Release: October 1, 2012
Source: the publisher
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
I read Hirsch's The Eleventh Plague last summer, loved it, and even got my advanced copy signed at the 2011 Decatur Book Festival. So naturally, I was pretty excited to read Hirsch's sophomore book - Magisterium, due out in a week from Scholastic.
Glenn has lived by "the rift," her whole life. She lives in a modern world, but she's told never to cross that line marked by red lights, that who knows what terrible things lay on the other side. Glenn is content to live her life, believing only what she sees and not believing what her friend Kevin says - that there's magic on the other side, a whole other world. When Glenn's father, a mysterious inventor/scientist is wanted by the authorities, Glenn finds herself fleeing to the other side with Kevin with a special bracelet her father made. It's there she'll find things beyond her wildest imagination.
Magisterium is a post-apocalytpic dystopian that slowly morphs into a fantasy. It might seem like a lot of genres, but they all work very well together and I think this will make Magisterium appealing to almost any young-adult reader. I really found the double-world in Magisterium interesting. Glenn grew up on one side of the forest and blinking red lights, where children are essentially told there are scary things on the other side, never go there. Meanwhile, those on the other side are told the same thing! This idea of "polarization," as the author puts it, was very intriguing. Not only do these groups of people live, not knowing anything about each other at all, but Glenn also finds herself in her own little polarized world. On the one hand, Glenn takes everything as she sees it but on the other hand, her best friend, Kevin, and her father, believe there's much more to their world than what they see.
I don't think it's a spoiler to say Glenn was wrong and Kevin was right. Glenn and Kevin have such a great dynamic in Magisterium. They're best friends and while Kevin wants something more, I never got the impression that Glenn did. To see them interact throughout the novel was fantastic; their relationship was complicated and realistic and was one of my favorite parts of the novel.
Magisterium isn't just a book about dueling worlds, mystical creatures and magic, however. It's also very much so a story about the importance of family. Glenn's mother disappeared when she was a young girl and even though Glenn believed that was it, her father believed there was more to it, that she was still out there and could be found. I loved how much Glenn cared for her father. While she was making plans for her future in the beginning of the novel, she also wanted to be sure her father would be cared for in her absence. It was very sweet.
Three stars. I really did enjoy Magisterium, but I didn't love it as much as The Eleventh Plague. I loved the plot and the ideas behind the plot of family and polarization, but I found parts of the novel to be a tad confusing. I highly recommend this one to fantasy fans, though, I think you'll really enjoy it.