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The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist

Scritto da Brandon Sanderson

Narrato da Michael Kramer


The Rithmatist

Scritto da Brandon Sanderson

Narrato da Michael Kramer

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (144 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
10 ore
Pubblicato:
May 14, 2013
ISBN:
9781427221148
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

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. 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.

Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense—the first of a series. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that listeners who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Pubblicato:
May 14, 2013
ISBN:
9781427221148
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Brandon Sanderson is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling fantasy author, who writes for both adults and younger readers. Amongst others, he's known for his Mistborn and Stormlight Archive series, the latter including The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. He's also completed the final books in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, based on Jordan's notes and material. Sanderson teaches writing at Brigham Young University and lives in Utah.

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    Another typical Sanderson novel. Very interesting Gearpunk world, clever little pieces of worldbuilding, and the obligatory awesome magic system (Seriously, has Sanderson ever created a magic system that was not awesome?). This time, I could actually identify with the main character, as a) he was not a gun nut and b) his mind ran along the same lines as mine.

    As for the story: For the longest time, I thought I had predicted how it would end, only for the story to turn around and kick me in the teeth. Twice. So, yeah, Sanderson is still able to surprise me.

    All in all, I would recommend this book. But hell, it's a Sanderson book, so you probably already read it, right?
  • (5/5)
    There are good authors, there are great authors, and then there are authors that are simply in a class of their own. Brandon Sanderson is one of the latter. I fell in love with his imagination and writing after I read the Mistborn Trilogy earlier this year, and ever since I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the epic awesomeness that seems to ooze out of his pen. The creativity paints vivid pictures, keeping me glued to my seat from the first page to the last. The characters are entertaining. The plot is usually something out of this world. Frankly, I can’t praise Brandon Sanderson enough.

    The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson is a book I’ve coveted for a while now, so when Pan Macmillan SA delivered my review books for the month and I saw it in the pile, I literally squealed in delight. I cleared my schedule for the day, sat down, and read. Yup, that’s exactly what happened, and you know what? I don’t even feel bad about it. The Rithmatist is what I’d like to call math class made fun. Seriously, if this book was around when I was a kid, I’d probably be more inclined to enjoy maths, especially seeing as it has a Fullmetal Alchemist feel to it … I love Fullmetal Alchemist *sigh*.

    Although it is categorised as a young adult epic fantasy, believe me EVERYONE will find something wonderful in this book to enjoy. The characters – Joel and Melody – are absolutely lovable. However, I actually liked Professor Fitch the most. Weird, I know, but what can I say? Professor Fitch is simply what I wish all professors were like.

