Magic for Liars: A Novel (Paperback)

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(Science fiction and fantasy)

Staff Reviews


Elisabeth's August 2019 pick
How many books say they're "Harry Potter for adults?"
So many.

How many books say they're "for people still waiting on their Hogwarts letter?"
Lots.

So when MAGIC FOR LIARS was described like that, I rolled my eyes internally (but you'll notice i still picked it up) and expected a magical adventure that entertained but fell far short of HP.
But.
But.
This story isn't just for people who like wizards.
It's about a woman whose twin sister DID get a Hogwarts letter (well, not Hogwarts exactly), but she got left behind, mundane and normal and not magical.
And now here she is, 14 years later, jaded and bitter at the world, taking photos of cheating spouses for her private investigator business, gumshoeing through the linoleum'd hallways of a private wizarding boarding school that her estranged sister works at, and there are no magic talking portraits or floating candles or pumpkin pasties, but there is magic graffiti ("Samantha is a slut") that resists all attempts by the janitor to scrub off, and magic birth control from the health teacher, and dimensional folding to pass notes secretly, and mandated reporters for prphecy fulfillment.
AND A DEAD BODY IN THE THEORETICAL MAGIC SECTION OF THE LIBRARY, where the health teacher was vivisected into two equal halves.

So.
For adults.
Who didn't get their Hogwarts letter.
Please excuse me, this book won't finish reading itself. The Physical Magic instructor is HOT.

— From Elisabeth Jewell

Kelso June 2019 pick, 3 of 3

Set in the hills of Northern California in a backdrop of a present day US Magical Academy, Hardboiled detective Ivy Gramble (not a magical person) is tasked to investigate a murder within the halls of Osthorne Academy for Young Mages; where her estranged magical twin sister works as a teacher. Ivy and her sister try to reconcile their relationship while interviewing "Chosen Ones" "Mean Girls" and a host of other colorful fantasy tropes.
I read this in a night, which is unheard of for me. Ironically, the last time I did this was for the last Harry Potter book, except this time the remedial magical students drink actual beer and instead of house elves there's a ton of hazing. Sarah takes multiple genres and interweaves them near seamlessly in this California Noir story with a sci-fi/fantasy bent. Even though I guessed the solution quickly, the journey of the whodunit - rooted in past traumas, character dysfunctions and teen insecurities - made the book compelling and yes, perhaps even a bit magical. 
— From Kelso

Description


A 2020 LOCUS AWARD FINALIST FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

Sharp, mainstream fantasy meets compelling thrills of investigative noir in Magic for Liars, a fantasy debut by rising star Sarah Gailey.


Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.


Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.

She doesn't in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.

Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

“An unmissable debut.”—Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire

About the Author


Hugo Award-winning and bestselling author Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and The Boston Globe, and they won a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Their most recent fiction credits include Vice and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published in 2019.

Praise For…


Praise for Magic for Liars

“A queerer, older, quicker-paced Harry Potter, concerned with the childhood grudges that adults can't get over.”—Refinery 29

“We can’t wait to see what Sarah Gailey does next!”—Crimereads, the most anticipated crime books of summer

“With winks to multiple genres, Sarah Gailey’s Magic for Liars shows that their talent has no trouble extending to a full-length novel.”—Culturess

“In a very short time, Sarah Gailey has distinguished themself as one of science fiction's best new writers.” —BoingBoing

“The world has little mercy; but it does have heart, and like Ivy, it carries on despite its scars.”—NPR

Magic for Liars is a perfect, spare, delectable novel that features a masterful narrative structure, terribly human characters occupying realistically magical settings, and more. The prose is spot-on and paints an intimate, flawed portrait of how a world like Gamble’s would function, from the moment she tells the disbelieving bartender magic exists to the moment she walks out on her sister. I can’t recommend it highly enough.” —Tor.com

“There's something for almost all readers here... Gailey shows us that humans are humans, even when they are magic, and they are still flawed, damaged, and oh-so-interesting” —Booklist (starred review)

“Clever and fast-paced... a wonderfully quirky mystery filled with inviting characters and gripping surprise twists.” —Publishers Weekly

“A poignant and bittersweet family tragedy disguised as a mystery but with a magic all its own.” —Kirkus

Veronica Mars with a bit of Harry Potter” —The Nerd Daily

“Sarah Gailey mashes hard-bitten detective noir into the magical YA world of Harry Potter in Magic For Liars… a Syfy series waiting to happen.” —AV Club

“The sharpest female protagonist of the summer”—The Mary Sue

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250174628
ISBN-10: 1250174627
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: May 5th, 2020
Pages: 352