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3.8 10
by Jeff Hirsch

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hirsch's brisk, concept-driven second novel (after The Eleventh Plague) features a dystopian future world divided into two realms. After a mysterious "Rift" event, half of Earth appears to have turned into a wasteland; meanwhile, science has advanced tremendously in the "Colloquium," where 16-year-old Glenn lives with her father. Glenn's mother vanished when Glenn was a young girl, and her father has devoted himself to tinkering on an apparently useless invention ever since. Then he reveals to Glenn that everything she knows about the Rift is a lie, and that the laws of physics can be subverted on the other side; only his invention can protect travelers who cross the borders between worlds. After the military attempts to claim the discovery, Glenn and Kevin, the love interest she holds at arm's length, escape to the Rift, where they discover a fantastical kingdom in chaos. Though the nature of the book's science and magic may be a bit vague for some readers, Hirsch keeps the action rolling nonstop. Fans of dystopian adventure will find familiar, yet gratifying thrills with a touch of glamour. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Susan Cotter
Set in a dystopian future, this title gives us sixteen-year-old Glennora Morgan, who has her whole life mapped out. She will graduate from the Academy a year early and take the first rocket ship going to a planet that is light years away from Earth so she can escape her unhappy home life. Her plans change in a moment when the Authority comes to arrest her and her father for being subversive. She escapes with best friend Kevin Kapoor and the two go into the Rift, a wilderness that no one has visited in over 100 years. It turns out there is a whole other civilization over there. Glenn and Kevin have many adventures as they make their way through the Magesterium, barely escaping death at every turn. The book is action-packed, which is for the best since the plot, description and dialogue do not always make sense. Magisterium would be better suited to film. Minor detail such as non-sequitur conversations and lack of continuity could be glossed over with high-tech special effects. This may have been Hirsch's intention all along.
VOYA - Beth Norby
Glenn Morgan is sixteen and lives in a scientific world with her father, who has become obsessed with his work on “the Project” ever since her mother abandoned them ten years earlier. Glenn has always been aware of the Rift on the other side of the border, a place the government tells her is a vast desert, but she dreams of getting away. When her father is arrested for his work, he gives her a bracelet and she has no other choice but to escape into the Rift with her friend Kevin Kapoor. Glenn and Kevin enter a world filled with magic, creatures, and power. As they travel through this strange land, they discover truths about their government, their families, and their own power, and they must decide how to use their new knowledge. Hirsch has cleverly combined a science fiction dystopian tale with a magical coming-of-age story of a sixteen-year-old girl trying to figure out her world and her role in it. There are some holes throughout the story where details of both worlds are not completely clear, so it can be difficult to imagine at times, and some action scenes are difficult to follow, as they seem rushed. The characters, however, are relatable to teenagers, and the concept is a fresh take on the typical dystopian story. Some readers may be turned off by the many different elements and story lines being combined, but most avid teen readers will find this book enjoyable. Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
What could have been an interesting exploration of the conflict between science and magic instead devolves into a choice based simply on who has the bigger bombs. Sixteen-year-old Glenn is a genius computer engineer torn between the desire to travel into deep space and the need to care for her increasingly unstable father. Perhaps it's this tantalizing beginning that creates such disjunction once this tale turns out to be just one more story of a chosen girl with an inborn destiny. It seems that the Rift that destroyed so much of Earth in the year 2023 wasn't a natural phenomenon after all. Instead, deep in the Rift lies a magical land, the Magisterium. There, quelle surprise, Glenn learns she has a dark magical heritage. The land calls out for a savior, but whom can Glenn trust? While she deals with her own developing magical powers and the possible betrayal of Kevin, her best friend and erstwhile beau, Glenn fights in a sudden and fairly inexplicable war that has descended upon the Magisterium. In fantasyland, Glenn's apparently genius-level skills at engineering lie undeveloped and unmentioned. Even her name changes, the "Glenn" (perhaps evoking astronaut John Glenn) replaced with the over-the-top fairy-tale name "Glennora Amantine." "You're a scientist," Kevin tells Glenn. "Tell me you don't want to understand...." Would that she did, but there's no thoughtful consideration here. Rushed worldbuilding and romance by peer pressure undercut any excitement the occasional battle might engender. (Fantasy. 12-14)
From the Publisher


"THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE hits disturbingly close to home, vividly depicting a world that has nose-dived into a futuristic nightmare. . . . An excellent, taut debut novel." --Suzanne Collins, author of THE HUNGER GAMES

"Sure to be a hit among fans of dystopias." --BOOKLIST

Children's Literature - Mary Thompson
Glenn, who longs to attend the Deep Space Academy, lives on the border of the Rift dividing her ordered life from the wasteland across the border. Her mother abandoned them when she was ten and her father's time is almost entirely consumed by his project. Her friend, Kevin, believes there's another world of wonder and monsters across the border but Glenn scoffs at his theories. They've been taught their whole life the Rift was an accident creating the horrors on the other side. Her father's obsession leads to his arrest leaving Glenn all alone with Kevin as her only ally and a strange metal bracelet her father gave her. They barely manage to escape from the Colloquium, the ruling government, by fleeing across the Rift into the unknown. Julia Whelan masters Glenn's incredulous tone and stubborn hold to her scientific beliefs as well as Kevin's steady reassuring voice as her tether in a world full of magic. The Magisterium, beyond the border, is a land in trouble and filled with mystical wonder as is evident in the ethereal sounding Fae as well as the dark and frightening Magistra. A true audio adventure blend of fantasy and science fiction with dystopian elements. Reviewer: Mary Thompson
School Library Journal
Gr 6�9—The eye-catching cover is the best part of this novel, an uneven mixture of science fiction, fantasy, and postapocalyptic elements, set sometime around 2153. When 16-year-old Glennora was 6, her mother disappeared across the Rift, the restricted borderland that is reputedly full of monsters and magical creatures. Her scientist father claims to have built a bracelet-shaped device that can change reality on the other side of the Rift and allow them to bring his wife back. The teen thinks that her father is delusional but is proved wrong after the Authority arrests him and she and her friend Kevin are forced to flee across the Rift to avoid being shot. On the other side in Magisterium they discover that their technology doesn't work but Affinity (magic) does. The bracelet that Glenn wears reverses that effect and both the Authority and the Magistra, the ruler of Magisterium, will go to great lengths to possess it. The properties found in Magisterium that give those with strong Affinity the ability to pass through objects or fly is interesting but the explanation for why the magic works that way is vague or nonexistent. The pacing is uneven and the transitions between events are abrupt and often hard to follow. The characterizations aren't always consistent or logical, and the world-building is weak. This disappointing novel doesn't fulfill its promise.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Jeff Hirsch graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with an MFA in Dramatic Writing, and is the author of THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE. He lives in Astoria, New York, with his wife, and you can visit him online at jeff-hirsch.com.

