Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

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Another book about a Wizarding school?

The beginning of this novel definitely has similarities to the other very famous Wizardry School and weirdly the author’s other fictional character: about a private investigator down on his luck, but  I thought the twist in the tail, that of a ‘non wizard‘  being summoned to investigate a ‘magic murder‘ was original and imaginative.

Ivy is a Private Investigator, who fills her time following unfaithful husbands and wives, until she is tasked with solving a murder of a teacher at a wizard school. One that her twin sister (who happens to have magic powers that Ivy does not possess), also teaches at. The plot thickens as Ivy tries hard to unravel the complex deception of both students and staff alongside her own feelings from childhood and her turbulent relationship with her sister.

Sadly the description and characters are not as in depth as I would have liked. The first incident (pivotal to the plot) with Ivy, the protagonist and a mugger just lacked clarity and I had to re-read it a couple of times to understand what had happened.

The majority of the narrative was slow, I found myself becoming impatient and I felt that a large part of the book had no relevance to the plot at all. All together it lacked interest and suspense. Ivy and Rhoul were the most interesting characters with the most depth and the reader were given snippets of their personality.

The rest of the characters were however vague, but had the potential to have been more interesting, adding suspense to the story. Ivy’s sister Tabitha for example: could have been more feisty, emotional and complex. She had the potential to have a more pivotal role, especially with Ivy.

The conclusion was predictable and sadly it lacked the thrill of the chase and suspense. It felt like Gailey hadn’t tied all the loose threads together and I was left wondering what actually happened to some of the other characters at the stories conclusion; which was both disappointing and frustrating.

I was a little disappointed reading this book, it could have been so much more interesting if the individuals were written in more detail, with more depth and the plot had more convoluted thrills and suspense. I think the author could have trying a little too hard, which then lacked innovation and excitement.

Magic for Liars is published by Tor and is available here.

Review by Amanda Brightman 

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