Categories: Fantasy, Thriller & Mystery, wide LGBT rep (incl. F/F)
Ivy Gamble is a private detective. She hasn’t spoken with her sister for years, her talented, more beautiful twin who was born with magic, while Ivy… wasn’t. When there is a gory murder at the magical University where her sister works, Ivy is hired to investigate it. She is suddenly caught in that world, the dangerous magic and the more dangerous secrets, and she must somehow find the culprit.
This was kind of all over the place for me! I had quite a mixed experience with this book, which is why I’m giving it 3 stars. First of all, I loved how queer this book was! So many characters casually being lesbian and pan, it was really cool. I love the idea of a magical school, like Harry Potter but modern, and way more LGBT+. I think that was my favorite thing about the book: the idea of it.
It felt like it was all a little too forced: the world too filled with drama and red heerings, the tropes a little too overused at this point, the main character a little too unaware of how magic works (and she took a really long time to grasp on obvious things). I understand she was not magic and did not have too much contact with it before, but a lot of the general idea of how magic worked sounded pretty intuitive to me. She was a little too repetitive letting the reader know all the time how she’s awkward and lonely and tragic, but at the same time she was unprofessional and so clueless. I was not too taken with her.
The plot was interesting but I think it lost momentum quite often, due to all the rambling of the main character and how long she spent swooning over a professor and trying to reconnect with her sister. I listened to it in audio format, and I think the narration did wonders for this book. It really made the characters come alive, and helped move the story forward in a way I am not sure I would’ve had the patience to otherwise.
There were some really great parts of the story – including the plot twists, which I really enjoyed. I was also hooked enough on it that although I was a bit disappointed with the book overall, I was raptured enough to want to know what happened next. I wish the book had been executed a little differently. But if the author writes another book in that world, I would definitely read it! I recommend it if you want something fun, a bit gory but not too dark at all, and a murder mystery with magic.