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Magisterium 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like this book,it has a lot of magic and monsters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch is an exceptional mix of sci-fi and fantasy. It follows the main character, Glenn, as she is chased out of her technology advanced community into a community where she is completely out of her element. She learns about her family, her love, and most importantly, herself.  The length of this book is fairly decent. It  is long enough to fit in all the details that the reader needs. It doesn’t have unnecessary details though, which makes it enticing and prevents skimming.  It is also short enough to finish reading in a few consistent sittings.   The plot of the story is quite fanciful and because of that I enjoyed it. It was one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while, introducing many elements that aren’t usually overdone in sci-fi books. The mix between magic and science is craftily put together, melding to create an unique world unlike any I’ve heard before. The magic in the book is explained exquisitely, making me wish I had an affinity as Glenn had. All the characters acted in true human form, which I enjoyed because usually characters seem a little fake to me. There was love, adventure, magic, and science fiction so this book helps tantalize all book lover’s taste buds.  The ending to me seemed incomplete. I have yet to hear of a sequel for Hirsch's book which would be highly disappointing. The ending leaves many loose ends that a sequel could tie up but by themselves almost ruins the book.  In hopes that Hirsch is going to make a sequel, I will recommend this book even for the lackluster ending. The length of the book is bearable without being too simple. I think the plot is just genius, putting elements and scenarios not normally read about. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss your hand and put this on three different books. Look under your pillow
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
On one side of the Rift is the Colloquium with its technological advances and complacent society. Everything is as it should be. The world makes sense. Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life--staring through the forest at the bright, red lights marking the border between the Colloquium and somewhere else. Kevin Kapoor tells her that the other side of the Rift is filled with magic and mutants--wolf-like creatures and maybe even witches. Glenn doesn't have time for magic. Or Kevin Kapoor. Ever since her mother disappeared ten years ago, Glenn's life has taken on a singular focus: get good grades, join the Deep Space Service, travel across the universe to planet 813 and get the hell away from everything and everyone else in her life. Her father hates the idea. But her father has been a shadow of himself since Mom disappeared--wasting away as he works on the mysterious Project that he might never finish. Except he does finish; building something that looks more like a piece of jewelry than a piece of technology with the potential to change everything on both sides of the Rift. Entrusted with the Project, chased by Authority, all of Glenn's plans for the future become irrelevant as she and Kevin are forced to run with only one place left to hide in Magisterium (2012) by Jeff Hirsch. Magisterium is Jeff Hirsch's second novel (following his debut The Eleventh Plague). Magisterium is a satisfying blend of fantasy and science fiction as Hirsch blends together the best elements of both to create a unique, exciting story. I hesitate to give too much away but Hirsch has conjured two dramatically different worlds on either side of the Rift to create a strong, evocative setting. As the story progresses the land itself seems to become a character in the novel as Glenn and Kevin learn more about what lies on the other side of the Rift. Glenn is a conflicted heroine, forced to negotiate between her own agenda and the tasks that circumstance have forced upon her. She is also strong, grounded and determined--all nice qualities to find in a character. She is accompanied by several great characters throughout the story--notably Kevin Kapoor who is funny, cheerful and stalwart even in the face of Glenn's feigned indifference making them a great pair to read about. Hirsch's writing is also excellent as he creates a gripping, exciting story. Sometimes there is almost too much action between the dramatic chases and dangers across the Rift. In the midst of all that, Magisterium also raises interesting questions about family and the ideas of unconditional love, home, and even the nature of friendship as almost everything Glenn trusts is stripped away. I also have to say, I love Jeff Hirsch for writing stand alone novels. It's so refreshing when everything seems to be part of a series or have some kind of cliffhanger. Magisterium is a nicely contained story with action, magic and some very difficult decisions as Glenn realizes that after some choices there is no road home. Highly recommended for readers looking to transition into the fantasy or science fiction genres. Possible Pairings: The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi, False Memory by Dan Krokos, Sabriel by Garth Nix, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld *This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012*
EverAfterEsther More than 1 year ago
Magisterium is a portal fantasy book, which if done well usually ends up being REALLY GOOD. I was especially interested in this one because there’s a fantasy world on one side, and more of a dystopian world on the other which I think is a fascinating and fantastic blend of genres. Unfortunately, I found Magisterium largely lacking in regards to both characters and its world. I had hoped for more, but found myself struggling with it for the most part as it didn’t deliver in either area to my liking. Reason to Read: 1. Two richly complex worlds – one dystopian, one fantasy: I could marvel at the creativity Jeff Hirsch exemplified here for hours. I was astounded at the uniqueness of the setting his book was set in. It is totally unlike anything I have ever read, with people with special abilities, creatures that blend the lines between animal and human, and some so beautiful yet twisted into something dark. I’d love to explore the Magisterium all on its own. We don’t get much of a glance at Glenn’s home, but we experience enough of it to recognize it as a fairly dark dystopian world.  However, the main problems for me were that I didn’t get to experience enough of the world building as I would like to better understand the story and its circumstances and that the characters were not developed or likable enough for me to be invested in their story. Glenn was too cold and distant, which I can understand given her past, but a story told from the first person narrative should give me more of a glimpse at their vulnerability and I’d like to see them break through it. Perhaps that’s a personal preference of mine, but I didn’t enjoy Glenn for that reason. Likewise I felt Kevin’s sudden change in demeanor to be completely unlike how he had come across earlier on in the book. And he only became more distant as the story moved, again leaving me with very little to root for. I need to care about the characters to care about the setting and therefore the story. I didn’t care about anything that much, and as a result I felt completely disconnected from the book. Which is unfortunate because I was extremely curious about the world it featured. Review copy received from Scholastic Canada; no other compensation was received.
dnabgeek More than 1 year ago
This was the perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy. It has been a long time since i read something this original. This one really needs to get some more love!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I might read this book its on my list of books to read cuz i need some books to read i might choose the book but if u guys want a really good book to read then choose the rangers aprentice amazing books!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You got the basic concept from rifts rpg, diddent you