Saturday, November 13, 2021

Book Review: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars

Sarah Gailey
Publication: Tor Books (June 4, 2019)

Description: Sharp, mainstream fantasy meets compelling thrills of investigative noir in Magic for Liars, a fantasy debut by rising star Sarah Gailey.

Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.

Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.

She doesn't in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.

Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

My Thoughts: Ivy Gamble tells this story. She is a PI who mostly tracks down cheating spouses or those who are defrauding insurance companies. When the Headmaster of the Osthorne Academy for Young Mages comes to hire her to look into the gruesome death of one of the teachers, Ivy is intrigued but definitely feeling out of her depth. Worst of all, her estranged sister Tabitha is a teacher at the school.

Their estrangement started when it was discovered that Tabitha had magic and Ivy had none, and grew even wider when their mother died of a fast-acting cancer while Ivy was home caring for her and Tabitha was happily away at her school. Ivy's mother's death happened when she was a junior in High School and almost caused her to flunk out. It started her on a path to her career as a PI instead of attending college and joining the FBI. 

Ivy hopes that she will be able to reconcile and build some sort of relationship with her sister since she feels very alone and isolated. Ivy is a loner because, in her opinion, everyone leaves sooner rather than later. She aches for connection but doesn't know how to form connections.

As she looks into the death of the teacher, she learns more about the world of magic and meets a number of the students and staff of the school who might, or might not, know something that will help her discover the murderer. She learns that kids are just kids despite the fact that they have magic. There are mean girls and all the traumas of adolescence. She even begins to form a relationship with one of the teachers in the school. However, since she's lying to him about having magical ability herself, the relationship struggles. 

This was an intriguing story with an interesting main character complete with major flaws and insecurities. It is also told in the first person by that main character which leads to wondering about the veracity of her point of view. I found it an absorbing story.

Favorite Quote:
The thing about me is, I let things go. I let people go. I don't know how to hang on to them--I try, but I hold too tight or not tight enough or something in between and they go. They always go.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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