Monday, December 24, 2012

Magisterium - Review


By: Jeff Hirsch

Published: October 1st 2012 by Scholastic Press (first published January 1st 2012)

310 pages

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!)

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--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.

Most of the time when I’m going through trying to find books to add to my TBR list I read the summary, but I try not to focus so much attention to it that it becomes absorbed into my memory. I try to just retain enough information to distinguish one book from the next when it comes time to pull one off the shelf. I do this because sometimes the summaries give too much information away and I’m a huge stickler for reading and experiencing each book as it’s meant to be experienced—page by page.

That being said, I pretty much completely forgot what Magisterium was about. So when it came time to pull one off the shelf and I thought, “It’s probably time that I check that one out,” I was starting with a clean slate. In the first bit where Glenn is focused on travelling through deep space to this Earth-like planet never planning to return, I thought, “I don’t remember this being a sci-fi, space travel book”—not that I remembered much of anything about it anyway. But of course, I learned fairly quickly that this book isn’t really about space travel at all.

After the very beginning which was a little slow for me, Magisterium began to pick up speed and while I won’t say I was engrossed, I was at the very least perfectly content to just keep on reading. Though I have to say that the ending wasn’t my favorite—a wee bit too much description for my taste—and I skimmed some (though not much) of the last 30 or so pages. Magisterium was still an enjoyable read for me and it falls into the category of one that turned out better than I expected it to be.

Glenn was a decent heroine. She’s got a well-established background, and just enough pain and just enough happy memories to balance her out. I have to say that I was confused by her relationship with Kevin. It seemed that she and Kevin were barely friends from the way she describes him in the earlier parts of the book and that she barely liked him at all. Yet we find out they’ve had a near romantic moment apparently in the not too distant past and they continue to move in that direction throughout the book. It just didn’t make sense to me. Trying to convince yourself that you don’t have feelings for someone you do is completely different from acting like you’re annoyed by their very presence in your life in your own thoughts.

I liked Kevin’s character a lot though. He was exactly what a strong, supporting man should be—firm and comfortable with himself, yet feeling and emotional when needed. Kevin had his own ideas about the future and he was strong enough to follow his own path no matter what Glenn decided to do with hers. Not to mention that he pretty much almost died for Glenn in the beginning and that makes him even more endearing.

Speaking of likable characters, Ammon pretty much took the prize in this category for me. Werewolves, I’m used to. Other were-creatures (though I don’t find as believable) and shape-shifters, all of that falls into the paranormal stuff I’ve read before. Human-like cat people, not so much. Plus you truly don’t know what to think about Ammon. He seems like a good guy, but so many other characters tell Glenn not to trust him. In the end, Glenn has to make up her own mind about which side Ammon fits on.

Ultimately this was a good read. I wasn’t blow away, but I didn’t find myself wanting to put it down too often either. Magisterium gets 3 stars from me. Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know!

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