Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewer: JW Hicks author of Rats

What We Thought: Famed for his adult Epic Fantasy, Brandon delivers on all counts in this YA novel.

The Rithmatist is an inventive and detailed story which focuses on two outsiders studying at Armedius Academy: Joel the chalk-makers son, with an instinctive, internalised grasp of mathematics who is not, though he longs to be, a Rithmatist, and Melody Mims, a failing Rithmatist student who prefers to sketch unicorns rather than improve the accuracy of her geometric diagrams.

At first they don’t get on, Melody has a scratchy personality and a massive chip on her shoulder, but the twosome find common ground in attempting to work out why Rithmatist students are disappearing, kidnapped from their rooms at night... leaving trails of blood.

Rithmatists from the islands of the New World use their magical powers as a defence against the inimical Chalklings who inhabit the Tower of Nebrask – the only freestanding structure of apparent human design to be found when the Islands were first discovered.

Students who complete their training at the Armedius Accademy, are sent to Nebrask to help keep the Chalklings penned in the Tower, and thus keep the American Isles safe from their depredations. It turns out that the kidnapped students are top-quality Rithmatists expected to be powerful fighters in the Tower war. Their loss is catastrophic.

Joel is assigned to Professor Fitch as an aide in Fitch’s investigation into the kidnappings. Inquisitive Melody tags along. In the course of their investigation, Joel discovers vital information in his dead father’s workshop. Then after a confrontation with a magical opponent he and Melody realise that there’s a whole lot more going on at Nebrask than people are aware of.

What they discover is something that will change Rithmatics, and their world, forever.

This fabulous book meant for young adult readers is more readable than a lot of lit-fic novels written for the older reader. The excitingly-tense story is told with flowing ease and is a definite page turner. I look forward to reading the planned sequel, The Aztlantian.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: A taste of Rowling mixed with a scoop of Plowman, melded with an added soup├žon of Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching stories.

Avoid if you don’t like: Scary tales of teens battling man-eating Chalklings.

Ideal accompaniments: A box or two of Thorntons Irresistible Irish Cream Truffles.

Genre: YA Fantasy

Available from Amazon

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