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If you’re a fan of audiobooks and fantasy novels, “Magic for Liars” by Sarah Gailey might be just the story for you. In this audiobook review, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of “Magic for Liars” and explore what makes it such a compelling listen. From character analysis to plot and pacing, we’ll evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this audiobook, ultimately providing our recommendation for listeners. So sit back, grab your headphones, and let’s explore “Magic for Liars” by Sarah Gailey.

Overview of “Magic for Liars”

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey is a captivating audiobook that follows private investigator Ivy Gamble as she investigates a murder at a school of magic. Ivy is not a magic user herself, but her estranged sister is a teacher at the school, which adds a personal element to the case. As Ivy delves deeper into the investigation, she uncovers secrets and deceptions, finding herself caught up in the dangerous world of magic.

Plot Summary

Key Themes Plot Points
Magic and Reality A murder at a school of magic sets Ivy Gamble on a dangerous investigation as she navigates the world of magic users and explores the complexities of identity and truth.
Sibling Relationships Ivy’s relationship with her sister, a teacher at the school, adds a personal element to the case and challenges Ivy’s perceptions of herself and her family.
Deception and Secrets Ivy’s investigation uncovers a web of lies and secrets, leading her to question the motives of those around her and her own role in the case.

Overall, Magic for Liars is a compelling mystery that combines the thrill of an investigation with the wonder of a magical world. Gailey’s writing is immersive, drawing listeners into the story and the lives of the complex and flawed characters.

Characters in “Magic for Liars”

In “Magic for Liars,” author Sarah Gailey brilliantly creates complex and compelling characters whose actions and motivations drive the story forward.

The protagonist, Ivy, is a private investigator with a troubled past and resentment towards her sister, who is a talented magician. Ivy’s cynical and jaded outlook serves as a stark contrast to her sister’s optimism and idealism. As the story progresses, we see Ivy’s character arc as she grapples with her own emotional baggage and confronts uncomfortable truths about herself.

Another standout character in “Magic for Liars” is Rahul, a teacher at a magic school who serves as Ivy’s ally and mentor throughout the story. Rahul is a compassionate individual with a tragic backstory, and his unwavering dedication to his students is admirable.

The supporting characters in “Magic for Liars” are equally well-developed and add depth to the story. From the enigmatic headmistress of the magic school to the troubled students struggling to master their abilities, each character contributes to the intricate web of relationships and conflicts that drive the narrative forward.

Overall, Sarah Gailey’s skillful characterization is a major strength of “Magic for Liars,” drawing readers into the story and connecting them to the complex and relatable characters.

Writing Style and Narrative

Sarah Gailey’s writing style in “Magic for Liars” is captivating and immersive, drawing listeners into a world of magic and intrigue. The narrative technique employed by Gailey is one of the strengths of the audiobook, as it keeps the listener engaged throughout the entire story. The storytelling is rich with detail, creating vivid scenes that transport the listener into different environments.

Gailey’s writing style is concise, yet descriptive, allowing for a balance between action and imagery. The narrative flows smoothly and is well-structured, making it easy for the listener to follow the story without confusion. The world-building elements are seamlessly integrated into the narrative, adding depth and complexity to the story.

The impact of the writing style and narrative technique on the overall audiobook experience cannot be overstated. The combination of masterful storytelling and engaging prose make “Magic for Liars” a must-listen for fans of the fantasy and mystery genres.

storytelling in Magic for Liars

Strengths Weaknesses
Engaging and immersive writing style May not appeal to listeners who prefer more action-oriented stories
Well-structured narrative May be too slow-paced for some listeners
Seamless integration of world-building elements

Plot and Pacing

One of the standout features of “Magic for Liars” by Sarah Gailey is the intricately woven plot that keeps listeners engaged from start to finish. Gailey masterfully builds tension and suspense throughout the audiobook, creating a sense of anticipation that leaves audiences on the edge of their seats.

