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Magic for Liars

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  145 ratings  ·  57 reviews
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 fac
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: June 4th 2019 by Tor
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  • Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
    Magic for Liars
    Release date: Jun 04, 2019
    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 a

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 50 copies available, 4260 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Apr 08 - Apr 29, 2019

    Countries available: U.S. and Canada

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    Sarah Gailey No, Magic for Liars is a standalone. :)

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    4.11  · 
    Rating details
     ·  145 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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    Elise (TheBookishActress)
    Sep 27, 2017 marked it as releases-2019
    "The Magicians meets Tana French" so hey I haven't actually read either but both sound like My Shit(TM) so yeah this needs to release and be in my hands immediately please serve w morally black characters
    Janet Newport
    Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan/Tor-Forge for this arc.

    I wish I enjoyed this read more than I did. It sounded like it would be right up my alley. But it just missed out for me. I was so irritated with Ivy's self pity through out the book, that I was tempted to give up by 37%. I found it to be a slow read as it lacked the tension I usually find in murder mysteries and I had a tough time connecting to any of the characters. There was plenty of teenage angst and drama (as expected for a story set
    Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Books that are billed as “like The Magicians” are never like The Magicians in the right ways for me, but this is both like The Magicians in that “magic is actually kind of weird and gross and real” way, and it’s a compelling whodunnit besides. The solution was perhaps a tad obvious, but the emotional weight with which the mystery is treated–it is deeply rooted in the characters’ past traumas and dysfunctions and insecurities–made that matter less. The narrative voice is arresting, and the noir a ...more
    Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!

    This book was a fun, interesting read, and a book that managed to successfully combine multiple interests of mine into a coherent narrative!

    Ivy Gamble is a messy protagonist, which might put some readers off but made me like and understand her. She has a lot of problems she hasn't dealt with, her life never went according to plan, and now she's being asked to investigate a murder at a magical academy--the same academy where her gifted twin Tabitha teaches. And it
    Harry Jahnke
    Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I loved this book. I love the premise, I love the mystery, I love the twist at the end, this book is great. Good for mystery lovers, good for fantasy lovers, good for people who enjoy a story you just can't put down. Magic for Liars has everything; murder, romance, teen drama, sisterly bonding, trauma healing, everything. Can't recommend this enough.
    Sarah Hollowell
    Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 2018, favorites
    idk how the H E C K I'm expected to survive until this comes out and plenty of other people will be reading it which means plenty of other people will be available to scream with
    Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A thrilling, thoughtful, funny, cutting, and heartbreaking mystery. Like Harry Potter meets Mean Girls by way of Broadchurch.
    Melinda Beatty
    Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Whodunit meets the Magicians by way of gritty noir and Jodi Picoult. A huge pleasure--effortless character building and a very believable world. This one's going to blow up!
    Wade Badda
    Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    From the minute I picked up the book I felt like it was written just for me. I spent the next few days totally absorbed in the world Gailey created. Her words wove a story that kept me guessing until the very end not only about the murder but about the limits and advantages of the magic she was creating. It was refreshing to see a magic world from the eyes of an outsider looking in. Someone not trying to learn but to just understand. She delved deep into the feelings of inadequacy we all feel wh ...more
    I have mixed feelings about this one. I decided to give it a shot despite not being into murder mysteries because it sounded super interesting (a non magical private investigator is asked to solve the murder of a teacher at the magical academy where her estranged sister works), and there are a lot of things I really liked about it.

    The setup is great, obviously, and the writing is top notch. It's snappy and well-crafted, really giving a nice feel to this P.I. story without ever going too ham on i
    Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    4.5 stars. I devoured this novel, perfect for fans of the Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman. Ivy and her sister Tabitha are twins. However, Tabitha is magic, and Ivy is not. More than a decade since they've talked to each other, PI Ivy is hired to investigate the death of a teacher at the magical high school Tabitha teaches at. Ivy is likeable and real and has a lot of sister issues. She's also clever and determined to figure out what happened at Tabby's school filled with privileged, magical yo ...more
    Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Read for Book Riot Reader Harder Challenge: A novel by a trans or nonbinary author
    Seth Turner
    Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Murder mystery at magic school. High school clique drama. Engrossing noir detective inner monologues. Tough as nails detective. Twins reuniting from an estranged relationship. Secrets around every corner. If any or all these thoughts entice you, you’ll enjoy this debut by Sarah Gailey.
    Written with balance and humor, Gailey writes in a believable manner that keeps you wanting more. She opens it with a traditional scene of a gruesome murder and then develops the main character with ease. Using tr
    Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This book is seriously so good. Ivy is an amazing protagonist. Her emotions are so real and relatable. Her relationship with her sister and to this world of magic she isn't a part of are extremely compelling, as is the system of magic that Gailey has created. I'm fascinated by this world and I would love a whole detective series starring Ivy solving crimes in the mage community. Bonus points for a cute, realistic romance subplot.
    Anna Eklund
    Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I want to be friends with Sarah Gailey.

    I love the way they view the world. From alternate history featuring heists and hippos to a new take on the "chosen one" trope that turns all detective tropes on various heads and asses: I am there for all of it.

    Ivy Gamble is a hard-drinking, no-qualms private investigator from the gritty part of town. She is approached by the headmaster of an elite magic academy to investigate the death of one of the teachers there (who was found, you know, in the Theoret
    I am so excited for everyone to read this, wow wow wow wow wow.

