Joel has always wanted to be a Rithmatist, but Rithmatists are born and not made. Joel, undaumnted, pured his life into knowing everything about Rithmatics he could and won a coveted scholarship to Armedius Academy. there he secretly sneaks into classes and learns as much as he can about the magical skill he can never use. When a new professor shows up and upsets the order of the academy, Joel learns there is more at stake than academic standing. Now he and a young Rithmatist named Melody are on the case and must find the secrets that will change their world forever.
FINALLY!!! A fantasy book that avoids the C.O.D. (Child of Destiny, foretold since the before times that will come to save the world from darkness and blah blah blah) trap. Joel gets where he is from intelligence and extremely hard work, not birthright! Also the magic in this world is super well thought out, excellently described, and very exciting. Rithmatists draw specific chalk lines that protect or attack the two dimensional monsters known as chalklings. There are excellent schematics explaining the magic at the start of each chapter and they really give the reader something to look forward to. I really loved how driven Joel is. It not only makes him someone you want to root for, but also keeps the plot moving very well. I liked Melody a lot and felt she really complemented Joel, but she wasn't given a lot of time to expand as a character. Fortunately this is a series, so there is time for expansion on all fronts. For instance, the world is very different with America a series of islands under various nation's control, but a lot of this is background and not fully explored. However, it is very interesting background and givers the reader something to look forward to seeing more of in the sequels. This is a unique new series with a wonderful magic system and a sparking plot. If you are a fantasy fan then you just might have a new favorite series!
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