Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson
Taking place in an alternate world of the US Isles, I kept trying to place the exact time and really couldn't. The technology was COMPLETELY different. They had things that all worked on wind up springs and gears. There were gears in their coins to verify authenticity, gears that wind up to turn on lights, to run mechanical horses to pull carriages etc. But they have no high tech stuff like telephones. So it's weird to see what KINDS of technology are different.
These people are plagued by something really dark. Reminiscent of petroglyphs, there are drawings that come to life. They are still 2 dimensional, but they can move and they can kill people. They are called chalklings because they are drawn out of chalk. No one knows where or how they originated. But somehow, by some miracle, the ability to be a Rithmatist is discovered. A Rithmatist is someone who has the ability to draw chalk lines and have them have physical properties. They can also draw chalklings of attack and defense for dueling purposes. But they are not taught the "glyph" of rendering which gives a chalkling a mind of its own, so to speak. At 8 years old, every child is brought to the church where the Vicar provides them with and Inception Ceremony. The inception ceremony is similar to a baptism, because the priest sprinkles water over the children's head and also anoints with oil. Then they go into the room of Inception and who knows what happens? Those who don't become Rithmatist's don't report anything of note from their trip into the room while those who ARE chosen are not allowed to speak of what happened. When they come out, they draw a Line of Forbiddance. If the Master has chosen them to a Rithmatist they will have the ability for that Line of Forbiddance to do what it should, and create an invisible wall that cannot be penetrated. If the invisible wall isn't there, they are not going to become a Rithmatist. Those who are chosen go to a Rithmatist school to learn the art of lines and defenses so that once they are done, they will spend their last year of training in Nebrask and then 10 years of service and then they can retire. In Nebrask, all the wild chalklings are being contained by a giant chalk circle several thousand feet in diameter being defended by all of the Rithmatists in the country. The number of Rithmatists is carefully controlled and there can be no more or less per year to replace those retiring or who have fallen. Very few who are chosen ever get formally dismissed to pursue other vocations.
The story follows Joel, a student who isn't a Rithmatist, but his father was a chalk maker and he was fascinated with Rithmatics and passed that fascination on to Joel. But many places do not allow non-Rithmatists to study anything about Rithmatics. So Joel tries to find ways to learn more about it. He also gains an unlikely friend in Melody, a Rithamtics student who is in remedial summer classes because her circles are not perfect enough to be a good defense and she is nearing the end of her formal education. Usually those who are Rithmatists do not fraternize (and are discouraged from all interactions) with those who are not Rithmatists. It creates a kind of "elitist" category, whether real or perceived is up to you.
This book was really slow getting going for me, as the beginning of each chapter is introduced with a drawing of different Rithmatic Defence drawings and explanations, like a text book. That was a little hard for me to wrap my head around. But the story line picked up and the drawings started to make more sense, so it was a page turner by the end.
Rithmatic students are being kidnapped and no one knows why. Joel finds himself in a position to help with the investigation and you follow him along as you follow lead after lead. There are plot twists and turns that are REALLY engaging.
This book is going to be a series, and this is the first book, so if you want to wait for the rest to come out before delving in, I'd totally understand!