    Every reader I have ever been, from the 12-year-old whose favorite writer was Raymond Chandler to the tired lady who tries hard every day, loves everything about this book. Incisive on so many levels and a sheer joy to read.
    Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    Really good in unexpected ways - this isn’t so much a fantasy novel as it is a detective novel that tackles identity issues and has magic in it.
    Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This book presents as (urban fantasy) noir: a private investigator, who drinks too much to cope with her loneliness and alienation, is given the opportunity to move up from adulterous spouses and work on an actual murder mystery, at the magical school where her estranged twin sister teaches.

    She insists she's fine with the fact that her sister has magic and she doesn't. I spent some of the time nearly believing her, and I think she spent some of the time nearly believing herself. She's a deeply
    Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
    4.5 stars– I’d read this one described as “Tana French meet The Magicians”– and well, I’ve never read The Magicians, but swap that out for a grittier, Americanized, post-Harry Hogwartsian murder mystery, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect with this book.

    Somehow, Sarah Gailey manages to build an entirely believable, magical world all the while hooking you into a grisly schoolyard murder. Peppered with compelling backstories, family dynamics, a slightly-unlikeable-but-root-worthy pro
    Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I enjoyed it! But I felt for a mystery there weren't enough reader clues? I guess thats how it works sometimes. But it was kinda a run around between 3 characters and not enough solid evidence to have me believe it was any of them except character personalities and troupes. But it was a fun read

    (I also thought the romance was a little out of place? It didn't add much to the story and it felt very sudden. I don't think it hurt the story, but i think it helped either)
    Nadia Carrim
    Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I read this whole book in one 7-hour burst!! It was so good. This is a great magic school murder mystery. Similar to The Magicians, but told from a detective’s perspective.
    Leah (Jane Speare)
    Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
    If you're in the mood for something odd, maybe with dark humor, some late night bar-visiting, and magic spells gone wrong, this book literally has it all. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up, but it continued to surprise me. Despite the murder-mystery plot, the dark humor side of it wins; imagine Jessica Jones falls grudgingly into the world of The Magicians, and you have the tone of Magic for Liars. It is creative and genre-breaking. A good read for the cynic as well as the daydrea ...more
    Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I'm looking forward to the publication of this debut as I loved Gailey's novellas collected in AMERICAN HIPPO. This novel is part fantasy part mystery and reminded me of what I love most about fiction-- it doesn't have to fit in any single box. This is a thoughtful story that, at it's heart, is about family, the complexities of love, and growth. It's dark but not violent and would be a good first fantasy for readers who don't usually gravitate toward that genre. I loved Gailey's concept of magic ...more
    Mariana Calderon
    Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I loved this book!
    It's got a bitterness to it; it's dark and smart and full of magical suspense -- but it's still full of wonder. I loved Ivy's voice, completely and utterly okay with her sister Tabitha being magical, and also just such a liar, to herself and to everyone around her - sometimes for the job, sometimes for her own (questionable) well-being.
    I loved the mystery and the twist and the oh-so-privileged young mages who are even scarier than normal teenagers. I loved the magical theory
    Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    One of those books where finishing it feels like coming up for air, because the world & the characters pull you in so much, and it's all fascinating & the book is really good but something about it is strange in a way that it's maybe a little bit suffocating. You know?
    Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: arc, favorites
    Magic for Liars is Sarah Gailey’s answer to detective noir, murder mysteries, and magical schools, and from the moment I heard of it, it’s been one of my most anticipated books of the year. In anticipation, I’ve spent this year reading all of Gailey’s work that I could get my hands on and, much like their short fiction and novellas, Magic for Liars is cleverly written, darkly humorous, brilliantly insightful, and impossible to put down.

    Gailey casts their own spell with the premise alone: privat
    Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I'm typically not a noir (or murder) fan, but the magic element got me a little intrigued, so I decided to give this a try. Got pleasantly transported to a magical high school, with some fun twists and turns and some really wonderful weirdness.

    The magic in this story is subdued, focusing more on the mystery and relationships, but the magic that was present was weirdrously imaginative. Gailey's got a funky, descriptive angle on the magical realm and hey girl honestly if you're reading this can we
    I really liked this one. Ivy Gamble is a PI who has no magical abilities, unlike her estranged twin Tabitha. When there's a murder at the (magic) school Tabitha teaches at, Ivy is hired to investigate, and she has to confront her feelings of inadequacy and grief over the way her life has gone. I liked Ivy - she's really relatable - and both the mystery and the setting are nicely developed. Mrs Webb, the school secretary, in particular, is fascinating, and I liked the way the students and teacher ...more
    Coreena McBurnie
    Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Magic for Liars was a fun read, complete with a protagonist, Ivy, who is a hot mess and has to investigate a brutal murder at the exclusive school for magic where her estranged twin sister works.
    I enjoyed the world that Gailey created and how she merged magic into the everyday world and even explained how it worked. I also loved how the teenagers were teenagers, despite their magical ability. Her writing is lovely and is full of vivid descriptions.
    Ivy is a great character — fallible, self doubti
    Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
    2.5 disappointment-laden stars.

    I wanted to like this SO much. I loved the American Hippo books. The concept for this was exceptional. And it was touted as being a cross between The Magicians and Tana French.

    Unfortunately, the book failed to live up to the premise it set up. While it simmered with potential almost right up to the end, the story often felt flat, the plot had a lot of threads that never quite knit together properly, and worst of all, the "solve" was a complete cop-out (and an overu
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