cover image The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist

Brandon Sanderson, illus. by Ben McSweeney. Tor Teen, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2032-2

Bestselling author Sanderson’s first YA novel is a delightful fantasy set in an alternate early 20th-century America made up of 60 loosely federated islands protected by Rithmatists, who use powerful chalk-drawing magic to hold at bay the voracious wild chalklings. These mysterious, two-dimensional creatures from the dangerous island of Nebrask would wipe out the nation if they ever broke loose. Sixteen-year-old Joel attends Armedius Academy, a noted school for Rithmatists, as a general student; he has studied the intricate, magical chalk patterns his whole life, but missed his chance to become a Rithmatist. As his more talented schoolmates begin to disappear, apparently killed or kidnapped by wild chalklings, Joel; his new friend Melody, an incompetent young Rithmatist; and Fitch, their recently disgraced professor, become involved in a desperate attempt to avoid more bloodshed and save their schoolmates. Featuring ingenious magic (complete with profuse chalk drawing–style diagrams and illustrations from McSweeney), feisty characters, and a complex plot likely to unwind over several volumes, this high-spirited, exciting story will appeal to readers of all ages. Ages 12–up. Author’s agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (May)