My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
4.5 Okay, initially I threw out a 5 star for this book. It was a little hasty. I love this book, but I’m not sure it’s yet earned the full five stars. It was still freaking awesome.
I loved this book so much as I was drawn into pretty much instantly and just wanted more of the story. The mystery was compelling. The magic system is so intriguing, but I was afraid I wasn’t going to be quite as absorbed. The characters were interesting. That said there was a lot to the story that felt familiar, but Sanderson found a way to still make it enjoyable.
Let’s start with the main character, Joel. He reminded me very much of David from Steelheart. Maybe a little too similar for comfort. Both are obsessed with some aspect of their world that is important. In this case, Joel is obsessed with Rithmatics the art of working with chalk drawings for fighting. He’s a good kid, with an amiable personality, but has suffered his own tragedies. Joel’s were less substantial than David’s. In Joel’s case his father died and he isn’t a rithmatist even though he wishes to be one. that said, I wanted to be with Joel on his journey. Something about his curiosity and enthusiasm really drew me in. I like characters who question their surroundings and actively seek answers.
Then there was the actual magic system. As always, Sanderson created this fully fleshed out system. I have to admit when I went into it and for a long time in the beginning I didn’t understand why Rithmatists were so important. I mean they draw with chalk. How is chalk dangerous. I just didn’t get it. It wasn’t until we started getting the idea that these chalk drawings could kill a person and we saw it happen that I started to understand their importance. So while the system made so much sense, the relevance of it took a while to feel real.
The story focuses around a mystery. Young Rithmatists still in their training are disappearing. Rithmatic laws are being broken only to learn that there may to Rithmatics than they initially thought. Then there was Joel’s personal journey related to Rithmatics and how one becomes a Rithmatist. Just when you thought everything was wrapped out you learned that wasn’t the end and there was another little problem to solve. And it is. I loved it.
So, the more I thought about it there were somethings that did diminish this from being perfect, but it was fabulous.