Joel is a ordinary schoolboy at one of the finest schools. And though he's smart, he's not special. And he's certainly not a Rithmatist. But ah, with his knowledge of lines and circles and his fascination with them, he should be one. At least that's what he tells himself. But when a series of Rithmatist student disappearances starts looking like murders, the whole school becomes the setting for a whodunit mystery. And Joel, just trying to learn about what's fascinating to him, keeps falling smack in the middle of this mystery.
This was a lovely book to read. There's a certain easiness when I read it. It's not exactly lighthearted fun, but the pacing of the book or the dialogue or perhaps it's the characters... something makes the book almost like easy literature. Ack, I can't seem to find the right words right now, but the word "easy" is the only thing that can come to mind.
I love the interactions between the main characters. Everything seemed real and genuine, since the beginning of Joel and Melody's interaction to their ending scenes. Melody is a riot, a bit overdramatic and long-suffering, but really fun to read. The side characters are interesting and very 3 dimensional.
Sanderson is a-MAH-zing at magic systems and new worlds. He never fails to impress with pretty much each book in how different his worlds can be. How he comes up with these ideas is a mystery, but I am so glad he does. In this world where chalk drawings come to life as weapons and battles are drawn in circles. A line is a literal barrier and geometry is a Rithmatist's best friend. Kudos to Sanderson for this world.
Yes, there are some unrealistic portions where I don't think Joel could really get that much information just by asking, or having clearance to hear so much, but for the sake of the action and the story, it's fine.
One remarkable thing about this book is the inclusion of the illustrations of the chalk drawings. It made such a difference. Such an ingenious way to introduce common concepts and the "magic system" without relying on words to describe pictures. It made the chalkings come to life and even easier to imagine this world. Brilliant addition.
I foresee Nebrask sometime in future books, hopefully. It's an area that I want to see rather than hear about. I love that Sanderson leaves so much room for exploration in future books. It's almost as if this book is just a teaser, a taste of what this world will show us.
The ending was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. The reveal of the mystery, the whodunit crime, and the triumphant ending that makes sense.
I really hope to read the sequel soon because this book leaves us hanging with a lot of questions.
Three and half stars because it was more than a good book. But rounded down because it was just a quick, easy read that didn't require much thinking. It wasn't particularly heartrending or mindblowing. Just a presentation of a world and characters and a magic system that made me very appreciative of Brandon Sanderson all over again.
Recommended for people who love a good young adult fantasy book with a world that's different than you've ever seen before. Or if you like Brandon Sanderson, this book is a definitely a safe bet.