Book Review: Magisterium

Book Review: MagisteriumMagisterium by Jeff Hirsch
Published by Scholastic Press on October 1st 2012
Pages: 320

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.

Magisterium was a weird read for me. Two world completely different, but connected. One world pure fantasy. One world dystopian. As weird as it was at times, strangely, it all works.

The tale begins in our dystopian world, Colloquium. Here, order dictates everything. I found Colloquium to be a pretty standard dystopian world. Readers, sadly, do not spend much time here, so the lack of overall world building makes sense. However, of what is seen, it was done very well. The Magisterium, by contrast, seemed like a world out of a Hayao Miyazaki film. As soon as I entered the Magisterium, my thoughts instantly went to Miyazaki's The Cat Returns and Spirited Away. Due to my love for anything Miyazaki, I found an instant connection with Hirsch's world. It was more than a pleasant surprise to find that magical spark in Magisterium.

As far as our characters go, that is a different story. Glenn was not my favorite heroine. She has her moments of genius, but I found her to get on my nerves more than I would have liked. Kevin, the sidekick, love interest, was a little out there. In the beginning, I found his character to be charming. Warming instantly up to the idea of him and Glenn as a couple. However, after the tale leads us in quite a few twists and turns, I came to accept them as better off as being friends. So, the sneak attack of romance showing its head again was a bit of a surprise.

Final Verdict:

There were definitely some ups and downs for this read. The world building was amazing. To say the least, it blew me away. The characters, sadly, were not exactly my cup of tea, but by the end of Magisterium felt like old friends. After all has been said and done, this is definitely a story with its magical worlds that I would not mind visiting again.

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