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The Rithmatist

(Rithmatist #1)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  41,862 Ratings  ·  5,407 Reviews
This is a fast-paced adventure for readers of all ages by bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, master of fantasy fiction. Here, in a school for the magically gifted, your talent could cost you your life...Young student Joel is fascinated by the magic of Rithmatics, but few have the gift and he is not one of them. Undaunted, Joel persuades Professor Fitch to teach him abou ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 26th 2015 by Tor (first published May 13th 2013)
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Scott I have yet to read anything by Sanderson that I didn't enjoy. He has books aimed at different levels of readers. The Rithmatist would be a great read…moreI have yet to read anything by Sanderson that I didn't enjoy. He has books aimed at different levels of readers. The Rithmatist would be a great read for junior high level on up. Clean with action, but no gore.

The Reckoners series is aimed at the young adult market. The books are fast paced and gripping, with a gritty edge.

The first three Mistborn books, on the other hand, are epic fantasy that include many dark elements. The books in his Stormlight Archive series are even more serious epic fantasy that require a high level of reader commitment.

If you're interested in something shorter, check out some of Sanderson's novellas. You might like his two Legion stories, Sixth of Dusk, Perfect State, or if you want something mildly scary you might consider Shadows for Silence In the Forests of Hell. All great reads.(less)
Aaron Toponce Well, it is technically a "young adult fantasy", so take that as you will. With that said, I didn't find the tone childish at all. I'm 38, and…moreWell, it is technically a "young adult fantasy", so take that as you will. With that said, I didn't find the tone childish at all. I'm 38, and immensely enjoyed the book. I read it to my then 7 year old daughter, and she actually didn't care for it as much as she did the Alcatraz series by the same author.

But no, I wouldn't say it has a "teenager feel".(less)
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Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this one on audio, vainly hoping beyond hope that I might finally read a Brandon Sanderson book I don't like so I can feel better about myself as an author.

But no. I enjoyed this book as much as any of his. Good worldbuilding, just as you'd expect from Sanderson. And a clever, detailed magic system. Good mystery surrounding the world.

And I really like that things aren't easy for the protagonist. Everything doesn't just fall into his lap. He wants things at the beginning of the book
Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Rating: 4.5 stars

This was such an enjoyable and fun read!
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brandon Sanderson just made chalk figures scary. Chalk figures. As in these guys:

Ok, admittedly they don’t look like much, certainly not like man eating monsters, but after reading this, they are totally creepy. Sanderson’s certainly built up a (well deserved) reputation for writing interesting, intelligent, wildly imaginative magic systems - to the point it’s pretty much common knowledge in the fantasy community these days, but as The Rithmatist proves, those talents still go a long way, especi
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
*deep sigh*

So, I've read 14 full-length novels and 2 novellas by Brandon Sanderson, and this is the one that didn't do it for me.

My one glowing positive is that, once again, Sanderson presents his readers with a fascinating magic system. Think Chalk Zone with more violence!

Rithmatists are a chosen elite, trained from a young age & charged with protecting civilization by way of breathing life into mathematically intricate chalk sketches. These sketches rely on the precision & intent of t
Pre-read reaction, October 2011:

I have only a vague idea what it's about. But it's by Sanderson, so *cue droning robot voice* . . . I will read it. I must read it.


If an author came to me and said: "I have a great idea for a magic system. These guys called Rithmatists draw in chalk on the ground, and their chalk drawings have power. They can draw chalklings, which can be given instructions. Some chalklings can actually injure people, especially the wild chalklings. Those guys are dangerous!"
Lia  (a paper pigeon)
"What good is having friends if they don't put you in mortal peril every once in a while?"


That's it.
That's the review.
Hasham Rasool
Must read 'The Rithmatist' for those who are:
huge fan of Sanderson
huge fan of fantasy books
children (10 years old+)

The magics of Rithmatics are very strange because I haven't seen this kind of magic before.

The Rithmatist is an usual book. I haven't read this kind of fantasy book.

This book has mixtured genres: fantasy, crime and mystery.

My favourite characters are Joel and Melody.
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
[4.5 stars] I hope no one gets tired of hearing me say “I read another Sanderson, and it was amazing!” because I say it a lot.