    DEFINITELY get your hands on The Rithmatist if you’re looking for an epic fantasy worthy of your time. You will not regret it. What’s more, you’ll fall in love with Brandon Sanderson all over again.
  • (4/5)
    Been awhile since I finished a book in less than 24 hours! And while it was a rollicking read and I enjoyed it a lot, I think it wasn't nearly as smart as it wanted to be (should have been)? This is less "science fiction" than it is "mathematics fiction", but somehow it's a lot harder for me to believe that geometric figures have the same kind of inexplicable, powerful, mysterious characteristics that regularly accompany scientific potions or strange machinery. Maybe it's their inherent accessibility that is my hangup? After all, I can't explain how a car works, so I can't quibble with the invented mechanics of a time machine... but I think I have a pretty good grasp of circles and ellipses, and I just have a hard time taking them seriously as instruments of battle/terror/world domination.
    Still, it was an above-average read in terms of creativity and plot pacing. Definitely recommended, especially if you're a bit of a math geek or have a weakness for steampunk (or gearpunk? Learned that term for the first time in the acknowledgements section, still not sure exactly what it means. But if YOU do, this is the book for you.)
  • (4/5)
    WOW! My first Brandon Sanderson read and I really enjoyed it! The world building was so intricate and awesome and the characters so well thought out and developed! Cannot wait to read more of his books! :D
  • (5/5)
    Sanderson really has a knack for creating interesting worlds with crazy fun magic. I loved this book. It also didn't exatly end like I thought it would. It is rare a book surproses me anymore but this one did several times. I am looking forward to seeing where it goes next.
  • (5/5)
    Another Sanderson goody. I was concerned because it was tagged YA... and there were a few minor things that were a bit annoying, but overall, an excellent read, even for an old lady :-)
  • (4/5)
    The Rithmatist is a YA novel and the first in The Rithmatist series by Brandon Sanderson. The book reads well as a stand alone novel, which is good because the second book hasn't been started yet so it's likely going to be a while before it's published. If you've read any YA recently you should know approximately what to expect. It is how Sanderson uses the common YA elements that turns The Rithmatist into such a fun story.Joel is a student at Armedius Academy. Along with its regular students Armedius also trains up Rithmatists, wizard types who duel with chalk by bringing their drawings to life. Joel is fascinated by Rithmatics and wishes he could become a Rithmatist though he will never be one. Instead, Joel has decided to dedicate his life to becoming a Rithmatics scholar and, with that in mind, arranges to have himself assigned as a Rithmatic professor's assistant for the summer semester. Melody is a Rithmatic student at Armedius and is failing miserably. Melody is assigned remedial Rithmatic classes for the summer semester in an attempt to keep from being expelled. Just as the summer semester gets under way, Rithmatic students start going missing. Suspicious chalk markings are found at the scene of the crime. A plot is afoot!The characters are quite fun. Joel is a smart, brilliant teen aged boy who is still fairly naive and getting better at thinking his way through problems. Melody is both adorable and hysterical at the same time, an interesting combination. She's terrible at her studies, brilliant with chalkings and is given some of the best lines in the book. Professor Fitch starts out as an older and timid professor who ends up gaining the confidence he needs to help both his students grow. Initially Joe and Melody don't like each other very much. In the way of most YA tales, they learn to work together and have a budding friendship by the end. The villains are not what I expected which gave the fairly straight forward story a nice little twist.The story is set in an alternate America that is formed of separate islands with names like Nebrask and Georgiabama. True to Sanderson, the magic system is unique and a lot of fun. Rithmatics have a heavy foundation in geometry and Sanderson starts off each chapter with a diagram explaining how certain features work. By the end of the story I felt like I had a decent grasp of the system. It's a system that has simple elegance and yet can be highly complex, that requires both skill in art and math by its practitioners. This was a fun, quick read. The story pulls you in after a few chapters. While primarily aimed at younger audiences, the book can easily be enjoyed by any age group. If you like Sanderson's other works and also enjoy Harry Potter then The Rithmatist may be up your alley.
  • (5/5)
    The Rithmatistby Brandon SandersonTor Teen 2013$17.99; 378 pagesISBN 9780765320322Ever since a friend recommended Mistborn three years ago, I have been in love with Brandon Sanderson's work. Sanderson's shtick is coming up with really interesting systems of "magic", that are probably really just a kind of technology in a different reality. Unlike ritual magic, which is what you should actually worry about your kids getting into, Sanderson's systems mostly involve the manipulation of physical things in order to unlock a hidden source of power.For Rithmatists, their power lies in chalk drawings. I didn't get the joke until I was about 2/3rds of the way through the book, but Rithmatics is a pun on the 3 Rs. Rithmatists are a kind of very, very applied mathematician[geometrician?], with the most powerful being the ones who can draw as close to geometrical perfection as possible. For our protagonist, that should have worked out well, since he can draw better than anyone, but he was not gifted with the ability to make chalk drawings come to life, so he spends his time dreaming of a different life, and scheming to learn more about the secretive Rithmatists at his school.As is typical for Sanderson, you get the backstory in dribs and drabs throughout, with lots of tantalizing hints that will not