Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey (author), Xe Sands (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, ISBN 9781250227867, June 2019

Ivy Gamble, unlike her twin sister Tabitha, is not a mage. She has no magic at all. Ivy is a private investigator, and is almost getting by that way. And she enjoys it. She really does. And she is not the least little bit jealous of Tabitha, her twin sister, the mage, who teaches at a prestigious private high school for young mages.

Then she is asked by the head of that school to investigate the death of another teacher there.

Suddenly, Ivy is immersed in the life she could have had, if she had the magic Tabitha has. She's almost having double vision, the life she really leads, and the life she might have had. She and Tabitha seem to be edging towards reconnection after the long estrangement that followed the death of their mother. There's a handsome and charming teacher there who is interested on Ivy. Oh, and there's the murder case she's trying to solve.

Ivy has never investigated a murder before. It's been a long time since she was in high school. And these kids are mages, as are all the instructors. Yet the kids are still just kids, teenagers, and their magic pranks are pretty much what you'd expect of teenagers. Only a few stand out as different, and neither they nor any of the instructors at first seem to have any motive to kill the dead woman.

Yet one girl, Alexandria, is clearly influencing the feelings and reactions of those around her in a way that, once Ivy focuses on it enough to describe it to the teacher-mages, she is assured is simply impossible. Yes, there's a theoretical way, but nobody has that much power. Her brother, Dylan, believes he's the "Chosen One" described in their family's prophecy, destined to be the most powerful mage in the world--and he really is quite strong. Another girl, Courtney, has something to hide.

And there's a story going around that the dead woman was involved with someone she shouldn't have been. Not a student, but another teacher.

Ivy is trying to untangle a puzzle without knowing what's normal and abnormal in this setting.

The world-building is good and seamless, here, and the characters are excellent. Every significant character is complex, a mixed bag, and completely convincing. Their strengths and weaknesses are human and believable. I really want to read more by Sarah Gailey.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

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