MAGIC FOR LIARS
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Urban Fantasy, Murder Mystery
REPRESENTATION: Queer Secondary Character
For fans of: Hogwarts, if they brought in detectives when bodies started to pile up, instead of leaving it to 12-year-olds.
Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.
But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
When I read the summary description of Magic for Liars, I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy it. After all, it combines a few of my favourite things: a magical boarding school, a noir-style detective story and some complicated sibling dynamics. I absolutely loved how it all came together!
I really loved the way the magic was used. Because it’s all new to Ivy, we can to really feel the wonder of it, but we also get really decent explanations because she’s a detective, right? So she’s always asking questions. I really liked how the magic had seeped into every aspect of the students lives. I liked how blase and casual they were with it. The familiarity-breeds-contempt felt really realistic and I loved that the kids were equally likely to be sending magical origami post-its as they were text messages. One of my favourite things in urban fantasies is when the magical and mundane aspects feel perfectly blended: magical graffiti and pranks gave this feeling perfectly.
Ivy’s an interesting character. I loved how flawed she was and how unapologetic Gailey is about it. She can be jealous and untruthful, but she’s also really vulnerable and I really felt a connection to her. The relationships she develops over the story, both romantic and sibling, are messy and imperfect. I really like the way the relationship with Tabby resolved — it’s the kind of flawed, imperfect hero moment that I adore — but I’d love to see more of what happened with her burgeoning romance.
Magic for Liars is a standalone but if Gailey ever decides to go back and add a sequel, I’d be thrilled to find out where Ivy goes from here.
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