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I believe it was a standalone, but possibly 2 books. The main character was a female. The mages in the story exploded when they died unless they were completely drained of power first. They could be drained by making a small cut and then the other mage touching the cut and draining them (to the extent it would kill them). A large portion of the book was main character's training to use magic at a school where thy would basically put up magical shields and duel each other. I believe I read it in late 90's to early 2000.

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    Almost certainly Trudi Canavan's Black Magician trilogy, possibly conflated with some elements of her Magician's Apprentice, whose plot is basically identical.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 19, 2016 at 16:12
  • @randal'thor - argh you beat me by 5 minutes :( that'll teach me for trying to work at the same time as typing an answer and find evidence to back it up Jan 19, 2016 at 16:21
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    @CearonO'Flynn I would've posted an answer if I hadn't repcapped for the day, but you're welcome to claim the glory :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 19, 2016 at 16:54
  • @randal'thor thank you. most gracious Jan 19, 2016 at 16:55

1 Answer 1

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Trudi Canavan The Black Magician Trilogy published between 2001 and 2003.

Magicians were able to drain magical power from other magicians through a cut using black magic, they could be drained to death.

I don't remember any of them exploding though Cat'r'pillar informs me they do if they still have power and this rings a faint bell now its been mentioned.

The books follow Sonea a young girl who learns she has magical ability as she is trained in the arts of magic. A lot of dueling, throwing magic at the shields goes on during her training.

She ends up falling in love with the with a fellow magician who teaches her Black Magic.

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    They explode when they have power remaining when they die, and it's released all at once or something like that. Jan 19, 2016 at 16:35
  • @Cat'r'pillar cool, I can easily believe I forgot that fact it has been ages since I read them, have so many books in my head since then including all the ASOIAF books, Peter Hamilton's tomes and a bunch of Malazzan books, they all take up some serious memory space. It was the draining magic and throwing spells at each others shields that triggered my memory. Jan 19, 2016 at 16:37
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    It just so happens that I reread the books very recently, or I wouldn't've remembered either :) Jan 19, 2016 at 16:42

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