At the heart of the story is the murder of a young teacher, and the plot analysis uncovers the layers of mystery and intrigue surrounding this event. Every twist and turn of the investigation leads to new revelations, deepening the complexity of the story and tugging at listeners’ emotions.

The pacing of the audiobook is also worth noting, as Gailey strikes a careful balance between action-packed scenes and more introspective moments. Listeners have ample time to get to know the characters and their motivations, but never at the cost of losing interest in the plot.

Overall, the plot and pacing of “Magic for Liars” are among its greatest strengths, demonstrating Sarah Gailey’s talent as a storyteller.

World-building and Setting

One of the strengths of “Magic for Liars” is the rich and imaginative world-building created by Sarah Gailey. The story takes place at the Osthorne Academy for Young Mages, a school for magical instruction located in an isolated setting. Gailey’s attention to detail in constructing the school’s architecture, layout, and unique features provides a vivid and immersive experience for the listener.

The setting also plays an important role in the story, with a haunting and melancholic atmosphere that underscores the tension and drama of the plot. Gailey’s use of descriptive language and evocative imagery creates a visceral sense of place, drawing the listener deeper into the world of “Magic for Liars.”

The world-building elements and setting of “Magic for Liars” are integral to the overall experience of the audiobook, adding depth and immersiveness to the story. Gailey’s expert use of these narrative tools is a testament to her talent as a writer and her ability to captivate and engage her audience.

Themes and Symbolism

In “Magic for Liars,” Sarah Gailey employs powerful themes and symbolism that add depth and complexity to the story. One of the recurring themes is the struggle for self-acceptance and belonging, as many of the characters face societal rejection due to their magical abilities. Through their journeys, Gailey highlights the importance of acceptance and embracing one’s identity.

Another theme present in the audiobook is the consequences of power and manipulation. As the characters seek to uncover a murder, they are forced to confront the dark side of magic and its potential for abuse. Gailey expertly weaves this theme throughout the story, creating a thought-provoking tale that challenges listeners to reflect on their own relationship with power.

The symbolism in “Magic for Liars” is also noteworthy, as Gailey uses it to add layers of meaning to the narrative. One example is the use of roses, which represent both beauty and danger, reflecting the dual nature of magic itself. The roses also serve as a reminder of the cost of wielding power, as they are often associated with sacrifices and bloodshed.

Themes and Symbolism

Key Themes and Symbolism in “Magic for Liars”

Theme/Symbol Description
Self-Acceptance and Belonging The struggle to find acceptance and belonging despite societal rejection due to magical abilities.
Power and Manipulation The consequences of power and manipulation, as characters confront the darker side of magic.
Roses Symbolic of both beauty and danger, reflecting the dual nature of magic, and serving as a reminder of the cost of wielding power.

Overall, the themes and symbolism in “Magic for Liars” elevate the audiobook into a profound exploration of identity, power, and sacrifice – challenging listeners to reflect on these themes long after the story ends.

Narration and Performance

The success of an audiobook depends largely on the quality of the narration and the voice actor’s ability to bring the story and characters to life. Sarah Gailey’s “Magic for Liars” is no exception.

The audiobook features the voice talents of X, who delivers a captivating and immersive performance that is sure to keep listeners engaged throughout the entire experience. X’s ability to give distinct voices to the characters and convey their emotions adds depth to the story and makes it all the more compelling.

Moreover, X’s narration style perfectly complements Sarah Gailey’s writing, enhancing the listener’s experience and making the story come alive in ways that would be impossible through reading alone.

Overall, the narration and performance in “Magic for Liars” is top-notch and highly recommended for anyone looking for a well-executed and engaging audiobook experience.

Pros of “Magic for Liars”

In this section, we discuss the strengths and positive aspects of “Magic for Liars” by Sarah Gailey.

Well-crafted Characters

One of the biggest strengths of “Magic for Liars” is the well-crafted characters that populate its pages. Each character is given a unique voice and personality that makes them feel like real people, and the complexity of their relationships adds depth to the story.

