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Magic for Liars

Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
4 out of 5 stars (165 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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)

©2019 Sarah Gailey (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Holy Forking Shirtballs

just buy the ding dang book and stop reading reviews. this pulpy noir meets Harry Potter world is what you want. Nay, what you need.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • joan
  • Atlanta, ga,United States
  • 06-27-19

One of a Kind - Sci fi for women

This book tells a touching story about a private detective trying to solve a magic murder mystery under somewhat dangerous circumstances while dealing with her own problems. It's hard gumshoe from a woman's perspective. The main character is insecure, drinks too much, lonely, still grieving her mother's death, and still holds a grudge against her sister. The phrase "vulnerable yet strong" comes to mind.

All of the main characters are women, from the school principal, the doctors and nurses, the detective, the professors, and the bully. The women are also powerful mages.

As a woman myself, and a long time scifi reader, I found that I related to the people in the story so much more than in the traditional scifi, and I'm grateful that this book is out there and doing well on the market. The sisters' relationship is also relatable and touching.

The magic is moderately peppered throughout the book, but isn't heavily focused on. There are some spells that inspire awe, and some familiar tricks that recall a Harry Potter type of magic, as another reviewer mentioned. But the setting isn't Hogwarts, it's a more modern high school building, and the kids have high school problems and concerns that they deal with in modern-day ways.

As always, the narrator Xe Sands did an amazing job, putting so much humanity into each word and each character that the story felt real and whole, and I almost forgot it was just a book.

Loved!! Thank you ma'am, may I have another?

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wrenching emotion, believable characters

Ms Gailey's book was brought to my attention via @Scalzi on Twitter. Thanks to them both I will now keep refreshing the release dates for whatever she writes next. In a setting of magic and fantasy, this rings more true to human experiences than any review had led me to expect.

Narration is smooth and gritty all at once, just as the lead character and this book's world require.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A fun ride for SFF and Mystery lovers

I really enjoyed this book. it's a murder mystery for lovers of Urban Fantasy and Harry Potter. The world Gailey has built is fascinating and her characters relatable, if occasionally unlikeable and there is something to that I enjoyed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Written with a craft to envy

Written so well I was dying of jealousy but enjoyed so so much. Like a great bottle of wine you ease in and don't want to leave. Performed on point by xe sands

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Magic, lies, mystery, and more

I thoroughly enjoyed Sarah Gailey’s Magic for Liars. It managed an amazing combination of being both deep and frothy, fun and insightful. It made magic part of our world - something special, to be sure, but also something THIS worldly - magic concerned with passing notes in school or curing an infected wound. The narration was perfect - Xe Sands made a perfect Ivy Gamble. The book invited me to think not only how might this world be magical, but also how might we all be magical... and how might we all be liars?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Veronica Mars meets The Magicians

The story was a bit too predictable and I found the main character a little whiny at times, but overall I enjoyed the book. There were some great characters (Rahul and Mrs Webb were my favourites) and I especially loved the way magic was performed and used. However, I feel Gaily could have expanded more on the magical world as a whole. I was left with a lot of questions... What do students do after they graduate? How much is the magical world separated from the non-magical world? What does the “chosen one” even do anyway?...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I love this book and it wrecked me.

You may think you know how this book is going to end, but you're probably wrong.

The characters in Magic For Liars are indeed mostly liars. They're flawed people, making mistakes and hurting each other for a variety of reasons. For me, that made this book so much more interesting.

I'm struggling to write more about this book without spoiling it, so I will end saying I really loved this.

Sarah Gailey knows people, and they know how to write people that seem real. Xe Sands performed this book exquisitely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Just couldn’t get through it...

I really tried to get through this book. I did, but couldn’t do it. A little unhappy I couldn’t return it for a refund. I love Xe Sands. Not her fault. I was soooo sick of listening to the main character whine, by chap 8, I couldn’t take it anymore and gave up. Geez enough already!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Murder mystery with a side of magic

This isn't my first Gailey book (see all the Hippo books!!!) so believe me when I say Magic for Liars is better. MfL is a book about family and grief and desire. Desire for what we want versus what we actually need. Did I know whodunit before the end? I had an inkling but, like the main character Ivy, I was too caught up in the world of a magic school and maybe, just maybe, a new love, to stop to consider the clues. This book has a lovely beating heart and it surprised me and by the end, broke my heart.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Maddie
  • 06-19-19

Quirky and delicious from start to finish ✨

Everything is blurry in this book, and I love that it refuses to fit neatly into one box - it's a bit of fantasy swirled into a noir murder mystery with a touch of psychological thriller on the side. The magical school element is just the backdrop, and I loved that the main character is not magical - it felt bittersweet to be on the outside with her, looking in.

This is by no means YA fantasy, as I initially thought. Nor is it a basic whodunit following the murder trail and not much else. It's grown-up, and smart, and thought-provoking and achingly real. The feelings of inadequacy the main character experiences, her internal conflict and hopeful lies kept me hoping for a happy ending but again, this book is all grey lines and blurry contours. It has shades and layers and a dark but oh-so-human core.

And the narration is exquisite - it's soft and velvety and full of secrets 🔮
Keep on writing, Sarah 🤞