I remembered reading a book about a boy who doesn't have magic while everyone does. His uncle is a famous wizard and helps him get into a wizard school. Later on, it Is revealed that the boy doesn't have magic because the uncle took it away when he was young.

Added: it was around 5 years ago when I read it. the cover of the book shows a little boy and on the background they have some flying pigs and castle-like structures.

  • Sounds similar to what I've heard of the Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson? I think the magic system revolves around chalk drawings and geometric patterns, sound about right? – Stormie Dec 17 '15 at 9:09
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    @Stormie - Rithmatist not everyone has magic, although Joel wants it badly; sounds to me a bit more like Codex Alera, but the plot described here doesn't fit that either. – Radhil Dec 17 '15 at 13:20
  • Good save @Radhil - Haven't actually read the Rithmatist, it did sound similar though! – Stormie Dec 17 '15 at 15:06
  • How long ago did you read this? It might help us narrow down the search if it was fairly long ago. – Beofett Dec 17 '15 at 16:56
  • @Radhil I think it does sound quite a bit like Codex Alera. Boy doesn't have magic, but everybody else does. His uncle and rest of family is somewhat well known. Goes to school. I probably shouldn't spoil the series in comments, but the last sentence doesn't match Codex Alera but isn't completely off either. – KAI Dec 17 '15 at 18:41

Although it's not an exact match, your question has some vague similarities to the Codex Alera series.

  • Tavi is the central character of the books, and as the story starts, he indeed cannot use any of the magic known as furycrafting, even as every other human in the series can even to a limited degree
  • His uncle Bernard is an earth and woodcrafter who leads the local steadholdt. Not exactly famous but a solid leader, and he helps Tavi develop his other talents as much as he can, like his brain
  • Tavi does get into an Academy through the patronage of the First Lord of Alera. It is a school for training furycrafting, among other intellectual trainings. He still can't do magic however.
  • Long past these events, Tavi does eventually learn that ....

his aunt Isana, who is actually his mother, at first unintentionally but then with more intent, surpressed all his fury ability and stunted his growth through watercrafting in a desperate bid to hide his identity.

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  • Guess I'll try it as an answer since there's a little consensus. If it is correct, you can accept it as an answer to let everyone know. – Radhil Dec 17 '15 at 19:08
  • wow, I totally misread that as furrycrafting HAHAHAHAHA. I did a double take trying to figure out what kind of system of magic THAT would be. – Broklynite Jan 14 '17 at 5:03

I was looking for this as well. I believe the book is called Missing Magic by Emma Laybourn. They are flying sheep not pigs. It was published in 2012, which is two years off from your date, but otherwise matches.

Missing Magic - book cover - Flying sheep circled

Thanks to his influential uncle Kelver, Ned’s gotten into an elite new school. But there’s a problem—everyone there can do magic. And Ned? Not a lick. Amidst whispers of the terrifying Necromancers (rumored to be kidnapping unsuspecting kids!), Ned struggles to adjust to his new situation, avoid making enemies, and jump-start his magic skills, all with very little luck. Then, just as he’s getting accustomed to having his hair turned into snakes and his books into bricks, the Necromancers strike! Ned and his classmates are kidnapped. But without magic, how can he possibly help them escape? Things can’t get any worse—until they do.

TV Tropes has an entry on The Magic Goes Away that mentions the uncle as the person who stole Kelver's magic:

In the book Missing Magic, a young boy has to deal with being the only one without magic powers. When his uncle turns out to have been the Big Bad (after taking his powers and killing his father) his uncle uses the same spell and removes everyone's magic by accident. The boy comes to realize that eventually magic will return and someone will pioneer its discovery, long after everyone forgets it existed and moves on.

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  • Very nice find. – Radhil Apr 10 '18 at 21:28

Outcast: The Un-Magician by Christopher Golden

Book cover

The most dangerous boy in the world? Timothy is a freak, a weakling, an impossibility. He's the only person in existence without magical powers and has spent his entire life hidden on a remote island. When Timothy is finally taken back to the city of this birth, he is fascinated by the current of magic that fuels the world, and mesmerized by the buildings and orbs that hang weightlessly in the sky. But he is also marked for death.

Assassins are watching his every move, and the government wants him destroyed. Timothy can't imagine what threat he could possible pose; after all, he wields no power in this world.

Or does he?

The cover does have a boy and some castle-like structures, and Timothy has no magic. His father was a magician. The book was released in 2004 (and according to some of the reviews, was based on an earlier book by the same author), so that would fit your timeframe. No flying pigs, though.

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  • Welcome to SF&F, Naomi. Note that this isn't a forum, but a question-and-answer site. As such, we prefer full answers rather than one-liners. It doesn't have to be complicated: just explain to us why you believe this is the correct answer. – Martha Jan 14 '17 at 3:48
  • Yes, please edit this answer to include some justification. You might want to check our guidance for some tips on what to include (of course, you don't have to include all the items on that checklist, but some of them would be great). – Rand al'Thor Jan 14 '17 at 4:08

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