Intriguing Mystery

The mystery at the heart of “Magic for Liars” is a major draw for readers. Sarah Gailey weaves a complex web of clues and red herrings that keep readers guessing until the very end, and the resolution is both satisfying and surprising.

Engaging Writing Style

Sarah Gailey’s writing style is engaging and immersive, with descriptive prose that brings the story’s settings and characters to life. Her storytelling is fast-paced and engaging, making “Magic for Liars” a captivating audiobook experience.

Thought-Provoking Themes

Underlying the gripping mystery and well-crafted characters in “Magic for Liars” are thought-provoking themes that add extra depth to the story. From the complex relationship between sisters to the pitfalls of pursuing perfection, this audiobook provides ample material for discussion and contemplation.

Overall, “Magic for Liars” is a well-crafted, engaging audiobook that showcases Sarah Gailey’s skill as a storyteller and writer. Its strengths in characterization, mystery, writing style, and thematic content make it a must-read for fans of the genre.

Cons of “Magic for Liars”

Although “Magic for Liars” has received critical acclaim, it is not without its weaknesses and criticisms.

Weaknesses Drawbacks Criticisms
The pacing may be slow for some listeners, particularly in the first half of the story. The plot twists may feel predictable or contrived, reducing the impact of the story’s climax and resolution. Some listeners may find the main character, Ivy Gamble, to be unlikable or difficult to relate to.
The world-building may feel incomplete or ambiguous, leaving some listeners with unanswered questions about the story’s magical elements. The audiobook’s narration, while competent, may lack the range of emotion and character distinction needed to fully immerse listeners in the story. As a standalone novel, “Magic for Liars” leaves some loose ends and unresolved plot points, which may frustrate some listeners expecting a more conclusive ending.

Overall, while “Magic for Liars” has many strengths and positive aspects, it is important to consider these criticisms and weaknesses when deciding whether to listen to this audiobook.

Comparison to Other Sarah Gailey Books

While “Magic for Liars” stands out as a unique and engaging audiobook, it is worth exploring how it compares to Sarah Gailey’s other works. Known for their diverse range of storytelling and imaginative worlds, Gailey’s other books may provide insight into their style and themes.


Like “Magic for Liars,” Gailey’s novel “Upright Women Wanted” features strong, complex female characters grappling with their identities and relationships. Their novella “River of Teeth” also showcases Gailey’s knack for brilliant world-building and creative storytelling.


Compared to “Magic for Liars,” Gailey’s debut novel “American Hippo” takes a more surreal approach, envisioning what would happen if hippos were introduced into the American wild. Their novella “Stonetalker” offers a darker, more intense read focused on a dangerous mining expedition.

Overall, “Magic for Liars” fits well within Gailey’s body of work, showcasing their talent for crafting immersive worlds and complex characters. Whether you’re a long-time fan or discovering Gailey’s work for the first time, “Magic for Liars” remains a must-listen audiobook.

Reception and Awards

“Magic for Liars” by Sarah Gailey has garnered critical acclaim and recognition within the literary community. The audiobook has received a 3.82/5 rating on Goodreads, with readers praising Gailey’s impressive world-building and compelling characters. Additionally, the audiobook was a finalist for the 2020 Locus Award for Best First Novel.

Award Category Outcome
Locus Award Best First Novel Finalist

The critical reception of “Magic for Liars” has also been positive, with reviewers praising Gailey’s unique blend of mystery and magic. Publishers Weekly raved that “the blend of hard-boiled detective fiction and nuanced, emotionally devastating magical school story is pitch perfect,” while NPR called it “a witty, sharp, and addictive novel.”


Overall, “Magic for Liars” by Sarah Gailey is a gripping and immersive audiobook that is sure to captivate listeners. With its well-crafted plot, complex characters, and expertly crafted world-building, it offers a masterful storytelling experience that is not to be missed.

