Saturday, 10 August 2013

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Published: October 1st 2012
Publisher:Scholastic Press
Website: Author's Website

*Mild Spoilers, mostly for comic relief!

Glenn is different. She’s so smart she has the paperwork to skip a grade and go directly to a prestigious institution that will train her to travel to planet 813 and help colonize it. Instead of bonding with her peers, she looks at star maps on her tablet. Or she takes care of her father, a wraith of a man, who is obsessed with building some kind of machine. He is this way because their mother walked out on them 10 years ago. This is linked to a boarder around their land, the Colloquium, dividing it from a wasteland called the Rift. As it turns out, many people believe that there is more to this wasteland than the government is telling them. Glenn’s father’s project propels Glenn, and her conspiracy theory enthusiast friend named Kevin, into a land that shouldn’t exist.
See that introduction? Save yourself 310 pages and fill in the gaps. Whatever you imagine, it will probably be more interesting and convincing than what Hirsch wrote.
Well, ok, I’ll go into more detail about this book, if you insist.

For a book that is 310 pages, not a lot happens. It is like The Lord of The Rings-there is a lot of walking, a lot of talking, and a lot of empty space. A lot of me wondering how long it will take me to finish this so I can get on to Sever.
Like Velveteen the blurb doesn’t adequately describe what is actually in the book. The blurb on the dust jacket does not describe the magic world they go to. I’m not much for magical themes in books (with a few exceptions, of course), and the blurb hints at the possibility, but I argue that it doesn’t adequately describe the complete transportation to a world that is similar (to put it in simple terms) to The Lord of the Rings world of swords and sorcery.
From the dust jacket of the edition that I have, it sounds like a government is being evil (of course!) and two teens are doing…stuff to fight the government. Yay.  
But it’s not like that. Anyway, moving on…
Without giving too much away, the author gives us some of the stupidest justifications for doing whatever she decides that I have ever read.
It would have been far more interesting if Glenn fought the stigma of having a mentally ill-but genius-father, and got to go to planet 813 with her cat Hopkins.

Action Scenes
There’s some action. Lots of people get shot. By the end of the book there are so many injuries I just didn’t care, and the characters stopped reacting appropriately to what is being done to them. That irks me to no end. In the beginning, someone is shot, they almost die, and they are encumbered by this injury for a long time. Good, good, all clear here. Then people are thrown about, ribs broken, almost drowned, bashed, shot with arrows, shot with poisonous darts, etc. What happens? Everybody just brushes it off like a boss. EXCEPT they are not a boss, or bosses. These are people who just stopped feeling pain…because. Because the author wanted action scenes but not the after effects of injuries. Hasn’t he ever watched Dragon Ball Z? Goku goes to the hospital because you know what hurts? Fighting.  

Good Guys VS Bad Guys
            This story is about politics, not good and evil. I hate it when books try to make you feel like everything is so clean cut. It’s my problem with Final Fantasy XII-it’s all politics, but just because one side is an advanced empire, you’re supposed to hate them. No, that’s not how reality works. Just because one side has technology and guns, and one side has less advanced technology and magic, does not automatically make the technology and guns people bad.
             Not that this book can make the reader decide who the bad guys are. For a long time I felt like I was just supposed to hate everyone. And boy, do I hate everyone.

            I’m so smart. But I’m a little sad. Because I’m sad I’m going to take my cat and go to a distant planet so I don’t have to deal with anyone ever again.
            Oh, hey, magic. I mean, no. I like science. Magic can’t be real. Let’s not accept this fact until a little more than halfway through the book. I still think we can go back to the empire Colloquium after we destroy the one ring the bracelet in the fire of Mount Doom a blacksmithing town.   

            I am a boy. I like Glenn because. I hate the government because of conspiracy theories I read on the internet.
            I am a boy.

            I AM TOTALLY NOT A CAT.

            There’s something positive: I like the cover. Bravo *claps hands.

Perhaps it is a problem that I refuse to put down a book without finishing it. I am usually not a fan of magic themes, especially those set in medieval-ish times (I know it isn’t the case, but the Rift is devoid of technology). The blurb sold me to give it a read. I wanted to like it. The beginning had me intrigued. Going to planet 813 sounded awesome. Even the possibilities of the Rift were exciting. After that, I died inside, slowly, in agonizing pain. Overall, it was a disappointment for me. I wouldn’t recommend it to a teen reader because there are MUCH better fantasy books out there. I wouldn’t recommend it for a book club pick because of the length and the slow plot-I’m afraid that no one would finish it. I’m glad that I ordered it from my library in November of 2012 and I got it in July 2013 (sarcasm). Considering how long I waited for it, and how much I despised most of it, I am thoroughly disappointed.

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