joel would do anything to be a Rithmatist himself, but because he was not chosen during the initiation ceremony, he spends his days studying Rithmatic theory and old Rithmatist duels.  Then Rithmatist students begin disappearing and Joel finds himself assisting the professor determined to find the perpetrator.  But with no Rithmatic powers himself, how can Joel hope to win a fight drawn in 2D?


The Rithmatist is one of those rare, gripping reads–the kind that you finish in one sitting in the wee hours of the morning because you can’t bear to put it down.  With sympathetic characters, an engrossing mystery, and a vividly-drawn world, The Rithmatist proves one of the finest fantasies I have read in a long time.

The premise alone was enough to draw me in.  In Joel’s world, humans fight against wild chalklings, two-dimensional drawings that rip people apart.  To fight this threat, Rithmatists are chosen to train in creating drawings that can defend and attack against the chalkings.  Ritmatists rely on geometry to create circular intricate defenses–greater precision means greater strength–while they use more artistic approaches to create their own chalkings–unicorns, knights, dragons, and anything else they can imagine or sketch to launch attacks.  In this world, math and beauty mean power.

I was fascinated by the intricacy of the Rithmatic drawings and the precision and knowledge needed to protect and fight against the chalklings.  Currently Rithmatists use four types of drawings–but Joel begins to wonder if more lines of power could exist.  His quest to learn more about the Rithmatists intertwines with the mystery of the disappearing students, creating a fast-paced plot that contains just the right amount of action, danger, and Rithmatic theory.  Lovers of fantasy worlds are sure to enjoy The Rithmatist if for nothing else than the detail with which its rules is drawn.

I was excited to see that The Rithmatist was published in 2013 and hoped I could soon pick up the sequel.  Sanderson’s other projects seem to be keeping him busy, however, so, unfortunately, I will not be joining Joel and his friends again in the foreseeable future.  I know, however, that the book will be worth the wait.

5 StarsKrysta 64

7 thoughts on “The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

    • Krysta says:

      Sanderson seems to be involved in writing an unusually large number of series at the same time. That is, most authors seem to stick to one at at time. 😉


  1. DoingDewey says:

    I’ve generally found that after reading The Way of Kings, all of Sanderson’s books have seemed disappointing to me by comparison. This seems a little more different than his other books though and has a fascinating premise, so I’m tempted to pick it up .


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