I don't think you can go wrong with *any* book by Brandon Sanderson. Well, any of his books angled to slightly adult persons. I am still trying his Alcatraz books, but they are just a bit too young for me (middle grade, I believe, 10 y/o).
The Rithmatist is geared towards young-adults and that's very clear in the writing. But it doesn't matter, because, well, this is Brandon Sanderson writing. He can teach a corkscrew to do some twists.
The premise is simple and reminds me of a book I once read when I was a little child, "De Schrijvenaar van Thyll", I believe it was titled, by Peter Schaap I think. Performing magic through writing.
Only, in the Rithmatist this isn't through writing but through drawing.
As always Brandon creates a magic system that is well thought out, gives the impression of having a lot of science behind it without dumping too much info on you. Creating depth without actually showing you the details of that depth.
So, a simple premise. Drawing geometry and scribbled creatures is magic. From that he creates a mystery. Again he takes a concept we all know well. The odd kid in a school becomes involved and well, wins the day. I mean, that isn't even a spoiler, it's what we expect from YA. If the kid was supposed to fail and be horribly tortured and devoured by the monsters, it would be another genre entirely.
I really enjoyed this book. It's light, it's original and it even has a tiny bit of suspense. Why then the three stars?
It's YA. I'm not really a big fan of YA, I like more grit in my book. And by grit I mean real grit, and not the adolescent 'angst' that most YA books seem to have. Not this one though, I have to admit this one is a breath of fresh air in that area. I think it is on par with Elantris. Original, fresh, engaging. Still, it is not enough to gain it four stars, because it is very light and lacks a bit of gravitas (five stars I only give to very special very very very good books).
I am looking forward to the sequel though.