I remember a series of 7(?) YA books I read in the mid 90's about a boy who started to attend magic school. At the end of the first book he was expelled for doing something dangerous related to a summoned demon, but was promoted to journeyman wizard.

The rest of the series is him traveling around and training his magic, I distinctly remember the second book he went to learn healing magic. He was friends with an acrobatic non-magic girl who I want to say was named Lyre or Lyra. In the final 7th book there's a fairly big war and the main character is magically outclassed by the enemy wizard, but the acrobat friend saves him.

  • goodreads.com/book/show/176306.Stranger_at_the_Wedding? Mention of "Kyra" – Valorum Jul 6 '18 at 22:01
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    Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! This question would be improved by going through the checklists here ; How to ask a good story-ID question? – Valorum Jul 6 '18 at 22:10
  • Not Stranger at the Wedding, main character was a boy – Anthony B. Jul 6 '18 at 22:13
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    Vague similarities to R. A. Salvatore's Cleric Quintet: First book ends with the character in trouble for something dangerous involving a demon (not quite, but close); non-magical acrobatic female friend (Danica's a monk, and not necessarily non-magical, but close). However: names don't match, didn't actually get kicked out or promoted after book 1; didn't journey to learn healing magic; big war was actually in next-to-last book (and big bad there didn't really outpower Cadderly); probably not YA (main characters are sexually involved). – RDFozz Jul 6 '18 at 22:26
  • A lot of similarities, but more adult than what I read. Not as well known as R.A. Salvatore for sure – Anthony B. Jul 6 '18 at 22:46

Plagiarizing my own answer:

School of Wizardry, the first book in the "Circle of Magic" series by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald, does indeed match perfectly.

The protagonist, a boy named Randal, is training to become a knight when he sees a magician perform at his castle and has a prophetic dream which he interprets as meaning he's destined to be a wizard. He does have a great deal of trouble at school. He has a lot of power, but not much control. The candle lighting is a particular part of his test that he only barely passes because, instead of doing the "right" thing by invoking fire or drawing the heat form the candle, he's instead handling the raw energy. Master Laerg, one of the wizards at the school, does start tutoring him after that examination, and teaches him basic summoning, where he learns the name of the fire imp.

Master Laerg later attempts to sacrifice Randal to gain power from a demon and indeed, Randal summons the fire imp, who brings him the sword, and Randal uses his former training to impale the wizard. The wizards swear off use of all conventional weaponry, so indeed, he winds up on probation at the end of the first book, forced to seek out a reclusive wizard for his judgment and forbidden to use magic or weaponry to defend himself, a major issue because the kingdom is currently going through social chaos and bandits are everywhere.

Book cover Book cover with alternate series title

You can find an excerpt on the author's website of the first chapter of the first six of the eight books in the series.

He does have a performer friend named Lys, although she's more well known for her music. I've only read the first five books or so, but there are more.

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    This was exactly it! Thank you so much. I had even searched "Circle of Magic", but got directed to the series by Tamora Pierce. – Anthony B. Jul 7 '18 at 5:00
  • Also, apparently the friend's name was Lys. Now I just need to find a copy of the books somewhere ... =) – Anthony B. Jul 7 '18 at 5:07
  • @AnthonyB. Yeah, having two YA series with the same title is rather annoying at times. It amuses me that books in both series have alternate British titles with a "BLANK in the BLANK" pattern. – Arcanist Lupus Jul 7 '18 at 7:03
  • As for reading the books, check out openlibrary.org . I was able to find the first six books there when a different story id question encouraged me to reread them. – Arcanist Lupus Jul 7 '18 at 7:05
  • Our library had the first five and, weirdly enough, refused to acknowledge the existence of the further books as something that could be requested. shrug – FuzzyBoots Jul 7 '18 at 17:34

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