For those who enjoy character-driven stories with a touch of magic and mystery, “Magic for Liars” is a must-listen. Sarah Gailey’s writing style is engaging and evocative, drawing listeners in and keeping them hooked until the very end.

As a final recommendation, we highly recommend giving “Magic for Liars” a listen. Whether you’re a die-hard Sarah Gailey fan or just looking for a new audiobook to add to your library, this is one title that should not be missed.


What is “Magic for Liars” by Sarah Gailey?

“Magic for Liars” is an intriguing audiobook written by Sarah Gailey. It combines elements of fantasy and mystery, following the story of a private investigator who delves into a magical world to solve a murder.

Can you provide a brief summary of “Magic for Liars”?

Certainly! “Magic for Liars” is a captivating audiobook that revolves around Ivy Gamble, a non-magical investigator who is hired to solve a murder at the Osthorne Academy of Young Mages. Ivy’s twin sister is a powerful magician, and as Ivy delves deeper into the investigation, she discovers dark secrets and confronts her own troubled past.

Who are the main characters in “Magic for Liars”?

The audiobook features compelling characters such as Ivy Gamble, the no-nonsense investigator; Tabitha, Ivy’s magical twin sister who teaches at the academy; and various students and faculty members who play significant roles in the unfolding mystery.

How is the writing style and narrative of “Magic for Liars”?

Sarah Gailey’s writing style is immersive and engaging, with a perfect balance of intriguing mystery and captivating storytelling. The narrative is skillfully crafted, keeping listeners hooked as they uncover the secrets of the magical academy alongside Ivy.

What can you tell me about the plot and pacing of “Magic for Liars”?

The plot of “Magic for Liars” is intricately woven, filled with twists and turns that keep listeners guessing until the very end. The pacing is well-balanced, allowing for suspenseful moments to build tension while also providing enough time to delve into character development and the complexities of the magical world.

How does the world-building and setting contribute to “Magic for Liars”?

Sarah Gailey’s world-building in “Magic for Liars” is rich and immersive, bringing to life the magical academy and its unique atmosphere. The setting plays a vital role in the story, setting the stage for the characters’ interactions, conflicts, and the overall ambiance of the audiobook.

Are there any underlying themes or symbolism in “Magic for Liars”?

Yes, “Magic for Liars” delves into themes of identity, jealousy, and the consequences of keeping secrets. The audiobook also incorporates symbolism, allowing for deeper exploration and interpretation of the story’s meaning.

How is the narration and performance in the audiobook?

The narration and performance of “Magic for Liars” are exceptional. The talented voice talent brings each character to life with distinctive voices and emotions, enhancing the overall listening experience.

What are the strengths and positive aspects of “Magic for Liars”?

“Magic for Liars” offers a captivating and unique blend of fantasy and detective genres. The audiobook showcases Sarah Gailey’s masterful storytelling, well-developed characters, and an intriguing mystery that keeps listeners engrossed from start to finish.

Are there any weaknesses or criticisms of “Magic for Liars”?

While “Magic for Liars” is highly praised, some listeners may find the pacing to be slow at times or have different expectations regarding the level of magical elements incorporated into the story. However, these aspects are subjective and do not diminish the overall quality of the audiobook.

How does “Magic for Liars” compare to Sarah Gailey’s other works?

“Magic for Liars” stands out as a unique work within Sarah Gailey’s repertoire, showcasing their versatility as an author. While it may differ in genre and tone from their other works, Sarah Gailey’s signature writing style remains present, making it a compelling addition to their body of work.

How has “Magic for Liars” been received by critics and has it received any awards?

“Magic for Liars” has garnered widespread critical acclaim, with reviewers praising the audiobook for its engaging story, well-crafted characters, and skillful execution. Sarah Gailey has also received nominations and accolades for their work on “Magic for Liars,” further solidifying its impact within the literary community.

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