really get fleshed out until later volumes are written. This world is an alternative Earth, with a United States composed of 50 islands instead of 50 states, and a fun spring-based technology. Rithmatists are an elite within the United Islands, required to spend 10 years fighting the wild chalklings in Nebrask in recompense for their education, and then pensioned for life. However, the threat the chalkings pose has become remote to most, so the privileges and secrecy of the Rithmatists rankle ordinary citizens. I look forward to how this plays out.This is a boarding-school story, and written for young adults in the best juvenile tradition. Thus we have a young man with great potential who is a bit lost in life, a romantic interest, and an adventure story. Fun to read, and highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    I love the world he created and the mechanisms Sanderson built for chalklings. The story dragged a bit, and the supporting characters were not well developed. But the world was uniquely fleshed out and that made up for lack of character development.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this! It has some of the best world building ever. But the next one isn't out till 2017, dusts!
  • (5/5)
    I REALLY liked this story. This has a very "ivory school", 1920s academia feel to it, which is unique compared to everything else of Brandon Sanderson that I have read. This seems to be a young adult book, but I read it to my 7yo daughter, and she enjoyed it. The magic system is fantastic with chalk drawings. The ending did not go the way I wanted to, but it ended well anyway (hopefully that's not a spoiler). There are times through the story where it drags a little bit, but they don't last long, and the momentum is picked right back up. Good story.
  • (5/5)
    Smart but accessible. Fast-paced page-turner. Sanderson is a master at world-building.
  • (4/5)
    I usually find Brandon Sanderson's magic systems WAY too detailed, to the point of being boring. Despite the one in this book tending in that direction, this wasn't bad and was still an exciting read (mostly because the super boringly-detailed bits were relegated to chapter-ending diagrams that were easy to ignore). There was a bit at the end, setting up additional future novels, that was pretty stupid and ridiculous Really, you just saved dozens of people (or countless people, by some measures) and are a total hero, but you decide you can't possibly tell anyone that you've just figured out someone is being inhabited and controlled by some kind of creepy evil presence? Because you're worried people won't believe you, the hero of the day? REALLY?But other than that, it was a pretty cool book.
  • (4/5)
    This is a YA fantasy that has plenty to offer the adult reader as well. The world that the characters occupy is an imaginative recasting of our own and the plot is complex enough to keep the reader turning pages until the resolution. Sanderson writes well and while the two main characters are young people, there is enough here to engage older readers as well. The characters are well rendered and are easy to empathize as they struggle with a murder mystery and a mystery around the art of rithmatics - the magic/religion that brings simple chalk lines to life. Can Joel and Melody, two teenagers at the leading academy in the United Isles of America, help their professor solve the mystery of kidnapped students and new rithmatic structures before someone dies? There is, of course, politics involved as well as professional jealousy and budding romance. The book is engaging and well written.
  • (4/5)
    YA steampunk fantasy with once again an interesting new magic system. Story is good, but too many unanswered questions for a standalone book (at least for a long while) for my taste.
  • (3/5)
    Like all Sanderson's fantasy the Rithmatist evokes an excellent setting and unique type of magic. Here, chalk drawn images come to life. Interestingly the protagonist is not a magician, but one of the many who aren't. A well-drawn world with a school setting, which many Harry Potter fans would enjoy.
  • (3/5)
    As much as I love Brandon Sanderson, I wasn't very impressed with this book. The characters felt flat, and Joel and Melody seemed like they were much younger than the stated 16 years old. I found the strategy behind the rithmatics a little far fetched, too. I'll most likely read the sequels to find out how it all ends, but I won't be rushing out to buy them.
  • (5/5)
    Truly awesome young adult novel. Intelligent characters and story. Very well crafted world and 'magic' system. Though I haven't been disappointed yet in one of Brandon Sanderson's magic systems. One of the cool things is that systems that people think are complete always have some new secret that shows up later. That happens both in this book and implied to happen in the sequels. I just hope that Brandon gets some time in his busy schedule to push a sequel for this one to the top of the stack.Whoever thought chalk could be so dangerous, or geometry to be so interesting as a sport! Fun steampunk. Joel is an interesting character a so is his friend Melody. Definitely worth a read!
  • (5/5)
    The Rithmatist, 5 stars from me. Not because it was great literature but it was really good entertainment. I checked this out from overdrive and was very pleased with it. It is about a young man who wants to be a Rithmatist but he isn't one, he wasn't chosen. Rithmatist fight wars by drawing and using chalk lines for defense and chalklings. It fits fantasy and it also fits steampunk and it fits magic and it fits adventure. It is a book you can recommend to young people as there isn't any offensive thing in the book. The chalklings can be vicious but over all this is a book free of swearing, free of sex and minimal violence. I will be recommending this to my granddaughter because it is good. A quick read if you are still looking for something for this month's tag.
  • (3/5)
    This is Branderson's (I like to call him that) weakest book to date. Luckily Branderson is an amazing writer, so that means this book is still pretty cool.

