Book Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Title: Magisterium
Author: Jeff Hirsch
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Library
Series? Not that I can tell
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Page Count: 310


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 and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn’s only friend, Kevin, 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 Glenn and Kevin on the run—with only one place to go. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
Magisterium is an intriguing combination of science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian/post-apocalyptic that while big on ideas, unfortunately fell short of the mark for me.

At first, I liked the main character, Glenn. I thought she would be a good inspiration for teen girls interested in science and math, and I loved that she didn’t want to be derailed by a romantic relationship. I could also relate to Glenn wanting to escape her father’s obsession, yet feeling sick about leaving him alone.

Magisterium has one of the best descriptions for science that I can remember reading:

“Ever since she was a little girl, Glenn loved science because it taught her to take new things and incorporate them seamlessly into what she already knew about the world. It was like adding a new room onto an ornate but ever more perfectly constructed house. In science, she learned, everything is connected and everything is explained (p. 73).”

But once the story got going, I was confused, sorta bored, and really tempted to start skimming. Glenn’s friend Kevin, the romantic interest, gets dragged into Magisterium with her. The bulk of the action happens to him, which makes me wonder why he wasn’t the main character instead of Glenn.

I figured out one of the big plot twists early on, so it didn’t have a lot of impact for me when it was finally revealed. I also stayed confused right to the end, and the ending baffled me. The opening for a sequel is definitely there, but I also don’t know where the author would take the story. Yet I had unanswered questions about basically everything, from the worldbuilding to the characters.

I up-rated because of the ideas in Magisterium. Unfortunately, I wish I’d found out a lot more about the Magisterium and the Colloquium. I had the feeling that the author had a lot more story to tell, but left most of it out.

Socialize with the author:
Jeff Hirsch:

– leeanna

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