3.6 9
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

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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 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

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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

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