Oct 11, 12
Read from September 26 to October 01, 2012
Jeff Hirsch’s Magisterium is a complex novel that merges science fiction/dystopian and fantasy with a surprising outcome.
Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan’s life changes the day her scientist father gives her a bracelet that he has invented. He believes the bracelet will allow them to enter the Rift, another division of their planet, and the place where he believes her mother may have disappeared. Glenn doesn’t believe her father when he tells her this. While the Colloqium is a futuristic world steeped in science, the Rift is just a barren wasteland in another dimension. There’s no way that her mother could possibly be there. Even if it could be true, Glenn has no desire to enter the Rift. The way she sees it, her mother abandoned them, so why would she want to go find her? She would rather stay in the Colloqium with her best (and only) friend, Kevin, finish school and then escape to planet 813. When Glenn tells her therapist about the bracelet and what her father believes it can do, she soon finds her father imprisoned by the authority and herself on the run from military forces. She and Kevin escape to the Rift (aka the Magisterium) a place of magic, odd people and several things that don’t make sense to Glenn. What she and Kevin will soon discover is that the world they come from is a lie and that the entire universe is much more than they ever could have thought.
While the overall premise strikes a familiar chord (bright girl with no mother and a father who pours himself into his work leaving her to daydream about the day she can finally go away), the story is told in a fresh and inventive way. While the writing didn’t blow me away, it certainly wasn’t awful. In fact, it flowed well. I was also able to connect with most of the characters, though I wasn’t all that fond of Glenn. She’s okay, she just felt a little flat and a little too familiar. I much preferred Kevin, though he seemed a little familiar as well (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Honestly, the only character who struck me as truly unique was the character of Aamon, but he doesn’t come along until they reach the Magisterium.
The pacing is good, and the story flows well, though there were a few places where I felt it seemed to contradict itself. Maybe it was just me not paying close enough attention. My biggest problem with the book was the cliffhanger ending. It just didn’t work for me at all. I’m okay with cliffhangers if they actually work, but this one, sadly, didn’t.
If you like complex stories, and are looking for something different, I would recommend this one.