The Rithmatist (#1)

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles. 

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing―kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery―one that will change Rithmatics―and their world―forever.


“There are indeed secrets to be uncovered and the world to be saved, and THE RITHMATIST contains some good surprises on the way to a pleasingly nifty conclusion.”

The New York Times

“The inhumanly prolific author of the Mistborn trilogy conjures similarly baroque magic for a lapidary series opener aimed at a somewhat younger audience […] Fantasy readers should devour this well-crafted mix of action and setup, enriched by thoroughly detailed cultural and historical background and capped by a distinctly unsettling twist.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

“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.”

Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

“THE RITHMATIST should still easily appeal to older audiences, and it’s a great first entry into a new series that, like Sanderson’s other worlds, promises plenty of exploration, mystery, unique magic, and characters who will continue to grow far beyond the current boundaries.”


“The story is compelling and the main characters of Joel and Melody are ones that we can relate to — even their wishes, desires, hopes, and dreams ring true […] While THE RITHMATIST is marketed for teen and young adults, I believe that it would be of interest to readers of all ages […] Highly Recommended!”


“THE RITHMATIST is a captivating, winning story with likable characters, an interesting and original magic system, and an ending that opens up rather than closes down.”

Fantasy Literature

“With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.”

YA Books Central

Awards & Accolades


#6 New York Times Children’s Bestseller List


LUBIMY CZYTAĆ Readers’ Choice Finalist: 2019 “Book of the Year Awards”


Apple: “Best Teen Book of 2013”


Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award Nominee


New York Times: “Notable Childrens Book of 2013”


Kirkus: “Best of 2013”


ABC Best Books for Children & Teens Too


Goodreads: “Best of 2013”


SF Book Club Selection


Booklist: “Fantasy titles for tweens and teens, featuring magic schools”