Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.
But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.
Author: Sarah Gailey
My Rating: 3.5/5
My Favourite Quote: “Fucking Mages.”
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I was very excited by the synopsis of this book, and I bought it almost as soon as I saw it. I loved the first half of the book, the second not so much.
The set up was really interesting. I liked the idea of a non magical detective grudgingly going to help solve a murder at a magic school, and I thought the initial descriptions of Ivy’s PI business felt realistic.
I also think the magic school itself was well done, it must be hard writing about a magic school without seeming cliché or derivative. But the school didn’t feel like a copy of other stories, which was nice. The school is essentially a magical high school and the students acted like teenagers and used their magic like teenagers would—which felt appropriate and novel.
The magic system seemed like an interesting take on magic, though not overly explained. I thought the way the magic was spoken about and introduced was fairly natural to the story.
The mystery aspect of the book seemed compelling to start and there were a number of false leads along the way to keep it interesting. That is until about half way through the book where the detective work becomes very poor. That this point, it was pretty obvious who committed the crime, and why it was done was also clear much before Ivy–a detective–figured it out. The mystery avoided some cliché’s I was worried were going to happen and I was happy about that until I read the ending.
The ending was bizarre, and it seemed incredibly rushed. I honestly don’t know why Ivy made the decisions she did at the end of the book. The ending of this book gets into some serious topics, which could have been discussed well, but weren’t. And all real-world implications of very serious actions were never resolved and blatantly ignored, and it was incredibly frustrating. And even though this decision was foreshadowed in the book, I still don’t think it fits.
I finished this book feeling quite honestly annoyed, because the first half of the book was really good. And the ending just wasn’t…
I don’t think I would necessarily recommend this book. The beginning was really interesting, and if it sounds intriguing maybe check it out being a little forewarned?
If you have read this book, I’d really like to hear your take! Also, if anyone has any recommendations for other books about magical schools I’d love to hear them!