    My main issue with it is that, when compared to his other YA books (The Alcatraz Series) there is just so little about this that stands out.

    The magic system is classic Branderson, and yet I found it boring compared to almost all of his others. Okay, the Aon drawing from Elantris was pretty boring, but that book had a lot of other things going for it and the magic didn't even work for most of the book.

    The main character is, well, kind of generic. The supporting characters are generic. The unbelievably interesting mystery of "The Tower" where all the wild chalklings come from is...not explained.

    Honestly, I can't help but think I didn't get what I wanted out of this book. I enjoyed the ride and all, but I wanted more of the world revealed to me than it was. The mysteries that are solved at the end come out of left field and just leave more questions, which I guess leaves this open for a sequel, but...

    A: Branderson isn't going to get around to writing one for god knows how long because he's working on like a bajillion things.

    B: I don't want a sequel to this book. Like I said, the magic system is interesting enough, but kind of boring, and it doesn't play well in book form. The characters aren't stand out. The only thing that could've saved this book was awesome world-building, which is one of Branderson's strengths. I can't even fathom why he went for a generic YA murder mystery instead.

    Honestly I think this would've been much better off as a stand-alone novel, like Elantris or Warbreaker. Cut out the plot he put in and instead put in one that explains where the chalklings come from and how the magic works, and make it a good, satisfying explanation. Bam! Great novel. Instead we get a generic YA novel with a bit more style than most, but all of the same problems.
  • (5/5)
    Substance: An interesting change-up on fantasy worlds, being set in a steam-punk alternate world where the US is a collection of islands, Asians have conquered Europe, and chalk drawings come to life and do battle with each other and humans. The plot is neither overly simplistic nor clunkily complex, but flows smoothly. Includes a mystery solved fairly.Style: Sanderson is direct, with narrative suitable to the age group without being condescending or cutting corners (as many authors do, giving the impression that they think their child-readers are too stupid to notice the inconsistencies and gaps).Not to give away anything, but just to note that improbably happy endings are not a bug but a feature of this age-genre; rather than being despised (as in adult mainstream), they are required! Lady Bracknell would approve.Other reviewers have more detail and good observations.
  • (4/5)
    There is a world in this novel that I dearly wanted explained! The protagonist is the perfect narrator - the outsider who wants to be in, the one who wants to solve the mysteries and learn the things that are given so freely to the rithmatists and denied all others. I enjoyed the mystery, the relationships, and the possibility of another novel in this world - though the story is complete in itself.
  • (4/5)
    Brandon Sanderson keeps churning out good fantasy stories. He either writes quickly and unbelievably efficiently, or else he had several first drafts waiting for a bit of polish that were all completed in the last few years. This one, The Rithmatist, is categorized as a 'teen' novel because the protagonist is 16. Like his other fantasy stories, the pacing is very good, the magic system is imaginative and different, and the characters are engaging. In some ways, the protagonist and his sidekick are much like Harry and Hermione in Rowling's Harry Potter stories, and the main setting is also a school, but the world is quite different. The Rithmatist is set in an alternate version of the United States, but here, each region is an island, loosely united politically, and threatened by strange, two-dimensional chalk creatures from the isle known as Nebrask. Sanderson may be basing some of the metaphysics of this world on String Theory, but that is just a guess on my part. The magic system is certainly more imaginative than in most stories.

