- Adventures In Reading
- Beauty In Ruins
- Best Fantasy Books HQ
- Bitten By Books
- Bookworm Blues
- Charlotte's Library
- Civilian Reader
- Critical Mass
- Curated Fantasy Books
- Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews
- Edi's Book Lighthouse
- Everything is Nice
- Falcata Times
- Fantasy & SciFi Lovin' News & Reviews
- Fantasy Cafe
- Fantasy Literature
- Far Beyond Reality
- Genre Reader
- Jeff VanderMeer
- King of the Nerds
- Layers of Thought
- Neth Space
- Only The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
- Rob's Blog O' Stuff
- Smorgasbord Fantasia
- Speculative Book Review
- Stainless Steel Droppings
- Tez Says
- The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
- The Bibliosanctum
- The Book Smugglers
- The Nocturnal Library
- The OF Blog
- The Speculative Scotsman
- The Vinciolo Journal
- The Wertzone
- Tip the Wink
- Val's Random Comments
- Voyager Books
- Walker of Worlds
- ► 2015 (136)
- ► 2014 (155)
- GIVEAWAY: Win a SET of Ian C. Esslemont’s Malazan ...
- BLOG TOUR: Guest Post by Ian C. Esslemont & Excerp...
- "Altai" by Wu Ming (Reviewed by Liviu Suciu)
- GUEST POST: Welcome To The Daughter Star by Susan ...
- “Siege and Storm” by Leigh Bardugo (Reviewed by Ca...
- “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo (Reviewed by Ca...
- "Caesarion" by Tommy Wieringa (Reviewed by Liviu S...
- News: Sarah Ash's previous books get relaunched!!!...
- "Antiagon Fire and Imager's Battalion" by L.E. Mod...
- The Heresy Within by Rob J. Hayes (reviewed by Mih...
- "Libromancer: Book 1 Magic Ex Libris" by Jim C. Hi...
- Guest Post: The Truth Behind a Legend by D.E.M. Em...
- "Adam Robots" by Adam Roberts (with comments by Li...
- “The Cats of Tanglewood Forest” by Charles de Lint...
- “Unclean Spirits: Gods and Monsters” by Chuck Wend...
- “Rogue Descendant” by Jenna Black (Reviewed by Cas...
- "Incarnation" by Emma Cornwall (Reviewed by Cindy ...
- "The Tyrant's Law" by Daniel Abraham (Reviewed by ...
- GUEST POST: Stepping Off the Map of the World by C...
- "The Five Acts of Diego Leon" by Alex Espinoza (Re...
- Mini-Reviews: Demon Squad: Beyond The Veil by Tim...
- “The Rithmatist” by Brandon Sanderson (Reviewed by...
- "Fire with Fire" by Charles Gannon (Reviewed by Li...
- The Mahabharata: A Recollection and Q&A With Max G...
- “Silence” by Michelle Sagara (Reviewed by Casey Bl...
- Guest Post: A Notice To Damnation Books by Tim Mar...
- "House of Steel: The Honorverse Companion I" by Da...
- Mini Q&A with Sean Benham and worldwide giveaway o...
- "Dark Eden" by Chris Beckett wins the Clarke and "...
- Necessary Evil by Ian Tregillis (Reviewed by Mihir...
- ▼ May (30)
- ► 2012 (287)
- ► 2011 (317)
- ► 2010 (346)
- ► 2009 (466)
- ► 2008 (376)
Friday, May 10, 2013
Order “The Rithmatist” HERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
The Rithmatist (published May 14, 2013 via Tor Teen) is a new YA fantasy with a steampunk flavor by Brandon Sanderson, and it's utterly engrossing. Because it's a Sanderson book, I feel like it almost doesn't even bear mentioning any more that there's an inventive new magic system with well-defined rules. There are also drawings and diagrams between each chapter, presumably our protagonist Joel's notes to himself. While reading them in-depth isn't necessary to understand the plot, they definitely added to the mood of the book.
Although Sanderson's magic system has clear rules, he doesn't let those limit the story, and he stretches and breaks them when necessary. I appreciated that intuitive and clinically scientific approaches to the magic were both completely valid.
The premise of The Rithmatist felt in a lot of ways like a reaction to his Alcatraz series, where one character knows everything about magic use but can't do anything about the fact that she was born unable to use it. This book plays with the same idea—wanting something so badly and putting in all the effort in the world and yet still lacking the talent—but takes it in a different direction. I can't wait to see how he explores this.
Sanderson nailed the tone of how teenagers think and behave. Our protagonist Joel is absolutely brilliant—so brilliant, in fact, that he has difficulty doing the work and has nearly flunked out more than once. Joel's approach to school, and life, really rang true, and he's a different kind of protagonist than I'm used to reading. Within the school setting, there were also some interesting thoughts on bullying, talent, class interactions, and the purpose and value of education. The school administrator was actually one of my favorite characters.
I have to say that I never really had a clear sense of the setting. The story mentions a place called “Georgiabama” (really), and there's a lot of states that are similar to our world yet not quite exact (“Maineford,” “Nebrask,” etc.), almost like an exercise in creating place names. There's also apparently a giant Korean empire, which is cool, but I really would have liked a) a map and b) a little more historical background on how our characters' world came to be. I did like a lot of the intercultural elements, like Joel's observations on “authentic” Italian food or the normality of eating a ham and kimchi sandwich. We get a lot of clues about the world through what Joel eats and reads.
The ending felt kind of abrupt, but I actually liked it; the story stopped in exactly the right place. There's no denouement, really; it pretty much ends with an action scene. I appreciated that the story about the legendary duel from the very beginning came full circle at the end. Brandon Sanderson wrapped up the plot of The Rithmatist, but still left plenty for a second book to deal with. I can't find anything conclusive about a sequel, but I am hopeful.
NOTE: The Hardcover edition features a map which will be helpful to all readers.
12:00 AM | Posted by Robert | | Edit Post