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I Belong

Early Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Title: Magisterium

Author: Jeff Hirsch

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 1, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 054529018X (Scholastic Press)

ISBN-13: 978-0545290180 (Scholastic Press)

Reviewed by: Michelle


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.

Quick & Dirty: A world filled with wonder, built with layers upon layers of detail, that includes well-written characters.

Opening Sentence: Glenn followed the hum of machinery out to the edge of the forest.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

First of all, Jeff Hirsch’s Magisterium has a wonderful book cover. For those of you who have not seen the advanced reading copy (ARC), the cover’s background is in foil. It is luminescent, complementing the dark focus of the cover – a girl who appears to be transforming into a group of crows. The cover demands your attention, and Hirsch’s Magisterium is no different. Filled with both fantasy and science fiction, Magisterium does a fantastic job blending the lines to write this amazing story.

Glenn Morgan is a sixteen year-old girl, living in a world filled with technology, the Colloquium, without famine, and without magic. Glenn’s reality is that her mother disappeared when she was only six. Soon afterwards, her scientist father poured himself into his work, consuming his whole life into the secret Project. Glenn is a smart student, always studying and preparing for the day that she can leave the planet and escape. But once the project is complete, Glenn panics and results in her father’s arrest. Only with the help of her closest friend, Kevin, can she escape and together, they escape into the unknown territory known past the Rift.

Glenn is a strong protagonist who has found herself questioning everything in her past. At a young age of sixteen, she has managed to grow up into a strong female with respectable morals. But Glenn’s home life wasn’t terrible. Her father loves her, as well as the memories of her mother, providing Glenn with a strong backbone and personality. Growing up in a technological world, Glenn has only accepted life in a certain way. She does not accept magic, for she doesn’t know anything else. Having a scientist brain, she seeks proof, and with magic, there is none. Everything is accessible through her tablet, which does not prepare Glenn for anything once she is on the run.

Kevin Kapoor is introduced as Glenn’s only friend. There is a slight inclination of romantic interest, but having grown up together since childhood, it seemed inevitable. Kevin is a good companion, an ally, and a friend, one that Glenn is lucky to have. Stepping into the world of magic and unknown, they both meet Aamon. Aamon is different, a perfect introduction into this world beyond the Rift. He is elusive and filled with secrets, but Glenn feels an odd familiarity. He protects them both, despite his hesitations and concerns, but Aamon is loyal.

Hirsch weaved Glenn’s emotions into the story, altering the mood and theme dependent on what she felt at the time. Magisterium erases the borders of technology and magic, bringing them together like they belonged all along. And the world and its magic can easily be characterized as another character. One of the best, in my opinion, filled with creatures, culture, and history, that as a reader, you’ll want more.

Hirsch’s world is amazing. Magisterium is amazing. The world that Hirsch built is really and truly filled with wonder. There are so many layers between the two worlds and within the story. The characters were written with so much depth, between both worlds, that the main and supporting characters all deserve recognition. I was in awe with the wonderful imagery and the culture behind magic and technology. Each world separate, but also seamlessly connected.

I loved the concept of the story and Hirsch did a fantastic job with his writing and carrying out the plot. The pacing was great, and I never felt bored. I was always anxiously waiting to turn the page, ready to read the next detail or next scene. The lines are blurred between science fiction and fantasy, but on the side of great accomplishment. Magisterium was really a perfect blend of dystopia and fantasy, allowing my imagination to do what it does best.

Notable Scene:

Glenn scrambled to lift up his shirt. The bullet wound in his side was ringed in tattered flesh. Blood oozed from it, pooling beneath him.

A wave of panic crashed into Glenn. She leaned into the wound, her thin arms quivering. Kevin howled but she pressed harder. She had hoped the soaked T-shirt would hold back the blood, but she could already feel it seeping through the fabric and onto her fingers. Kevin moaned again, weaker this time. His eyes opened. They were unfocused and hazy, wild. His life was flowing out of him.

Glenn turned back the way they had come, the panic turning to hysteria. She had no choice.

“We’re here!” she screamed, shredding her throat, hoping the agents would hear her, hoping they would come. “We’re here! Please help us! PLEASE!”

FTC Advisory: Scholastic Press provided me with a copy of Magisterium.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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One Response to “Early Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

  1. Rain MaidenNo Gravatar

    Never heard of this book. Great review, this one is going on my wish list.

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