    I can recommend this one for fantasy readers.
  • (5/5)
    This was a very fun audiobook to listen to! I loved the narrator, he did amazing with all the characters voices. I really liked Melody, some of her comments had me laughing out loud and she was just a fun character to have around while kids were disappearing. The mystery part was great. I did not know who the Scribbler was until it was revealed. This was a very fun book overall!I also checked the book out from the library because the book has illustrations that I wanted to see. It was hard for me to imagine what all the lines looked like, so it was nice to have the book as a reference for it all. I suggest if you listen to the audiobook, to find a way to look at the book also, because the illustrations really add to the story.
  • (4/5)
    Huge fan of Brandon Sanderson here, which is why I was all over this book even though I knew it would take place outside of his Cosmere universe and be a little different from his usual epics. I admit I was mostly curious as to what reading a young adult fantasy novel by him would feel like, since I've never read any of his Alcatraz series books for teens.On the surface, it didn't feel too different, thanks to Sanderson's unique brand of world-building and magic system creation. The Rithmatist is about 16-year-old Joel Saxon who goes to school at the prestigious Armedius Academy, one of just a handful of Rithmatist schools in the United Isles of America. He is somewhat of an outsider at the school; unlike a lot of his fellow students who are the sons and daughters of politicians, the rich, or other people of influence, his mother is a cleaning lady at the academy, and his father, who died eight years ago in a springrail accident, was its resident chalkmaker. Neither is Joel a Rithmatist, though he desperately wishes to be one.Rithmatists are a chosen group of magic users who can make chalk-drawn lines, circles and figures called Chalklings come to life and take on unique properties. They are trained at schools like Armedius, then sent on to the wilds of Nebrask where they defend humanity against hordes of dangerous and blood thirsty Wild Chalklings that threaten to overrun the territory. When several Rithmatists students go missing, Joel is assigned to be an assistant to Professor Fitch, the Rithmatist expert tasked to investigate the disappearances.My first thought while reading this was that the writing is less subtle than I'm used to when reading Sanderson's adult books. Instead of the letting details of the magic system trickle through as you make your way through the plot, there were a couple of pretty big info dumps near the beginning where one character explains Rithmatics to another.Even then, I didn't find the magic system or the world building to be as robust as it could be, though of course I'm not expecting Sanderson to go on in detail about such things in a young adult novel compared to the the way he does it in a 1000+ page fantasy epic. Still, I found myself asking a lot of questions about Rithmatics; it just felt like a magic system I could poke a lot of holes in without thinking too hard about it.Rithmatics by itself sounds like a lot of fun, though. Is there something wrong with me that when I think about Rithmatist battles with their defense strategies and Chalklings, my mind immediately went to Pokemon? Or, okay, let's say Magic: The Gathering, or Starcraft, or really any kind of game which involves a fundamental set of rules, strategic gameplay, a combination of chance and skill, and limits that force a player to think quickly and creatively when trying to defeat their opponent.For Rithmatists, the decision comes down to whether to spend the time drawing a strong defense, or mounting a fast and powerful offense. Despite my skepticism, it really is quite cool. The technical aspects like circles, lines, and ratios didn't interest me so much, but the idea of Chalklings attracted me more speaking from an artist's point of view, since I suspect passion and talent for drawing Chalkings will end up playing into their effectiveness. Obviously, I'm looking forward to seeing more on Chalking theory. Also, I have to mention I really liked the art and diagrams which preceded each new chapter in this book.Basically, as YA fiction goes, this was amazing. It's like Brandon Sanderson took the crash course on how to write a good YA novel and threw in the works, complete with the teenage protagonist attending a school of magic in an alternate-reality-steampunky kind of world (with a whacked-out archipelago version of the United States and a Europe that has been taken over by invaders from Asia called the JoSeun).There are even wonky things happening in this book like the lead investigator of a murder case simply taking a 16-year-old at his word, and of course the requisite potential for a romance along with the feel-good Karate Kid-like ending. Still, I loved it all. The last chapter and final scene was just so great, and I'm glad to see there will be future books in this series. Sanderson's flair for fantasy and writing about magic is as usual unparalleled and something you absolutely won't find anywhere else.
  • (4/5)
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly rate Sanderson's writing style. It was excellent, flowed well and had interesting concepts. I now rather think there should be some sort of game of rithmatist dueling, and the creation of Chalklings.

    This is an alternate-world novel, set in an America that is divided into an archipelago and Europe has been claimed by the Asians. It is set roughly around the 1900s and uses a springwork/clockwork technology. Whilst this "Gearpunk" is undecidedly nifty, Sanderson does not dwell on it but makes mentions of it casually, as though it is all everyday (which it is, to the students). This helps with the flow of the story.

    Overall, a jolly fine book - original, fresh, fast paced, different and an easy read. I shall be eagerly awaiting the next instalment!
  • (1/5)
    Sorry, Brandon Sanderson -- I've loved everything else of yours that I've read, but this one couldn't even inspire me to finish it.

    And that's despite the fact that it's a middle-grade* novel that would only take a couple hours of dedicated reading to get through.

    The characters are all flat and predictable -- naively enthused protagonist, endearingly-cluttered professor mentor, irritable and artsy female foil, snidely aloof professor red herring, militant investigator... Not a one is all that memorable. The mystery element might be intriguing, if readers had any reason at all to care about the Rithmatists-in-training who have been killed, or about any of those at risk of being targeted next, but none of them is shown in any detail. Our protagonist, in fact, is notable mainly because he doesn't fit the killer's profile -- not very conducive to raising the tension.

    The one highlight of the book is, as in so many of Sanderson's books, the worldbuilding. Both the altered history and the magic system have heaps of intriguing potential -- but not nearly enough to get me to keep reading when none of the other elements inspire anything but yawns.

    So I'm throwing in the towel. One star, and I'm clearing it from my currently-reading shelf. Better luck next time.


