The Rithamist

“Lilly set the tip of the chalk against the ground and began to draw a circle around herself. Her hand shook so much that the line was unveven. Professor Fitch would have been quite displeased to see such a sloppy Line of Warding.
Lilly snapped her head up, looking down the hallway at the door leading to the street. A shadow moved beyond the door’s clouded window plate.
The door rattled.
“Oh, Master,” she found herself whispering. “Please . . . please . . . ”
The door burst open. A figure stood framed in moonlight, a bowler on his head, a short cape covering his shoulders and coming down to his waist.
The things flooded into the room around him. Angry, squirming over floor, walls, ceiling. Their bone-white bodies almost seeming to glow in the moonlight.
Each was as flat as a piece of paper.
Each was made of chalk.
And each was terrible.
Lilly screamed.”


The Rithamist, written by Brandon Sanderson was published in 2013 by Dragonsteel Entertainment, and falls under the genres of Fantasy, Gearpunk, and Alternate History.
16-year-old Joel is an ordinary student with an interest in extraordinary subjects. Rithamitics is not a subject generally studied by non-Rithamists. The Rithamists are a group of people with mysterious powers; powers that can command drawings made of chalk. Circles, lines, squares, and little creatures called chalklings are studied by the Rithamist students who will be using their knowledge to defend the American Isles from the evil chalklings that flourish on the dark isle of Nebrask. But Joel can only watch the Rithamists from afar; as he missed his chance to become one years before. His only comfort is learning as much as he can from books, until he gets the chance to study under an old friend.
Melody is a Rithamist student on the verge of failing her classes. She gets assigned to relearn her lessons under Professor Fitch; a disgraced Rithamist teacher assigned to discovering the truth behind a recent kidnapping. The kidnapped victim was a former student of Professor Fitch’s; and there was evidence to suggest that chalklings had been the cause of her disappearance. But chalklings are not that reliable; and they must have been controlled by a master of the Rithamic arts. Unless they were wild chalkings escaped from Nebrask; which if that is the case, then all of the American Isles are in danger. And there is no escape from a wild chalking.
Melody, Joel, and Professor Fitch must use all their wits and skills against an unknown foe. They must solve the mystery of the scribbles before its too late.
But it might already be too late.
The Rithamist was a highly enjoyable, exciting read. It’s written very well, and although it doesn’t have non-stop action like most of Sanderson’s other works, there are no dull spots in it. The building of intrigue and character development keeps you wanting to read just one more chapter. This book was at medium reading difficulty.
I would recommend this book for ages 14+. It was morbid at times, and a little gory; but a fun story with amusing characters and dialogue, and a brilliant story world. 4 out of 5 stars.


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