Review – Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Sarah Gailey - Magic for Liars (June 2019)detail
Magic For Liars
  • Writing - 9/10
  • Development - 8/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
User Review
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Review – Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey


Magic for Liars is the latest novel from Sarah Gailey, and it is out of this world. Not literally, though it is a world full of magic, wonders, and murders. Oh wait, one of those shouldn’t be here, should it?

This is a standalone novel, but there is so much to it. It’s as if Sarah Gailey took the world of Harry Potter and mashed it together with a thrilling tale of a private investigator. It’s magical, it’s dark, and it’s got so many twists and turns.

Magic for Liars follows Ivy Gamble – a private investigator with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. She’s relatively content with her job. That is right up until she’s offered an opportunity to investigate a murder at her sister’s private school. Oh, and did I mention the private school is a school for mages? Because that’s kind of important.

There were a lot of things I found myself loving about this novel, and I’ll take the time to explain as many of them as possible. I promise. I will say now that what really drew me in were all the flips and twists involving a magical school and the expectations that come with it (thanks to Harry Potter, of course).


Sarah Gailey - Magic for Liars (June 2019)
Sarah Gailey – Magic for Liars (June 2019)

Magic for Liars is this fascinating blend of whimsy and darkness. It combines the happier tones of a world full of magic, with the darker elements inherent in a murder mystery. Sarah Gailey did a wonderful job of blending these two genres into one unique story.

The writing for this novel was spot on. It was constantly trying to portray a feeling like Ivy was just on the cusp of discovery. In turn, it constantly felt like I could put the pieces of the puzzle together if I just paid enough attention. I loved that about this book.

Ivy’s complex situation with her sister and her attempts to solve a mystery in a world she doesn’t belong in made this novel surprisingly emotional. But it didn’t take away from the plot at all, instead, it further enhanced it.

My biggest complaint about Magic for Liars is that it ended too soon. I would have happily kept reading for another hour or two. And I would have happily read more about this world, or Ivy and how she fares in it.


The pacing in Magic for Liars was perfect. There was always something going on – even if sometimes we couldn’t directly see what it was. The tension of the murder mystery was constantly building throughout. And the sense that we were almost there to solving it drove everything forward steadily.

The character development was also really well done. Ivy was a bit of a difficult character to like, at first. But she grew on me. Getting to know her and all of her struggles made the world around her come alive. The more I saw of Ivy and this world, the clearer it became that Ivy didn’t belong here, and that just made it hurt all the more. Having such a strong emotional connection to the main character certainly didn’t hurt the plot any.

The magical side of the plot was fascinating and created this rich environment to play with. Meanwhile, the murder added darker tones and tension. The two together resulted in something entirely new and different. To be honest, it almost felt like this story ended too quickly. Even though it answered all my questions and told the story it set out to.


Magic for Liars ended up being so much more than I had expected. And I couldn’t be happier about that. Walking away from a book and finding yourself wishing there was more to it – not because it didn’t cover everything, but because you enjoyed the world? That’s how you know you just finished an immersive novel.



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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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