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Review: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson


More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever.

My thoughts

I read this right after I finished Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy and therefore lowered my expectations a lot. Mistborn was such an epic story I just couldn’t expect to get to read something as good.
The Rithmatist is of course a completely different story and on it’s own it’s another epic story by an author who seems to be a new favorite of mine.

Why I loved this book

The worldbuilding

I already loved this idea of the Rithmatists and the chalklings before I even started reading. Actually reading about this completely blew my mind. Not only the idea of this is epic but also how detailed a world Sanderson created. There were all these little things that makes this a unique and amazing world that’s a lot of fun to read about.
It goes even so far that instead of “Damn!” or the like they say “Dust!” all the time.
I like that it’s so detailed on the one hand but it’s not overwhelming on the other. You get these details in small little pieces and can be sure not to miss anything. And I think there is still a lot more to explorer.

Much needed, awesome illustrations

I really love these illustrations. Most of them even look like they are drawn with chalk.
But they are not just a nice addition to this story to make this a pretty book. You actually need at least some of them. Some of the things you learn about this world of Rithmatists is so complex that you need some pictures to understand them.


I think with Joel, Sanderson chose the best way to tell this story and introduce us to this world. He himself isn’t a Rithmatist as much as he wants to be one. This makes him the perfect character to follow and explorer everything with. He himself wants to find out about everything and with him doing that we get to know everything without it ever getting boring.

The characters

I loved that the three characters we get to read about the most are all in some way outsiders which makes them so much more likeable and easy to connect with. You just have to like this little team.

Friendship instead of love

Sanderson proves that there can be stories with a boy and a girl without them falling heads over heels in love. These two don’t even like each other that much and it was always fun to read about their little disputes.

Everything but ordinary

This book is far from ordinary in so many ways. Besides being an epic fantasy story that also is kind of steampunk it doesn’t have any of these typical YA elements in it. No unnecessary love story, the main character doesn’t always gets what he wants in the end. Parents and adults in general aren’t left out and instead are there to help the teens.

Great ending that promises more

Not that this was ever boring or slow paced but at the end it got even better and became really thrilling. These fights with creatures made out of chalk is so cool and I wish there would have been more.
I especially loved the way it ends. I liked how the situation with the bad guy currently stands. It seems like there is a lot more to come.


Brandon Sanderson started another series that promises to be one big amazing adventure. I fell in love with this world and its characters and can’t wait to read the next book.

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  • This book was so much fun! I loved that Sanderson used magic math in this series!

  • Ich hatte deine Rezension ja schon bei Goodreads gelesen und bin seither gespannt, wie ein Flitzebogen! Hab mir vor ein paar Wochen das Taschenbuch gekauft, nachdem ich die Vorbestellung leider verpasst hab und der Preis auch nicht wirklich gesunken ist :-/ Aber mir den Illustrarionen wollte ich dann doch lieber ein “richtiges” Buch, statt einem Ebook (das ist im Moment das günstigste).

    Es ist einfach nur wahnsinn, wie es Brandon Sanderson schafft so viele Bücher zu schreiben und trotzdem immer seine Qualität beizubehalten. “Steelheart” hatte mich zuletzt unheimlich überzeugt. Das hatte sich dann sogar mal mein Freund zu Gemüte geführt und schneller verschlungen, als gedacht.

    Nun bin ich umso gespannter auf “The Rithmatist”. Deine Rezension macht mir schon mal große Hoffnungen, wenn es für dich trotz frischer Gedanken an “Mistborn” so überzeugen konnte. Ich glaube, das kommt für Februar auf jeden Fall auf die Liste ;)

    Liebe Grüße,

Jan 28, 2014