- T-JULY Women's Platform Flip Flops Wedges Genuine Leather Women Fashion Thick Soled Beach Slippers Summer shoes
- Dailyshoes Women's Warm Snow Booties Up Ankle High Cashmere Collar Duck Padded Mud Rubber Rain Boots
- Women's Sandals, Sweet Bohemian Flowers Rhinestone Flats Open Toe Non-Slip Breathable Lining Women's Sandals,Black,40
- Women's shoes Suede Spring Summer 2018 Sandals Ladies Rhinestone Square Head Rome shoes Large Size for Casual Dress Party & Evening Sandals
- Jessica Simpson Women's LOYREN shoes, Black, 5.5 M US
- Skechers USA Men's Striking Prepare Fusion Sneaker
- Sugar Womens Hacha Ankle Bootie
- New 2019 Spring Lightweight Casual shoes, Fashion Men Breathable Sneakers, Lace Up Flats shoes Cycling shoes,bluee,38
- Clarks Women's Charlie Cap Oxford
- Pointed Leather shoes Men's Leather First Layer Leather Men's Casual Low shoes Wild Fashion Hair Stylist shoes
- Liu Jo Women's MCBI37936 Black Leather Sneakers
- 2018 Men's shoes, Spring Fall Mesh Running shoes,Men's Low-Top Sneakers,Comfort Breathable Sneakers,Casual Travel Trainers shoes
- Men's shoes Leather Spring fall Comfort Loafers & Slip-Ons Cycling shoes Walking shoes Man Casual Outdoor Driving shoes Peas shoes (color Black, Size 38)
- New Balance Men's Synact Running shoes
- XUE Men's shoes spring Fall,Comfort Travel,Breathable Running shoes,Velcro shoes Athletic shoes,Lightweight Walking shoes,2018Non-slip Low-Top Sneakers, Athletic shoes (color A, Size 39)
- Breathable Beach shoes Casual Outdoor Baotou Sandals Men's Sandals shoes for Men
- Black Reflective Bernie Mev Womens Gummies Gem Flat
- Mao YiE Women Shallow Pumps Office Pointed Toe Slip-On Dress shoes Low Heels Leather
- Spiral Womens - Flaming Spine - Sneakers - Ladies High Top Laceup
- TAOFFEN Women Fashion Autumn shoes Flat Long Stretch Boots
- Women High Heels Stiletto Wedding Pumps
I’m a big fan of the magical school trope. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was one of those life-defining books from high school through the end of college, and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians books came right in after as I was starting my career as a college administrator and writer. Sarah Gailey’s debut novel Magic for Liars is like a third part of that transition, and I blew through the book in just about a day.
The story introduces us to Ivy Gamble, a woman who works as a private investigator, and who has a bit of a secret: her estranged twin sister is a brilliant magician. She’s hired by the headmaster of the Osthorne Academy of Young Mages in California, where her sister works. The two haven’t spoken in years, and when a teacher at the school is found dead in the library, they’re unexpectedly reunited.
Gailey is the author of the American Hippo novellas, and while I loved the concept, I felt that they were a bit weak, character-wise (one of the downsides to Tor.com’s novella line: sometimes, a story is too slimmed down, and could have been a bit longer.) That isn’t a problem here. Gailey brilliantly sets up these two sisters, and Ivy is a phenomenal, bitter character who is pretty much burned out on everything, stemming back to some deep-seated family history that drove her and her sister apart.
This book succeeds in two ways. First, it’s a fantastic mystery, and Gamble, an outsider to this magical community, is the perfect person to solve it, because she can approach it from that unknowledgeable angle, but who knows how perfectly messed up people are, and what sorts of bad decisions they can make. Secondly, it’s a great magical school entry. Hogwarts is delightfully twee, Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy is realistically cynical, and the Osthorne Academy of Young Mages is… a typical high school. There’s plenty of details that show off that kids — even magical kids, will be immature, do stupid things, are egotistical, and crave attention.
What really makes this book stand out is that it revolves around a couple of things that fantasy (and science fiction, for that matter), typically ignores: wOmEnS IsSuEs. I won’t spoil how this plays out, but it’s a mystery that comes down to teenage and family drama in ways that feels utterly realistic, and I’m guessing entirely relevant and relatable to any woman who picks up this book. Gailey also keeps the mystery entirely fresh throughout the entire read, throwing me off in a couple of places, and nailing the book with a fantastic (and frustratingly ambiguous) ending. She tells me that she’s not planning on a followup, which is also refreshing? There needs to be more standalone novels, although I would dearly love to see more of this particular world.