Book Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch (3 stars)
Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch
Genre: YA Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published: October 12th, 2012
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.
With MAGISTERIUM, Jeff Hirsch brings us the story of a complex, captivating world that will leave readers breathless until the very last page.
MAGISTERIUM dived from a solid five star book, the moment Kevin chopped off his mohawk.
When I initially started the book, I was pleasantly surprised that it was sci-fi. I thought by the cover that it was a fantasy. My favorite character was Kevin, because I adored his puppy dog crush on Glenn, although I despised how she treated him (like shit). And my favorite part of the book was the first couple of chapters. I thought that Glenn had a good future/adventure on planet 813.
And then it all changed.
Glenn’s father kept a terrible secret and the bracelet on Glenn’s wrist held the key. Through a series of unfortunate events, Glenn discovered herself fleeing towards the borderlands…to the wasteland that she’s learned to avoid her whole life.
When Glenn learns that the borderlands are actually a dark fantasyland, not only does her perception of reality change, but so does the narration. The writing becomes less scientific and more poetic. The writing is beautiful, yet I think the action scenes are so filled with fluff and descriptions that I lose exactly track of what happens. Glenn might be going insane, but it’s me ripping out my hair as I try to figure out if a certain character is dead, dying, or just injured.
I loved Kevin in the beginning, but due to an incident, his personality completely changes, and all chemistry between him and Glenn is lost. He even chopped off his beautiful blue mohawk and stopped being so chatty. /crushed. Aamon’s character is essential to the story, but he seems forced into situations for plot purposes.
In fact, there are a lot of characters that disappear for a few pages or chapters and then just spontaneously show up when they have to save/foil Glenn. I wish there was more foreshadowing for several of the major scenes. And when the Magistar finally makes an appearance, (to quote the Mad Hatter) she’s “lost her muchness”. It was very anti-climatic. The ending was also anti-climatic for the buildup. But I think most of my disappointment was because the Kevin I fell in love with on page one never came back.
MAGISTERIUM wasn’t a bad book, but when it killed the old Kevin, I just lost my attachment to the story.
(I received a copy of this book from the ARCycling Program.)