The Rithmatist, while not as sophisticated as some of Sanderson’s high fantasy (for obvious reasons), is still one of my new favorite works from him. The magic system was particularly fun to read about – Rithmatists who duel one another using chalk drawings (ground wards for defense, animated chalk drawings for offense),and set in a school setting where they learn everyth
Chantal  (Every Word A Doorway)
I think I should start every Sanderson review with: Brandon Sanderson does it again!

There is a reason this guy is one of my favorite authors, he cannot disappoint.

This book is all about expectations. It’s Sanderson’s first try at YA and he did a great job making fantasy more accessible to a younger audience. For those who are used to Sanderson’s other adult works however, this may be a disappointment. The Rithmatist is a lot shorter than his other novels, with only 370 pages, large font and nume
TS Chan
4.5 stars.

One of the reasons why fans of Brandon Sanderson (including yours truly) love him so much - when he gets into a writing funk he sidetracks himself by writing something completely different from his main project and it can result in a gem like this book.

MG and YA are not my go-to genre and hence, I'm very selective when it comes to these books. However, I have immense faith in Sanderson as he consistently churns out good, if not amazing, books. I also failed to understand why he had be
Iryna semi-hiatus (Book and Sword)
4.5/5 stars

I wasn't going to round up. I mean not every Sanderson's book can be 5 stars, right? Wrong. Because when it came down to the last pages I was tearing up...So I just had to.

I thought that maybe because this was intended for younger readers (middle to young adult) it will be duller and not as interesting as his other series that I've read so far. I thought that I will read it and just think of it as a nice stand-alone book. I thought that there couldn't have possibly been another new an
Dec 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review, 2013
After reading a bit of the initial commentary on this book, some people mentioned that maybe there was a little too much focus on the magic system. Being a huge Sanderson fan, my thoughts were along the line of: there's no way, his magic is THE reason I love his novels, there's literally NO way.

As it turns out, there does seem to be a way, although only just a bit.

The magic of The Rithmatist is as creative as ever. I've mentioned this before and I'll say it again, Sanderson's magic really takes
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned-read
I loved this book.

The story was solid and the world was AMAZING. So much fun to read, the characters were lovely. This book is technically young adult, but it is so unique and so focused on a beautiful and well thought out world, and not romance that I forgot sometimes while reading.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


This book was fantastic. Everything about this book oozes with awesomeness! I mean, who would have thought chalk figures could be so menacing and scary?


Has it ever crossed your mind that chalk drawings could eat you, or worse, kill you?

It hasn't for me. The concept just sounded so farfetched. Too weird.

But this is Sanderson. I shouldn't have doubted his ability to make som
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how Sanderson does it! To come up with a whole system of Rithmatics was brilliant. I didn't guess who the rogue Rithmatist was and I loved the main character Joel and his friend Melody working together. Looking forward to the sequel when it finally gets released.
Scott  Hitchcock
2.5*'s with a rare round up. I just didn't think this was the usual Sanderson quality.
3.5/5 stars
This was a really enjoyable read! The whole concept is so interesting - a really cool take on steampunk without actually being steam punk!
I loved the reimagined US as islands and the whole world in general.
The plot was interesting but (mostly) pretty predictable, Joel was an alright main character - not great though, and the story, while overall interesting, just didn't have enough meat to it. It was a really great concept but the actually story played out had too many pacing issues f
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chris Lee
Shelves: why-eh, i-said, top
"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s."

Brandon Sanderson has hit a home run here in this awesome world of chalk, just sick with possibility. He drops you into this world of chalk drawings that come to life, possess power and threaten the main protagonists, who also duel and defend in chalk.

These protagonists, the people of whom I speak, are interesting; possess a depth that contradicts Sanderson’s sparse prose. I found it easy to connect with and car
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books
Of course Brandon Sanderson can do no wrong and even his Young Adult books, like this one, are really worth a read. He has this tremendous ability to keep creating new and fascinating worlds with equally fascinating science and magic.
The Rithmatists of the title are people who can use chalk to create magic wards and creatures which can in turn be used for duelling and fighting. Our main characters are Joel who is not a Rithmatist but wants to be and Melody who is one and does not care. Both char
Helen 2.0
3.5 rounded up.

