Book Review – Magic For Liars

Title: Magic For Liars

Author: Sarah Gailey

Publisher: Tor

Publication date: June 4th, 2019

336 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

Review

I recently read Sarah Gailey’s newest book, When We Were Magic, and LOVED it. I wanted to read another book of theirs because I loved their writing style, so I chose Magic For Liars. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it as much as When We Were Magic, but it was pretty good.

Ivy Gamble is a Private Investigator who is being tasked with a murder investigation at her twin sister’s magic school. Ivy herself has no magical abilities (a fact that she tries desperately not to be salty about). There’s no love lost between her and a her sister, but she is itching to break out of the cheating husband’s game and work her first murder investigation. When the plans goes anything but personally, Ivy has to figure out in who’s best interest it is for her to solve the case…

One GIANT pro to Sarah Gailey’s writing is the level of absurdity that I’ve noticed in the first chapter. They throw something so completely mind-blowing and shocking in that you end up being instantly hooked. In this book, it is how the women who was murdered, was murdered. It is insanely interesting to me how they hook readers, so I will continue to go back for more.

Sarah’s writing style is also very trippy and it flows spectacularly well. The descriptions and care taken to bring the reader to really get a visual of what’s happening is prime and very much appreciated. The plot structure is easy to hold onto and creates a natural rhythm. Also, the mystery aspect of the book wasn’t super easy to figure out. The storyline keeps you guessing as new clues emerge.

However. I did not connect with Ivy as a character at all. She came across, to me, petty and self serving. She wasn’t particularly redeemable as she lied to her love interest, and only connected with her sister in order to get information about the murdered woman. Also, I would have loved to understand the magic system more. To be clear, the magic system was by no means the central aspect of the plot, in fact it didn’t have much to do with it until the end since Ivy is nonmagical. But I always love a story with a clearly defined and explained magic system.

For those reasons, I didn’t enjoy Magic For Liars as much as I had hoped to. I’m positive there are others who will immensely enjoy it for the reasons that I did not, which is one of the great parts of this community!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – When We Were Magic

Title: When We Were Magic

Author: Sarah Gailey

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication date: March 3rd, 2020

352 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A moving, darkly funny novel about six teens whose magic goes wildly awry from Magic for Liars author Sarah Gailey, who Chuck Wendig calls an “author to watch.” 

Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

Review

**Thank you to Netgalley, Simon Pulse, and Sarah Gailey for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Okay. I’m gonna be honest. I was not prepared for the first chapter of this book. Now, this will not be a spoiler, because again, this is just the first chapter. So the MC, Alexis, was trying to hook up with a guy at the after party of Prom. In the process, she made his penis explode. EXPLODE. And it killed it him. So she calls in her best friends, who are mostly UNFAZED. THEN, Alexis announces she made it explode with MAGIC.

And that is literally just the first chapter. I don’t remember the last time that I was so intrigued by the start of a book! And it just got so much better after that. I loved everything about When We Were Magic. The friendship between the MC’s, the magic, the plot, the diversity… everything.

Let’s start with the characters. Each has their own personality and they are a tight group of friends. They all are magical and work together to try and figure their magic out. Also, I love that the magic system is so free flowing, without real known rules. Most fantasy novels have a magic system that is known whereas the character in When We Were Magic found each other casually and have to experiment to learn what they can do. There is no magic school, or teachers, or book of spells to learn from which means they have to be independent.

The plot moved along SO WELL. Information was provided at just the right moment to keep you in suspense while also making it interesting. It flowed well and the writing was great. I loved the romance, and the fact that there was queer witches is something I am HERE FOR. The ending was not what I expected and that’s okay.

Seriously, y’all go put this book on your TBR because it will not disappoint.

Happy reading, folks!