Full review at http://thebookshelfgargoyle.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/the-rithmatist-read-it-if/
If you’re looking for something completely different, with engaging characters and some really novel concepts, you could do a lot worse than this book. One of the stand-out bits of The Rithmatist is the confident world-building that Sanderson has accomplished. He has managed to pull off a story set in a completely original and believable alternate-Earth, without getting bogged down in describing the ways and workings of the whole deal.
The Rithmatist follows the fates of Joel, son of a chalk-maker and all round ordinary sort of guy, who is completing his schooling at an institution dedicated partly to the teaching of Rithmatics - a type of combat that involves bringing chalk drawings to life. When Rithmatic students on Joel’s campus start disappearing, he becomes much more involved in the fates and fortunes of the Rithmatic community than he could ever have hoped. Thus begins a wholly original tale that has it all – murder, mayhem, mystery, monsters, mystical doodling and…much else besides, not necessarily starting with M.