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.
Magic For Liars first caught my eye when I saw it described as ‘Veronica Mars at Hogwarts’ and while this is a murder mystery set at a magic school, the story was very different from what I expected. Dark and twisty, the story follows Private Investigator Ivy Gamble as she is asked to investigate the death of a teach at a secret magic school. A school where it just so happens her estranged twin sister Tabitha works. Struggling to uncover the truth when everyone around her has magic and she doesn’t, Ivy must face the truths of who she is, and use everything she’s got to uncover who carried out such a gruesome murder.
This book has pretty much everything I love in books, but for some reason I just felt like it fell a bit flat. The story was interesting and I enjoyed seeing Ivy work to uncover the murder but I struggled to connect with the characters. I liked Ivy well enough, but the story was quite slow so by the time things were happening I just wasn’t invested in the characters. The story focuses heavily on Ivy’s relationship with her sister, as well as a budding romance that I didn’t really care for either.
I enjoyed the magic school setting, and the murder mystery aspect did have me guessing until quite near the end. I liked the atmosphere that Gailey created – a rippling sense of unease surrounding this prestigious school and an incredibly horrible murder. I think this book might polarise people, with some people absolutely adoring it and others like myself finding it a bit unmemorable. This one might not be for everyone but I’m sure plenty of people will love it. If you enjoy twisty murder mysteries, magic school settings and sibling relationships, this is definitely one to try out.