Imagine a steampunk Hogwarts where Muggles and wizards study side by side. Magicians' power is derived from chalk lines and drawings that obey the maker and affect the real world.
The Rithmatist tells the story of Joel, a normal guy whose greatest wish was to become a Rithmatist, a chalk wizard.

Since Joel was not selected to learn Rithmatism, he dedicates his time to studying as much as he can about the world that's forbidden to him. Then Rithmatist students start disappearing and
Franco  Santos
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Otra gran obra del escritor de Nacidos de la bruma. En esta me cautivó nuevamente con un sistema de magia inteligente e innovador excelsamente desarrollado.

La historia comienza con un ritmo rápido pero profundo. De entrada ya sabía que, una vez más, Sanderson me iba quitar horas de sueño. Y no me equivoqué: El rithmatista no me dio descanso. Es un relato lleno de misterio y, aunque resulte extraño, un poco de terror.

Siento que Sanderson pudo haber explotado mucho más lo que creó. Podría haber
Dana Ilie
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A another mind blowing book.
The Rithmatist, is a Young Adult fantasy. Sanderson hits all the right notes when it comes to all the usual YA themes; coming of age, the meaning of true friendship, loyalty, perseverance, and even a didactic against bullying.
As expected in a Sanderson novel, the magic system is completely unique.
The characters are a fun bunch to read about – every one of them is unique with their distinct personalities and idiosyncrasies. Sanderson does a good job here and the charac
Awesome YA read. I need him to write the sequel already!!!
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good ol' Sanderson. I'll be drawing chalklings and lines in my office building in the next week or so. I hope nobody cares.
Well, how can I put this gently.... it's an easy, entertaining read. I certainly enjoy most things about this book... all except for the chalkling things. The writing is brilliant. And honestly, I loved the story as a whole. Just when it came to the chalklings being these big scary things that have terrorized the world, I wasn't feeling it. If you took them out and replaced them with some other magical system it would have been a phenomenal story. It just seemed too far fetched. I just could not ...more
Liz* Fashionably Late
BR with Emma's friends! :D

What is it with Sanderson and everything he writes? The more I read his books, the more convinced I am he's not from this world. His creativity amaze me every time!

If Harry Potter, CSI Sanderson and Steampunk had a baby, it wouldn't be this book but it would be a close call.

The Rithmatist is a very light book for Sanderson standards. It's YA after all, so while the magic system and world building are perfection, the story is simple and captivating at the same time, so
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy, mystery
I recommend Sanderson to the nth degree. N being whatever you like, because he friggin rocks. This novel rocks and I'm now convinced the man can't write a bad book. I read it through audio, but it didn't matter. The diagrams that were so essential to the action were still very clear and fascinating. Again, his magic systems soar. It was a near perfect win.
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Short review:
All you really need to know is that Brandon Sanderson wrote this.
If you have read him before then you are nodding knowingly and my work here is done.
If you have not, then you are missing out on one of the greatest imaginations living today. Go buy a copy of Mistborn and then after you have read that and probably also binge-read all his other books, return here and nod knowingly.

Longer review:
Rithmatics : definition
A magic system that uses chalk circles, lines, and drawings known as
Experiment BL626
Great fantasy. It was one of the best Young Adult fantasies I have read this year. Unfortunately, a couple of things kept me from rating the book as high as I would have liked.

My Dislikes

+ the world building

First, the world building could have been conveyed more clearly. At first I thought it was complete fantasy, but once I realized it was in an alternative history setting, I thought it was in England, i.e. UK. It was not until the middle of the book that I finally goddamn realized it was actua
Jul 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unable-to-finish
WARNING: If you are a major Sanderson fan, and can't stand reading negative feelings and thoughts about his books, you may wanna steer clear of this review. I'm writing it on the fly, going with whatever comes to me, and I make zero promises that it won't offend you. If you're so diehard that you're a troll, find some other review space to voice your fandom. I'm not hating on Sanderson; I loved Steelheart after all.

DNF at 35%. This makes exactly 13 books I've ever DNFed in my life. That oughta
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“... everyone knows that ice cream is worth the trouble of being cold. Like all things virtuous, you have to suffer to gain the reward.” 99 likes
“Joel, lad, school is about learning to learn. If you don't practice studying things you don't like, then you'll have a very hard time in life.” 53 likes
More quotes…