There’s a blurb on the back cover of this book. It says:
“There are very few authors about whom I can say, without a doubt, that I will read every single book they ever write. Brandon Sanderson is a member of that club. He’s brilliant and has an imagination I’ve only seen in the likes of Stephen King and J. K. Rowling.” — James Dashner
I cannot agree more. I won’t read every book by Stephen King. I won’t even try. I couldn’t even remember who the other author was when typing the rough draft of this post (a little embarrassed now to see it was J. K. Rowling). Certainly I won’t read all of her books (although I’m 7 for 8 right now). But Brandon Sanderson stands apart.
It seems cliched to say that Sanderson’s writing envelopes you as you read. That he builds worlds that surround you and bring you out of the day-to-day into something wonderful and fantastic. But that’s what they do. The Rithmatist is no different. I wonder what new revelations will await me in the next chapter even as I’m reveling in the discoveries of the current one. What really happened in that last scene? Was he hinting at something in that last line? How is this going to play out? And the detail with which each story is constructed is sublime. I read Sanderson and feel like every story fits its setting perfectly. That one could not exist without the other. Perfectly intertwined.
But it makes me wonder about the world Sanderson himself lives in. Does he walk around with dotted arcs dancing across his line of sight, connecting bits of metal in a room, as if he’s wearing some kind of allomantic heads up display (might be a cool app idea for Google Glass)? Does he imagine chalk lines moving across the floor in an attempt to penetrate the circles we surround ourselves in? Can he close one eye and see the same dotted lines and chalked circles, instead connecting countries and presidents as empires rise and fall. If we could somehow tap into this stream of conscious would we see the world like everyone else or would we see a world complete and utterly foreign, with only shades and vague outlines of the familiar, not entirely unlike the map we see behind the cover of The Rithmatist.
Then I wonder about my own world view. Can a foreign observer read my posts and detect the path that has made me the man I am today? Would they be even remotely right? Perhaps my training as a musician continues to shape the way I view the world though I’ve hardly struck a note in the last year (I’ll admit my training in writing certainly allowed me to assign meaning to my music through this next metaphor)? There is a part of me that thrives upon routine. Enjoys repeatable tasks and choices which upon subtle variations and ornaments build to create something beautiful. But also, I have a great need to experience new events completely and utterly different from that which has come before. A need for improvisation. I’ve often thought about my writing as mutually exclusive from my music which is again separate from my work. However, now I wonder if all of these aspects couldn’t simply be divisions in a larger work. My training in music might form the exposition, while my writing might be something of a developmental section (I’d certainly say I’ve been developing recently) and perhaps the recapitulation is still to come in which elements from both previous segments combine to finish the work. One can only hope.
I think The Rithmatist was supposed to be Young Adult, which encompasses and age range of maybe 13-19 (from what I’ve been able to tell), but here I am, well on my way to turning 23 and the novel has made me think through all of that. Sanderson doesn’t mess around.
The Rithmatist is no exception.
If you haven’t already, go and read it. I’d be interested to see what it has to offer you regardless of age. I strongly believe that this book has something in it for everyone. Or perhaps my commute in the morning is too long. Either way, I think the fact that I’m still thinking about it, is a tribute to its excellence.
I think that’s enough for now. Bye all.
PS: Apparently there is a Trailer for the book. I’m not sure what I think about this but here it is: