The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson is awesome. ‘Cause he wrote for Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians. Less so because he’s responsible for ghost writing the practically endless and extremely painful Wheel of Time series.
So when I saw his YA novel I was like “Hey! That’s probably going to a combination of the awesomeness of his kids stuff and the monotony of that stupid adult series! Let’s give that a go!”
And it was, although definitely leaning closer to the awesome and further from the monotony. Sure, it wasn’t as funny as Alcatraz or as genre savvy but it was still compelling, driven, reasonably surprising and generally pretty fun.
Which is great ’cause they’ll be another one eventually.
So this is the story of Joel, who is the son of a chalkmaker and a cleaning lady at Armedius Academy. He’s only able to attend the school at all because of a scholarship the Principle granted to Joel after Joel’s father was killed. But Joel isn’t that interested in school, just Rithmatics. Despite not being a Rithmatist himself, Joel is very good at it, and his pursuit of his passion will throw him into a dangerous world he never could have predicted.
So the story’s interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is the story and the characters and the world. The story doesn’t move along at breakneck speed or anything but its solid and interesting and fairly surprising, as well as very creepy at a few points. The characters were well developed and complex. Joel is genuine, likable but not perfect. Melody, the potential love interest (although I’d respect Sanderson way more if they never hook up) is three dimensional, quirky and kind of my favourite. The book is full of great mentor figures (and one teacher who’s a little like Snape). The world is an alternate United States with some steampunk awesomeness, some scientific magic and a complicated political system.
The other thing that’s really interesting is Rithmancy itself, which is a form of combat that depends on drawings. It’s a neat mix of math (angles, circles, straight lines) and art (chalklings, are more powerful the more detailed they are) that is used to defend the country from the wild chalklings, who rip the flesh off of people. The mythology behind Rithmancy is well developed and pretty amazing.
There were pictures though. Of how to do Rithmancy. It’s still a great read.
Last movie I watched: The first few minutes of Iron Man 3. Which I’ve tried to watch several times and just never been able to get through it .Maybe we’re not meant to be.
Last TV show I watched: Most of a Glee episode. Glee, how did you get so terrible? In other news, Jane Lynch sang “Little Girls” so that was awesome.