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On May 5th, 2023, a huge explosion changes the world forever. The Rift kills millions and creates a huge wasteland, forcing the survivors into a limited livable area of land. At least that’s what the government tells their citizens for the next hundred and thirty years. Now science rules the government, religion is banished and absolutely no one crosses the border. But one scientist doesn’t believe what the government is saying. He believes that his wife originally came from the other side, and that’s where she returned to when she went missing ten years ago. He has dedicated his life to finding a way to cross the border and bring back his missing wife. In doing so, he basically ignores all other aspects of his life, including eating, sleeping and his sixteen-year-old daughter, Glenn.

"Hirsch does a wonderful job forcing readers to discover the answers to the many mystifying questions themselves, never giving away the secrets for free."

Glenn is a scientist like her father, though unlike her father, she does believe the government’s words. There is nothing across the border but a wasteland, and her mother left them, simple though painful as it may be. Glenn’s dream is to join the academy and travel across the universe to the outpost created on the newly discovered planet, 813. She’ll miss her dad, of course, and her only friend, Kevin, but this is her goal and ambition. Besides, she’ll take her beloved cat, Hopkins, with her for company.

But then her father completes his invention: a bracelet that allows a person from this side of the border to cross to the other side while retaining the rules of this side, sort of like an astronaut wearing a spacesuit. Glenn is heartbroken, thinking her father has gone completely crazy and even talks to her therapist about getting some help for him. But then the authorities find out about the invention and they close in fast. Her dad forces the bracelet onto his daughter’s arm and she runs for her life across the border. Glenn discovers that the government has indeed been lying to them all. What lies across the border is absolutely magical…and extremely deadly. Glenn stumbles across her missing mother, and into the middle of a war.

Jeff Hirsch is known for his debut novel, THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE, and now he’s offering up his second amazing adventure. MAGISTERIUM is a distinctive fantasy that follows science-minded Glenn as she explores a magical land, and discovers she is more involved with the ensuing war than she could ever have imagined. Hirsch does a wonderful job forcing readers to discover the answers to the many mystifying questions themselves, never giving away the secrets for free. He uses strikingly vivid details to paint magical images and keeps the pages flying with high impact action. He also introduces some compelling themes, including religion verses science, and differences between neighboring societies. MAGISTERIUM is clever and unique and a definite winner! Fans will be eagerly awaiting more from this talented author!

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on October 19, 2012

by Jeff Hirsch

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2012
  • Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 054529018X
  • ISBN-13: 9780545290180