- Columbia Womens Ice Maiden II Lace Cold Weather & Shearling
- T-JULY Wedges Sneakers Women Slip-on Genuine Leather Platform shoes for Women Autumn Casual shoes Height Increase
- Aerosoles Womens Lifespan Wedge Slide Sandal
- Men's Martin Boots Fall Winter Comfort Lace-up Waterproof Ankle Outdoor Boots Warm Plush Inside High-top Boots (color A, Size 38)
- Kenneth Cole New York Men's Biggest Fan Oxford Black
- Wolky Women's Comfort Nomad Vegi Leather Slip on Slid Adjustable Sandal
- Finn Comfort - Sansibar - 02550635010
- Source Outdoor Men's Thong Sandals
- Men's fashion, casual canvas shoes men's Handmade canvas shoes, low - help shoes and breathable shoes,brown,Forty-one
- Wrangler Men's True-2 Trainers bluee denim
- DANDANJIE Men's Boots Rivets Cowboy Boots British Style Vintage Martin Boots Show Cosplay Motorcycle Boots for Fall Winter
- AKJC Business shoes Men Black Oxford shoes Men's Dress shoes Microfiber Leather Business shoes Men's Formal shoes Men
- Adolpha Black DUNION Women's Slip On Glamour Fashion Chunky Heel Ankle Boot
- WTKRSM Women's Buckle Slope Heel Sandals Open Toe Fashion Classic Sandals
- Artfaerie Womens gold Rivets Stud Gladiator Flats Open Toe Buckle Low Heel Strappy Beach Sandals
- Hanglin Trade Women's Heeled Sandals Buckled Ankle Strap Little Platform Sandals Stilettos Heels Pumps
- AdeeSu Womens Pumps-shoes Peep-Toe Zip Ankle-Strap Spikes Stilettos Cold Lining Waterproof Road Bootie Cap-Toe Urethane Pumps shoes SLC03479
- Kevin Fashion KLSDN240 Women's Glitter Synthetic Club Party Evening Sandals
- Ipdterty Wear-Resistant Traveling Sneaker Car Racing Design Game Womens Ladies Cool Track Running shoes
- AmoonyFashion Women's Pull-on Open Toe Low-Heels Blend Materials Solid Sandals
- LIHUIYUN shoes Spring Summer shoes Woman High Heels Ladies Pumps Female women shoes Platform Spring Party A302
- Women's Kanna, Ada KV8023 Slip on shoes
- WeiPoot Women's Zipper Pointed-Toe High-Heels Pu Ankle-High Boots, EGHXH111878
- Mens Avenger Composite Toe Work shoes Brown - Footwear Men's Footwear Men's
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.