Book: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Genre: YA SF/Steampunk
For: Utah Book Month
From: Bought from Amazon
I absolutely love Brandon Sanderson's books, however, I was quite disappointed by this one. For me, it really wasn't at all like any of his other high fantasy stuff. I don't know, maybe YA is not for him. Maybe steampunk is not for him. Maybe I just was plain too dumb for this book!
So we have this kid going to this posh school where kids who have been deemed (in a religious ceremony when they are 8) rithmatists go to school along with kids like him, who are not rithmatists. And all he wants is to be one of them. He studies the magic, the science and the history. He knows it all, but when he draws his lines and circles, they just sit there and don't come to life at all.
Because you see, rithmatists have magic that make it so their circles and lines and figures, all drawn with chalk on the ground, come to life and battle each other. It's really quite exciting and there's a huge massive strategy involved. There's duels and competitions and all sorts of crazy stuff.
The most crazy thing, though, is that there are bad guys whose figures will actually kill a person. Those guys are, supposedly, all contained in another part of the country, where all the good rithmatists go (in fact they are trained and then must give 10 years of their life) to defend the chalk circle containing the bad guys.
And right around the time this book opens, students begin missing! And now the mystery must be solved!
Maybe this way I didn't get so much into this book. It was basically a steampunk mystery, all based on geometry! You might love that, but I was mostly like, eh... yeah, okay. It sort of made my head spin.
And maybe it's just the time we live in now, book-wise, but there did seem to be a lot of Harry Potter sort of similarities. Sigh. Oh, well.
Anyway, as always, it was a pretty cool world, an alternate United States, only they are United Isles. But I did feel (and Jenny will be cheering in the wings about this statement) that the characters suffered in light of the world building! Something that I don't agree happens with his fantasy books, because those characters are awesome!
Bottom line: It was okay and many kids might find it totally fascinating, but I was just.. yeah, okay about it. But it still gets three stars from me (meaning I did actually like it) because the ending was pretty exciting after all.
It's not that it isn't as good as any other magic system Sanderson has created, it's more that it's actually overused for once. -From Only the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy
With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world. From Surrounded by Book Reviews
The Rithmatist is one of those great stories that just sucks you in and never lets go. From BookBanter
So, I definitely recommend The Rithmatist to people who prefer fantasy with an academic bent and especially to those who are in the Brandon Sanderson fan club and know the secret handshake. From Good Books and Good Wine