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Magisterium - Jeff Hirsch Courtesy of Smash Attack ReadsInterest in Book: I read Jeff Hirsch's The Eleventh Plague and found it to be entertaining, but I had issues really connecting to the characters. That being said, I loved the world-building and themes in the book, and enjoyed the writing. Once I read the synopsis for Magisterium, I knew I wanted to read it and hoped for more in terms of character connections. Plus, I really had to find out what was on the other side of that fence, and I desperately wanted to know who the creepy Charlize-Theron-Evil-Queen character was on the cover. The cover is just incredible!World-Building: Holy Awesome, Batman! I was immersed in this world when the characters finally take a trip across the invisible divide. The two worlds, or realities, are extremely different in every sense of the imagination. The modern-day world is the one Glenn has been growing up in, but on the other side of the Rift, reality is far different. Once she crosses the fence, Glenn is presented with magic and mystery and creatures and mayhem. I ate it up! I loved how starkly different both realities are, and how instantaneous the change was once you crossed the barrier. And this obviously caused issues for the characters. You see, Affinity, or magic, does not work once you cross the Rift. The same goes for technology. Problematic, or life-saving, when you are being chased down by power-hungry loons!Characters: It was very hard to not like the characters in this book, and for that, I am grateful. Glenn was easy to like. She had hardship but her resiliency has led her towards a bright future. She is very studious, intelligent, and curious. She possess morals and seeks proof in her world, as any scientist would. Her father, a brilliant scientist, has lost himself in his work since her mother's disappearance many years ago. Due to her father's influence, Glenn relies on technology and proof to shape her world. None of this magic hocus pocus stuff appeals to her, though her geeky best-friend, Kevin, teases her about the possibility of such things. Kevin was a good, loyal friend, and as you can easily guess, there are some romantic tension between the two.I was quickly interested in the creature Aamon, who we meet once Glenn crosses the Rift. He appeared very protective and interested in Glenn's well-being, but I always wondered where his loyalties lie.  I think his character was the biggest surprise of all, one I was not expecting! Opal Whitley was another interesting character that really grabbed my attention. The reader's first encounter with her is eerie, but she soon morphs into a very useful character. And then, of course, we have the Magistra, the evil entity that is the driving force of this story. The scene where the reader first meets her will blow you away. Just think of that book cover in real-time. It was like out of a movie. I re-read it a few times because it was truly magnificent and eerie to experience.Lasting Impressions: Bravo, Mr. Hirsch. This was a home run for me. I was engrossed in the story and a few scenes on the magical side of the rift were truly breathtaking to experience. The pacing was great and the descriptions were fantastic. The idea of having two realities side-by-side, so very different from one another but also so dependent on and threatened by the other, was a fantastic idea and all the intricate pieces were woven together well.If you love magic, alternate realities, great world-building, eerie and intriguing characters, give Magisterium a go!