The Rithmatist

Sanderson, Brandon. The Rithmatist. Illus. Ben McSweeney. New York: Tor, 2013. Print. ISBN 13: 9780765320322. Hardback. $17.99.

Annotation: Welcome to the United Isles of America, a place where fierce battles rage on the border between the Rithmatists and the wild chalkings. Joel wants more than anything to be a Rithmatist, but he doesn’t posses the powers  – or does he?

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Imagine a world where certain people have the ability to draw a creature with chalk and then will that creature into life, for defense or for battle. This is the special ability of a select group of people called Rithmatists – a group to which sixteen-year-old Joel desperately wants to belong. Joel knows more about Rithmatic theory and defense than most of the students at his school. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t seem to have the gift. The Rithmatists will graduate and go on to fight the wild chalklings on the front lines of the war and Joel will be left behind.

When Rithmatist students start disappearing and leaving signs of battle and a strange new symbol as the only clues, Joel and his new friend Melody feel compelled to get to the bottom of the mystery. But will all of Joel’s research be enough to save him when confronted with life-threatening reality? And what happens when Joel gets an unheard of second chance at becoming a Rithmatist? Set in an epic new world, this gearpunk mystery is an intelligent and creative story that will have you looking at chalk in a completely new way.

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Sound like Melody: Dusts!

Dine like Joel: Stir fried spaghetti and meatballs topped with Parmesan cheese and eaten using chopsticks. And for dessert – two scoops of vanilla ice cream with cherries.

Quotables: “…humans are more than their need to survive.” (pg 175)

“But everyone know that ice cream is worth the trouble of being cold. Like all things virtuous, you have to suffer to gain the reward.” -Melody (pg 185)

“Tantrums are a noble and time-tested strategy, ” she said airly. “Particularly if you have a good set of lungs…” -Melody (pg 279)

★ The Rithmatist is on the list for Kirkus Review’s Best Children’s Books of 2013. It is also named on the New York Time’s Notable Children’s Books of 2013.

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YOUR OPTIONS: The Rithmatist is available in print, eBook, CD audio, and downloadable audio formats.

Anastasia Vito © 2014

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