By Cynthia Bujnicki
Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy being the average non-magical human. With a semi-stable career as a PI, she’s happy, even if her apartment is empty and the bartender at the nearby bar knows her name and her usual order. But when she is hired to investigate the gruesome murder at the private magical academy where here estranged sister teaches, Ivy must remember that the lies she tells herself to hide in the world are part of a story and just that. Ivy has to try not to lose herself in the story she has made and find a way to break apart the lies surrounding everyone around her.
Magic for Liars is perfect for fans of The Magicians series as it follows one average PI called to investigate a mysterious murder at her sisters’ school for magical kids. Sound familiar?
This novel lies somewhere between Harry Potter and The Magicians and has a splash of Mean Girls in it too. Ivy is a private investigator with something to prove, more to herself than anyone else. Always in her twin sisters’ shadow, she does not resent her, but this bridge between them sits at the core of the novel. As much of a mystery that this novel presents itself, it is also about sisterly love, about bridging the gap between siblings. It is a good core for the novel to have because it gives the reader something human to connect to. The relationship and the way the relationship develops in the story gives depth to the characters and strengthens the tension of the novel.
As for the story, the tone has one reminiscent of noir fiction. It creates the perfect atmosphere for the reader. The pacing could have been a little faster, but for the novel, it worked well without dragging. However, the first few chapters do drag a little, and the story takes a while to get moving, but it builds up the premise, gives a little history and does a decent job of luring in the reader.
However, what is impressive about this novel is a magical school. The approach the novel took to develop magic realistically was incredible. It treats magic like science, making it realistic and ensuring that the realistic tone and atmosphere created by the narrative remains strong. (★★★☆☆)