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From School Library Journal
About the Author
- ASIN : B00AJGNICW
- Publisher : Tor Teen; First edition (May 14, 2013)
- Publication date : May 14, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 17292 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 306 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #82,377 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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" I have never had a book suck me in this much!!! I have read Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Rangers apprentice and Paper Cowboy, all which do not compare to this book! I just finished Rangers Apprentice, Tournament at Gorlan and thought “Great. I don’t have the sequel so I guess I’ll try that book mom suggested.” Then about ten pages in, I couldn’t take my eyes out of the book.
The plot is a murder mystery with a twist. You get thrown into this new world with crazy things and you want to find out more so you keep on reading. I loved the book so much because it was excitement from one end of the cover to the other, twists, secrets and answers sucking you deeper and deeper into the book. It was a great fun read unless you have something important to do that day. It makes you want a sequel, and I hope Brandon Sanderson doesn’t keep me waiting too long!"
My comments - great clean book (no swearing or sex stuff); fast reading; unique plot - I felt both the main characters were strong and well-written! Can't wait to read the sequel myself =)
This is a fantastic AU of our own world, where instead of the United States, there are the United Isles. A lot of the history is the same, such as Euclid’s mathematical discoveries; but when Rithmatics was discovered via wild chalkings, there is a larger divergence. Rithmatics is chalked magic and something I really can’t explain beyond that. Its foundation is in Geometry though, which fascinates me, a math teacher.
This is a math-friendly, educator-friendly book. I freaking love that children are being exposed to such positivity in a fantasy novel.
I love that there are writing and activity prompts in the back. They allow for creativity in the classroom, and for parents & children.
I did read these about 50% in and thus accidentally spoiled myself in the process. I started to keep an eye out for clues that I knew Sanderson must have put in (and he did).
It’s cool that some of the Isles have the same names as places in the U.S. and Canada, such as Wisconsin, Texas, Nebrask, and Newfoundland. Others are similar, including Yellowstone, Erie, and Santa Fe. And then there are places like New France, New Britannia, and New Holland.
Sanderson of course made sure there was a map of the Isles, including marks where the Rithmatic Academies are. There are eight Academies on eight different Isles, and Rithmatists are chosen by the Master among children. Only about one in a thousand children are chosen each year.
McSweeney’s illustrations strew the book, sometimes with drawings on pages themselves, but more so with descriptions between chapters. The illustrations truly enhance the book and almost make the magic come to life. Not only is the reader shown different aspects of Rithmatics, but there is a progression to them that helps the reader simply understand more.
I will say that calling curved images “lines” is annoying, especially because all the chalked images are 2D and are thus not subject to non-Euclidean rules. But the different Defensive, as well as offensive chalklings are full of fascinating uses of polygons and curves. There is a non-gon with only six non-curved sides.
Rithmatics is a complex science that is also based on belief and feelings. I almost want to study it along with Joel.
Joel is not a Rithmatist but is able to go to one of the [private] Rithmatic Academies. I like that there are local public schools for almost the rest of the school-aged population.
Unfortunately, this privilege does not come because of money or social standing. Neither of his parents are even professors (though I have a feeling there are no female professors; it’s a near-scandal to have a female clerk). No, his father was a chalk maker at the school and his mother is a cleaning lady. It’s only because of his father’s death 8 years prior that Joel is even able to have free tuition.
He is a very interesting teenager. He has studied the Rithmatic methods and internalized their history--even more than many of the youth Rithmatists! He is awesome at math, which is bloody amazing to read. I’m seeing this more and more, but I am still always incredibly frustrated whenever I read “yeah, math sucks.” The Rithmatist children even have to take general education courses on top of their Rithmatics ones (in a separate building), though they’re generally in advanced classes. I like that they’re held to a high standard because of their positions and expectations.
My mind struggles to wrap around the mathematical progression: Geometry, Trigonometry...and THEN Algebra.
Sanderson, I’m confused yet intrigued.
But all of the math leaves me full of geeky giddiness.
What is more, it’s also an educator-friendly book that shows competent and flexible and understanding leaders of the school from the principal down. I am SO. HAPPY. a renowned author like Sanderson has written this.
Joel is not ostracized but has few friends. As such, he finds that he’ll be alone during the summer. He is fortunately able to get permission from Principal York to be a student assistant under Professor Fitch.