    *I consider this book middle-grade, despite its marketing as YA, because there's really nothing even remotely teenagerly about it -- no hormones, no feel of being on the brink of adulthood. Without any of those themes, there's no reason for it to be any less appropriate for a ten-year-old than for a member of the supposedly-intended age group.
  • (4/5)
    Rating: 3.5 of 5It's taken me a couple days to settle on a rating for The Rithmatist. I've gone back and forth between three and four stars, so I settled for the middle.I connected with Joel immediately; I was quite curious about the missing girl; and I wanted to know more about their world (Rithmatists *and* their alternate version of America). But it took me a good, oh, 200 pages before I could wrap my head around Rithmatics, and I'm still not 100% sure why. For some reason I had to constantly engage my imagination?!Rithmatics was an intriguing concept, that's for sure; nonetheless, it pushed my limits. Again, I don't understand why - I've read fantasy-science fiction with way more convoluted plots than The Rithmatist. At any rate, the characters were definitely what kept me going throughout the story: Sanderson gave me them all so much life and personality! Melody made me laugh out loud more than once. And the overall mystery of the disappearances was also compelling.Recommended to young adults (and open-minded, imaginative adults) who love or loved to draw with chalk and, whist doing so, often wondered, "What would happen if this came to life?" A love of and/or fascination with geometry would also increase one's overall enjoyment of The Rithmatist.How would you react, if you'd never seen a chalkling before? What would your response be to a living picture that climbed up walls and slid beneath doors, attacking without mercy, eating the flesh off bodies? (p.301)I do plan to read book two whenever it's published.
  • (4/5)
    Joel, the son of a cleaning woman, is a student at an elite school where young people with special talents to bring chalk lines to life are also trained. When the gifted students start disappearing, Joel finds himself intricately involved in the investigation despite his lack of magical abilities.
  • (2/5)
    Hopefully, I can construct a coherent review...

    I greatly enjoyed the world building, although it left much to be desired as well. Why was the United States turned into isles? Was it to denote separation between what each area did? If so, wouldn't that make the United States disconnected and therefore, not really a nation at all? There was a remark about how the isles mostly governed themselves--so in what sense are they really united?

    I blame a lot of the weakness in world building on first person limited POV. There should have been a point in which an omniscient narrator stepped in to describe why the world differed so much and there wasn't. I still don't understand what happened entirely to this alternate Earth and I would have liked to have known more. Rather, it is assumed that the reader is familiar with this Earth because Joel is, and that's not a fair assumption to make.

    The steam punk addition was very interesting, albeit one of those "I wonder why the world has adopted that". It added a nice flare, at any rate.

    As usual, an ordinary kid finds himself in the midst of extraordinary things...and discovers he remains ordinary. I liked that. It's good that the main character isn't suddenly thrust into greatness by virtue of being the main character. It's a pitfall that a lot of fantasy writers fall into.

    However, what I didn't like was that almost the entire book was highly predictable. I saw the major plot twists coming and when I didn't, it was because it was fueled by something I had already predicted. The ones that took me completely by surprise were also the ones because, to quote something online, "The Doctor saved the day...through a plot hole so big you could drive a truck through". To avoid spoilers, I won't speak them aloud. Suffice to say, though, they seemed to have come out of absolutely nowhere.

    In terms of things that came out of nowhere, the idea that Rithmatism derives from a church and has nearly driven out almost all competition, left a sour taste in my mouth. I understand that other churches have problems with it because it mixes magic and religion. However, I feel that Sanderson was greatly remiss in completely forgetting Judaism. The main character's name was Joel, to boot, a traditionally Jewish name.

    While we're on the subject of tradition, I wish to divide my next points into two. First, I would like to address the inevitable Harry Potter comparison that always develops from writing any magical school novel. I tend not to see these things as similar, but there were moments, such as Joel prying to discover what Nalizar was reading and feeling inadequate because of his background (coming from poverty, etc). that were entirely too similar. The whole pacing of the book was also like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Nalizar could have turned around and had Voldemort on the back of his head and it wouldn't have surprised me at all. I was very disappointed that this was the case, that even when it appeared as though Nalizar could have been vindicated, he was the villain we thought he was. That's sloppy writing.

    The writing was greatly helped by the illustrations. In some cases, it compensated for poor suspension of disbelief throughout the novel. The chalklings, which are in my mind a combination of Chalkzone creatures ("Rudy's got the chalk!") and DoodleBob, seemed too weak to pose the danger that the narration stated they did. Not until I saw the chalklings actually attack someone in the illustrations was it possible to actually believe the descriptions...and this leaves me uneasy.

    When the entire premise of your book hinges on something that I have a hard time believing, it falls apart. I read this book because I wanted a quick read and I thought it'd be good. It seems that, yet again, I disagree with GoodReads reviews. Alas.

    On the plus side, it wasn't the complete train wreck that Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was.