Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

by Jeff Hirsch

ISBN-13: 9-780545-290180
Publication: October 2012 from Scholastic Press
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
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On one side of the rift is a technological paradise without famine or want.

On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life without knowing what might be on the other side of it. Glenn’s only friend, Kevin Kapoor, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft. But magic isn’t for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn’s mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies, and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father’s work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send her and Kevin on the run – with only one place to go.

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch blends a mix of magic and technology into a truly unique world and adventure. The Rift divides Glenn’s world in two – the Colloquium, where she lives, and the Magisterium, the place beyond the Rift that she believes to be barren and lifeless. Until she finds herself running from her government and a visitor to the Magisterium.

The technology and futuristic world of the Colloquium is wonderful. The details that Jeff Hirsch has put into both it and the fuedal-like society of the Magisterium really bring you into Glenn’s world and help paint the pictures of the two lands in your mind. It’s easy to imagine the forests and towns, and the city. Glenn is an intriguing and interesting main character – her mother walked out on the family when Glenn was young, and her scientist father is often wrapped up in work. Glenn strives to be accepted into a program that will send her into space and the new colony planet. Her best friend is a boy she doesn’t even really like all that much, and her entire life gets turned upside down when her dad is arrested and she and best friend Kevin go on the run and find themselves on the other side of the Rift. She manages to keep a good head about her and takes responsibility when needed. She’s determined and strong and wicked powerful. Because oh yes, the Magisterium has magic it does. And also, can I just say I love Glenn’s full name? Glenora. Very neat.

The moments describing use of Affinity (magic) are wonderful. Vivid, colourful and slightly terrifying. Jeff Hirsch is a master of description. The action present in Magisterium starts early and just continues until the end. The book moves at a fast pace and is never boring. And while this book is pretty awesome, I do have to say that I was often wondering WHY the Colloquium government wants to invade across the Rift. Obviously to try and harness Affinity, but it just seemed kind of strange. They’re so far advanced technologically, why magic? And Kevin, though the best friend and fairly main character, changes so quickly. While in the Magisterium, Kevin is given memories of some other boy. And he immediately flips personalities. But then kind of flips back? I’m not sure, but it was odd, as was the eventual romance between Glenn and Kevin. Glenn’s mother also comes into play near the middle/end of the book, and I won’t say how because I don’t want to spoil it. Although if you read the book you might be able to guess early on when she’ll show up and how.

3.5 heart

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch ends wide open for potential sequels. I would definitely visit Glenn’s world again, if for nothing more then to get further answers to questions and experience the magic, tech and world that Jeff Hirsch has so wonderfully brought to life. I think this one will definitely be enjoyed by fantasy/sci-fi fans, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone wanting to try the genres. Great world building and a kick-ass female heroine keep the pages turning in this book, and contributes to late nights spent reading.

ARC provided from Scholastic Canada in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!