by Brandon Sanderson

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Review

Brandon Sanderson will not be converting many reluctant fantasy readers with The Rithmatist. Here's the setup: Joel is a lowly chalk maker at Armedius Academy in the magic-infused American Isles where murderous chalk figures, aka chalklings, are stealing kids, while Rithmatists (teens chosen from an early age) learn how to fight these chalklings at the Academy using complicated chalk-drawn circles. Now that's a lot of dust. 

The book opens with an intense kidnapping scene, but most of this 374-page, first book in a series describes the chalk circles in rich detail, as well as the magic that Rithmatists control. Joel is the familiar outsider character who obsesses over the Rithmatists and his inability to break into their elite circle. Sanderson seems to obsess over Rithmatist history, technique, and circle geometry as much as Joel does. The plot moves slowly, but if you enjoy being swallowed up in the detail of a Sanderson fantasy world, then The Rithmatist is for you.

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