Google+ Reading Teen: {Guest Review} Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Friday, February 15, 2013

{Guest Review} Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

by Jeff Hirsch
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2012)
Language: English
Buy the book: Amazon
Mark on Goodreads
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.
At a Glance:

The cover of this book is spectacular; it is actually my most favorite book cover to date. But, depressingly, the pages in-between the beautiful cover are just boring. Empty. Magisterium seemed full of promise, built on great ideas, but it was seriously lacking in, well, something.


There was a decent amount of action in this book. You know, lots of running and fighting and people getting saved and people getting killed. I wouldn’t describe it as really violent, though.


There was a minor amount of romance.  More than nothing, but it wasn’t much of something. I probably would have been totally annoyed if there was absolutely nothing, especially as it is set-up to seem like there will be at least some type of romance- You know, a girl and a guy (who are already best friends) go on a traumatic journey together. So surely some love triangle or romance will begin to bud, right?

Thankfully, yes.  There was some sort of vague relationship going on in the book to make it slightly more interesting than Magisterium, well, wasn’t.


Glenn was just okay. I wasn’t fascinated with her, but I liked her independent, strong spirit. She was admirable in that she was willing to sacrifice herself when using her freaky powers to help others. I also thought it was pretty cool that she was a scientific smart chick and able to reverse-engineer.

Glenn totally had mommy issues, but that was okay because that would probably be normal if your mom disappeared on you when you were a little kid. But, this type of book character seems so overused. You know, the stereotypical main character teenager in duress because of the missing parent.

Favorite Supporting Character:

By far I loved Aamon, the sorta protector/guide in the story. He was just so tough and loyal to Glenn. And I totally thought he was such a cool and unique invention of a fantasy character. I never really figured out his whole story and what made him tick. But that is okay, because he was more real, as in that he had depth, than any of the other characters. He was bittersweet, being both sorrowful and purposeful.

Something I loved:

The author was really creative in that he mixed a dystopian/sci-fi world with a fantasy world. I was pretty excited to see how that turned out, because I am trying to write a story like that.  Honestly, there was a myriad of creative ideas in the book. The were unique characters and a world I loved. The concept of the book was seriously excellent.

Something I hated:

But, although the creative ideas for this book are superb, it is just plain boring. I thought it was just me, until I looked at other reviews and most of us have the same conclusion: we love the elements and building blocks of the book, but there is something lacking in the story to make it interesting.

Honestly, I don’t even know what is missing. How can I not know that? It’s not like nothing was happening. There was always something happening. So what was so boring about it? Maybe I just didn’t connect with the characters?

It was like when you are hanging out with a group of friends with a TV on quietly in the background. You can see the characters running around, shooting at each other, or singing in competitions, or whatever. It doesn’t matter what show it is, it just isn’t engaging and fun like hanging out with your BFFs is.

I kinda hated this book, if only because I should have been captivated by it.  But I just wasn’t. It was like watching muted TV.

Would I recommend it?

No. Not at all.  I think Jeff Hirsch should take his great ideas and re-write Magisterium entirely.

By Elisa (@AverageAdvocate) at
“Inspiring the average American to change the world.”


  1. Thanks for this review. It's really too bad, because I was so looking forward to reading this! I was anticipating something set in a world similar to the one Garth Nix created in his Abhorsen trilogy (which I LOVE) ... except more futuristic. But it sounds like it was a total let-down! boo!

  2. Just wanted to say, I'm glad that you were willing to write such a thoughtful review for a book you ended up disliking. A lot of people will only post a review for books they really enjoyed, but I think we need to know when people dislike books too.

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