Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Rithmatist #1
Publication Date: May 13th, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Number of Pages: 378
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-fi
Source: School library
More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. 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 learn 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.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013
Warning: Absolutely horribly written review below
I think reading a different Sanderson novel first would have been better.
This book is 2015 KBA honor novel, which is partly the reason I decided to read it. There were also an abundance of copies at the library.
Besides the fact that my friend and I both spent way too much time laughing at the names of the states (Like Nebrask and Georgiabama), the novel seemed really promising.
But that was before I learned that the book…. was about chalk.
Not that I have anything against the use of chalk! In fact, I thought it was highly unique. I’d never heard of anything like it.
But… I still didn’t like it.
I couldn’t stop wondering how the heck chalk was supposed to be a formidable opponent to others. It actually reminded me quite a bit of the Spongebob episode where he uses a stick to ward off the seabear.
Because a hand-drawn circle is definitely going to help.
Now naturally it’s a fantasy novel so I’m supposed to suspend all my belief. The problem is that I found the entire concept…. really stupid. I just couldn’t seem to accept the idea that chalk could be powerful.
I couldn’t get into this one at all.
I started this book about a month ago. I didn’t finish it until last week. I was really close to DNF’ing it but I didn’t like that I had already DNF’d a different book. So I continued to read.
First of all. The writing felt really juvenile and more suited for a middle grade audience, not the YA demographic. This feel was prevalent throughout the novel in all aspects. The writing was kind of simple, the characters felt like 10-year-olds, the pictures, everything made me feel like I was reading a little kid book.
Characterwise, I didn’t really like any of them. As I said before, all of the characters felt like they had the humor of little kids and as a result, I didn’t like it. I think Joel and Melody were both supposed to be 17 but I kept thinking that they were 12. Melody seriously annoyed me. Like a lot. She acted like a bratty 10-year-old and her actions and words all were very juvenile.
And Joel. He came off as…. very Gary Stu-y. Well a much more pitiful version. He is “smart” and “trusted” and ugh I just didn’t like him sorry.
It wasn’t like they were poorly developed. They were actually pretty detailed. It’s just the fact that I couldn’t see any 17-year-old acting the way they did.
The same thing was in the romance. Obviously Joel and Melody were supposed to have some type of attraction going on. Joel kept thinking that Melody was cute when she wasn’t talking or that she looked really distracting in short skirts. It’s only briefly mentioned but I felt so awkward reading it. It felt a little voyeuristic and a lot like a kindergartener describing why he liked a girl…. just ugh I feel awkward just trying to describe it. Honestly, I think it might have been because it felt so out of character of Joel.
A big factor in the reason I had difficulty with finishing this one is the incredibly slow pacing. There wasn’t really any variation in suspense or action. And what I think is supposed to be the climax is anticlimatic and uninteresting. I never got emotionally invested and as a result, the rest of the novel fell flat for me.