Two McMillion

Why The Rithmatist is my favorite Brandon Sanderson book (spoilers)

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I don't know about "favorite", I think comparing Rithmatist to Stormlight Archive is like comparing a painting to a song; two art forms that are so different that no comparison, aside from personal preference, can be made. That said, I think Brandon's shorter novels and short stories are outstanding, and don't get nearly the praise they deserve. 

 

Although I love Way of Kings as a great example of the epic saga genre, the works of Brandon's that most impressed me with his skill as a writer were Legion, and Defending Elysium (short story available on his website). The latter, especially, packs so much style, thought, and philosophy into such a small piece that it's incredible.

 

In general, I think the short story/novella form is very under-appreciated. They don't sell copies by themselves, so they're always either published in a magazine by an author just starting out, or diluted in an anthology collection. But when they're done right, they can develop amazing characters, tell a great story, and do it without having to invest in the massive world-building that a lot of big novels get bogged down by.

 

For example, a long time ago I read the Thomas Covenant chronicles by Stephen Donaldson, and although they're considered a classic of fantasy, I wasn't that impressed. But I stumbled across a short strory/novella by Donaldson called "Daughter of Regals" and it to this day remains one of my favorite fantasy pieces ever.

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I liked the book, but I couldn't help but feel like I was reading a book called "Sanderson does Harry Potter." Can't say it was my favorite for reasons explained by that comment...but it was good. 

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I liked the book, but I couldn't help but feel like I was reading a book called "Sanderson does Harry Potter." Can't say it was my favorite for reasons explained by that comment...but it was good. 

 

Hmmm Now I loved the Rithmatist because it felt so much like Harry potter Especialy Nalizar being almost a carbon copy of Snape It made the twist ending so much more satisfying when

Nalizar turns out to have been behind it all along, that was just so beautifully done. I never suspected it, because Nalizar was so obvious throughout the entire book that I kept thinking to myself there's no way it's him,  Brandon wouldn't give us such an obvious villain and then after he's completely above suspicion he reveals that he's been hiding in plain site

 

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Dude, two mcmillion, keep lovin' it. Stay real, this is freaking touching. (As the vernacular goes)

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That totally puts it into perspective. Thanks dude :)

I love The Rithmatist. It was how I found out about Brandon Sanderson and the Cosmere. You could say that without The Rithmatist, I wouldn't be typing this right now.

Your words were beautiful, and I totally agree with them. Joel is a relatable, fun, and believable character, and your description gave him new meaning for me. 

We dream of the supernatural. Sometimes we hope for it too. And it is invigorating--refreshing even--to read a fantasy novel like The Rithmatist, where the character is just like us.

 

Thanks for making my day McMillion.

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Thank you! I have said before that the Rithmastist is one of my favorites, and I just got a blank stare, like "Huh? What do you mean of course the Stormlight Archive is the best, and what was the Rithmastist about anyway?"

On April 3, 2015 at 11:51 PM, Unhinged said:

 

Especialy Nalizar being almost a carbon copy of Snape.

 

That quote about Nalizar being "A man who no one liked, but who people thought had a good heart". I thought, "Oh, that's Snape, except he's actually bad!"

 

The whole charecter and everything is just like Snape.

Edited by Renoux
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You know, this actually gave me a whole knew look at life. I do the same thing as you, but not with super powers, with more natural abilities. Something like really good art skills, or finally knowing how to write the rest of the tenth chapter in my story. Thankfully for me I can probably get that with practice, where Joel will probably never. But in that sense, I still sympathize with Joel, and with you. Thank you for writing this, it made my day.

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you TRAGICALLY left out the best part of the whole book!

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Now this has really gotten me thinking about this book.
This was my own first Brandon Sanderson book: after reading it, I realized that the author that had written this had also written Mistborn, which I had heard about from a friend. I have this book to thank for being here.
The book is great for reasons already outlined, plus one that hasn't really been mentioned yet: the magic system. If you look at the magic systems from other books, they sound like they're going to be very amazing and clever and visually awesome to watch in a lot of cases. Mistborn? People flying through the sky, able to shoot coins, grow insanely strong...check. Stormlight archive? People glow, can fly around, create illusions, transform things...check.
But The Rithmatist uses a magic system that, to put it bluntly, is fighting by drawing chalk on the ground. And yet, this magic system that could be (and probably has been) sneered at for having such an odd basis is amazing in this book.
I honestly think this book is underappreciated.

