Fantasy Novels

‘Magic for Liars’ Review: Realism, Magic, & An Unsolved Mystery

Magic for Liars is the kind of book that invites you into its world and can’t let go until you’ve made it to the final word.

I was mesmerized by Gailey’s take on a magic that feels so realistic. It’s part high school drama, part secret lives of teachers, and part soul-searching as the private investigator protagonist comes to term with her past while perusing the present for answers. I was enthralled and couldn’t put it down.

The sense of realism sparked my imagination throughout. While I love magical fantasies that introduce things like unicorns, magic wands, and mysterious spells, it can be hard to relate to such a world given the mundanity of our own. In Magic for Liars, Gailey brings magic into the real world, along with the many consequences of its use. There are scenes that took my breath away, primarily because of the ease with which they were presented. You can’t snap a finger to fix a broken body. Instead, it requires a fundamental understanding of the human body, of how to piece it back together to make it whole. The various uses of magic are all the more amplified by the seemingly normal setting. It was fascinating to behold.

It’s so easy to immerse yourself in this world, and it leaves you with a feeling of fulfillment that you’ve read something special.

The combination of genres made for a consistently entertaining read. To start, you have the kind of private investigator fiction that leaves the intense violence at home. This is good, old-fashioned detective work through deduction and interviews. Through this process, we get to know the teachers and students as mostly regular people who just happen to be magical. Drama seeps in heavily when students are involved, adding a glimpse into the messy lives of teenagers trying to understand themselves. We also have the complicated family dynamics between the PI and her sister. They share a painful past and, as it starts to unfold, it holds a key to understanding how each sister grew into themselves. 

Above all, Magic for Liars features exceptional storytelling, marked by personable characters and a mysterious thread that surprises at multiple turns. It’s so easy to immerse yourself in this world, and it leaves you with a feeling of fulfillment that you’ve read something special. 

Magic for Liars
By Sarah Gailey
Published by Tor Books

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

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