Or really, the former professor. I really don’t like Nalizac, who challenges Fitch to a duel and therefore takes his teaching spot (and, I believe his tenure). Nalizac is an arrogant priss who thinks fighting on the front lines [of Nebrask] means that he is better than those simply teaching theories and history. I have a bad feeling about him from the start, and I know I’m meant to.
The question is: Is this a true bad feeling or a red herring?
I will say that despite the unknown state of the Isle Nebrask and the fighting that is going on there I’m not terribly interested in it until I’m more than a quarter through.
Fitch’s assignment for Joel opens the lines of friendship between him and a not-so-proficient girl his age named Melody. It’s funny to me that Joel finds her to be very strange, when others feel the same about him and his passion for Rithmatics, despite not having the magical ability.
Federal Inspector Harding is pretty awesome.
I really like that Joel wasn’t embarrassed to admit to Melody that he didn’t even have the 9 cents needed to buy ice cream.
There are pieces of steampunk here, though they are more subtle than other such novels I’ve read. The springrail is the most interesting technology to me
The Monarchial Church seems to be a twisted form of the Catholic church, which makes me ad. They provide the inception ceremony allowing the children to get their Rithmatic powers--the path to salvation.
The ending was intense and perfect.
Top reviews from other countries
Joel is a scholarship student whose rather blinkered approach to his studies means that he is regularly in trouble with his tutors. And while he isn’t necessarily bullied or hassled (which I liked, because it made a very nice change), neither is he ever invited home during the holidays to stay at the families of the rich and powerful. Being the son of the school cleaning lady means he isn’t well connected enough.
I liked his lack of self pity, as he deals with this dynamic, and his rather spiky character. The supporting cast are also well done – there is a pleasing mix of adults, so that while some are not particularly sympathetic or kind, there are a number who are all of those things. But the relationship that rolls this lovely story forward is his friendship with Melody. While Joel would give anything to be a Rithmatist, Melody hates her gift as it forces her into a life she resents and fears. Not surprisingly, this dynamic creates a lot of sparks between these two and I loved that it wasn’t a relationship that ever settles down into something easy and straightforward. She is also a strong, vibrant character with a flair for the dramatic and a tendency to draw cute unicorn chalklings.
As for the story – well, that’s a doozy! I had, of course, realised the identity of the antagonist creating all the havoc and kidnapping the promising young Rithmatists, until it became apparent that I’d got it completely wrong… The pages flew by as I was gripped by the plot, desperate for Joel and the kindly professor to succeed.
While the main puzzle is solved, the conclusion clearly sets this one up to be followed by another book, which so far hasn’t seen the light of day. It’s a real shame – and I’m glad I didn’t know the second book hadn’t appeared before I tucked into this one, or I might never have started it. And if I hadn’t done that, then I would have missed out on one of my most entertaining, quirkily clever reads of the year so far. Highly recommended, even if the second book isn’t available…
It's sad that Sanderson has struggled to get his head back into the world the Rithmatist, following his Wheel Of Time sabbatical. I really do hope he does do it someday tough, there is just something extremely special about this book.
I surprisingly enjoyed this. I was expecting a good story cause I had heard great things about Brandon Sanderson's writing, but I wasn't expecting to be quite so sucked in. The build-up of the world was pretty good, though I thought it was a dystopia type world at first, I think it was actually more of an alternate reality to our world today. The explanations of the different types of circles and lines and defences used by the rithmatists did go a bit over my head. I just saw shapes and my math-hating brain shut off, basically.
Joel was a good protagonist and I really liked his growing relationship with Melody. They never deviated from what I expected of them so their personalities really held firm. I also liked the professors Fitch and Nalizar. I couldn't help but think of Professor Slughorn from Harry Potter when it came to Fitch, that bumbling type of teacher and Nalizar's story arc reminded me a lot of how Harry treated and suspected Snape in the Philosopher's Stone.
I'm really hope another book will come out soon as I really feel there's so much more to come with this story and Joel's story.
Joel is the protagonist of the story and he was unable to become a Rithmatist himself. However, his deep interest in Rithmatics has given him a better understanding of the system than most Rithmatist students at his school. Seeing things through the eyes of a non-Rithmatist helps you to gradually build an understanding of how it works and by the end of the book Joel becomes a huge part of the unraveling mystery.
The cast of characters are likeable and it's not always easy to predict what may happen. The character that I though may be just a red herring still managed to surprise me.
I highly recommend this book.