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.
WHY. HOW. Dude, Brandon Sanderson can WRITE. This book was so weird and wonderful and interesting and engaging. Honestly this is one of the strangest and coolest books I have ever read. It had great characters, world-building, themes, mystery. I loved every single minute of it. And now all I want to do is jump into every single Brandon Sanderson fantasy series. I might do just that, too.
Joel: He's curious and clever and a bit of an outcast. He has a desire for knowledge that others often find weird or intrusive, but that's a big reason why I loved him. It's easy to identify with him because he feels like he's missed his chance to be special. But then he still works to make things happen for himself. He's persistent and determined. I thought he was a really good narrator, too. That feels like a weird thing to point out, but I mean that through him Brandon Sanderson was able to tell a really great story.
Melody: LOVE HER. I love how Brandon so accurately created a teenage girl. She's sort of crazy, and weird, and curious, and creative. But she was also sort of selfish and loud and she feels inadequate a lot of the time.
I've fallen in love with Joel and Melody's friendship, too. Their dynamic is so interesting because they squabble a lot and tease each other, but they grudgingly became friends until they were just good friends. It was so well-developed. At they end they made me so happy and emotional.
"You came out here to get humiliated, and you didn't even invite me along!"
She hesitated, then smiled. "Idiot," she said.
Fitch: It's impossible not to love him. A sweet, nervous, older professor who takes the two outcasts under his wings. He seems to have almost inexhaustible patience, a quality he most definitely needs in dealing with Melody and Joel.
Nalizar: So interesting. I'm excited to see what happens in the future books, although I won't go into why to avoid spoilers and such.
This book was so engaging. From the very first page I was caught up in the world, I wanted to know more about Rithmatics, about Joel, about everything. Then the mystery came up and I pulled in the rest of the way. I love how the mystery was handled in this book. There were so many twists and turns, little clues dropped for a bunch of different characters, and false leads. A few different times I got it into my head it was clear-cut, but most of the time I was wrong. I loved being wrong because it meant more intrigue and mystery in the future. I also loved how the book ended. The last scene was perfection and even made me tear up a bit.
FANTASTIC. There was never any info-dumping, but you slowly learned what the heck Rithmatics are and how they affect the world and politics. I always love alternate history worlds. They are so interesting and unique, so as you learn more about the history of this world it gets more and more awesome.
Brandon Sanderson's writing is so wonderful. It's clear and informative, but at the same time it pulls you in and gets you invested in the proceedings and the characters. It must take some magnificent talent to develop and then create this world in a way that's not confusing and without putting a wall around it, keeping the reader out. This book suffer from neither of those problems.
"The most dangerous kind of man is not the one who spent his youth shoving others around. That kind of man gets lazy, and is often too content with his life to be truly dangerous. The man who has spent his youth being shoved around, however...When that man gets a little power and authority, he often uses it to become a tyrant on par with the worst warlords in history."
"However, humans are more than their need to survive."
"Those who have intense hatred often are fascinated by the things they detest."
"Because man created it. He sectioned it off. There is nothing inherently important about a second or a minute. They're fictional divisions, enacted by mankind, fabricated...Yet in a human's hands, these things have life. Minutes, seconds, hours. The arbitrary becomes law."