This story is set in the modern day, and I know it was written in the past 10 years. It is young adult fantasy.

There is a magic school in the sky, I think. I remember that the people who can do magic, can do a specific type like gravity or seer or something like that. The main character is a woman who can do all the different types of magic, and she has a friend who is savvy with technology. Has a mentor (the classic old guy) who is a phoenix or a firebird of some sort. She attends this school that is in the sky, and only a few people in the government know about it. Her mother ends up being evil.

I would like help identifying this series I just can't remember any names.

  • "ends up being evil" -- Do you mean Mother started out good? Or do you mean she was later discovered to have been evil all along?
    – Spencer
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 19:11
  • 1
    This sounds suspiciously similar to the premise of Sky High (I only know it as a movie, but perhaps it’s a book too?). Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 8:34
  • Sounds a bit like the Edge Chronicles (tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TheEdgeChronicles)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 3:59
  • Also sounds a bit like All the Birds in the Sky (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_the_Birds_in_the_Sky)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 4:34
  • Thank you for the suggestions, but it isn't any of these and it is just driving me crazy. I forgot to add that it is set in the modern day. It was young adult fantasy I just remember that she is the only one in the world who can do all of the different types of magic. She is being trained at a school. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 5:28

2 Answers 2


I haven't read it myself so I can't comment on all of your descriptions, but with the themes of birds, magic school, modern day, magic female protagonist and friend who is technologically savvy it sounds like it could be All The Birds in The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders.

From summaries it seems to be about a girl who discovers she is a witch, turns into a bird, flies away and finds a magic school. Years later she returns to San Francisco after learning to control her powers and meets her childhood friend who has made some kind of a time machine. I can't find anything about a firebird but apparently she is brought to the magic school by some kind of wizard.


This is a bit of a stretch but it may be the Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone (specifically the first book, Three Parts Dead).

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.

Tara can perform necromancy, maybe other types of magic (I can't remember off hand) and she has a friend, Abelard, who is a kind of engineer/monk.

The university Tara graduates from is in the sky and she almost gets thrown out (literally) just before graduation.

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