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Ok, you're probably gonna look stupid and everyone's gonna laugh at you. Deep breath and

The Rithmatist actually sounds a lot like my life. I like reading books but my parents won't let me. I also want to write books, and I can make really good plots, but when it comes to actually writing the story, it's actually cr*p. Joel likes rithmatics, but since he isn't a rithmatist, he can't study it, nor can his lines come to life. In the end, Joel draws lines and Melody, who can't draw lines, traces them and they come to life. They fill in each other's weak points. I, in the future, will probably help someone write a book, who is rubbish at making plots but makes amazing stories. Am I Joel, but in real life?

Now everyone thinks you're weird. Thanks, me.

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Mike TwoMcmillion, I just recently read this and loved it. Thank you so much for summarizing why being human has its own dignity and can be its own superpower. 

Not only does the Rithmatist have Magic Turtle Graphics (and who cannot love like that), it really is the Anti-Hogwarts.

However those Rithmatists are chosen, most have little skill or interest in fundamental geometry, the basis of their magic system. Classes are long, tedious, and boring taught by teachers whose primary qualification is not love of the subject or ability to teach but desire for the status and position that tenure provides. There's 10 years of indentured servitude once students graduate.  Their society knows about them and their magic but doesn't trust them and resents them. There's no "boy who survived" hero and magic fart candy.

The Rithmatist offers an unusually gritty magic world despite details that sparkle in the background: the applied magic of chalking-driven steampunk engines and a wonderful North American continent made up of islands and Sweet and Sour Lo Mein as Italian cuisine.

The hero is a muggle with a gift of mathematical ability and (this is the really best bit), he has to work really hard to master his subject. I loved when he looked self-critically at his early attempts at the 9-point defense and was able to critically analyze it, to see how he's improved since then. He's constantly reading and studying and improving his knowledge and understanding, even as the class system keeps him walled off from that enticing library just a few steps away from his normal life.

I loved the uncomplaining efforts of his mom, who with her husband, had a dream, took a gamble, lost, and accepted the consequences of making adult choices with adult risks. That is so unbelievably rare in fiction. Yes, his father's work and efforts paid off but only after eight years of both sadness and her self sacrifice.

I love how Joel is bad at being a hero. He's reckless, he can be a bully, and he often picks the worst approach counter to his best interests. And I love how the professor and the head of school both call him out on this, using the maturity and wisdom they've earned with age to teach him to be a better person. How many SF/Fantasy books can you think of where people actually talk through their problems, apologize, try to make amends, and work towards becoming better people? Joel's relationship with Melody is perfect because she too has a lot of growing up to do and plenty of sharp edges and frustration inherent to her character.

Rithmatist is my favorite Sanderson novel to date. And it's the heart and growth that makes it that way for me.

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I too love Rithmatist. Be it the steampunk-sequel alternate history setting, the simple but very well made magic system, or the fact that I simply adore the relationship between Joel and Melody (Which I really hope comes to bloom in the next book), there's simply something, comforting about those books. So yeah, I like it.

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I loved the book as well, though I am hoping that Joel does end up becoming a Rithmatist.  I also really loved the Reckoners series and I love how that all ended, but I feel like not only would we as an audience but Joel as a protagonist would be jipped if either Joel did not become a Rithmatist or he became one at the very end of the series and we never got to see him grow and develop as a Rithmatist.  Personally I'm hoping for Joel to become the Rithmatist version of whatever Nalzahar is, possibly bonding a more powerful or more important shadow blaze.  

And here is hoping we get at least a few more books in the series. 

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I just finished this book, and I thought it was pretty dang awesome.  Thanks TwoMcMillion for the super awesome description of why it's awesome.  :)

Having read Steelheart before this, I see a lot of similarities between Joel and David.  I like them both a lot and I don't think I'd try to put one over the other right now, especially since David's had 3 books and Joel has only had 1.  But anyway, I really loved the ending and how Joel is able to do so much more than he realizes with his ability, even though he's not a Rhithmatist.  This book honestly has one of the most triumphant endings of any I've read.

Also, I'm having to do a huge amount of math before my Calculus class starts, so I really appreciate this book giving me a little bit more appreciation for the subject. :P

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I love the book because the characters are so well-written. I can effortlessly imagine sitting next to Joel in math class as he aces a test he didn't study for. During the scene where he sits in on Fitch's class, I could feel the boredom of the other students. All of the teachers felt very real to me, I was reading the scenes and I was there, in class, wishing I was outside. I can emphasize with Melody very well - I go to a prep school admittance to which is exclusively merit-based, but whatever intelligence I possessed at the age of 12 has vanished and left me in unending extra-help sessions. Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve this kind of education, but I'm here so I might as well limp to the finish line. People often hear about me and think I'm super-smart and always study, but in reality my notebooks are filled with doodles.

Also, the day-to-day life of the school also seems so real to me. Admin freaking out because the parents are freaking out, paperwork, students scurrying down the halls.

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