This is a recently written book, either a stand-alone book or (more likely) the first in a series. It involves the main character going through the standard teenage ritual of discovering where their magical 'talent' lay. I'm pretty sure they were human, or at least close. I think the main character was female (modern book). I think the ritual involves a bowl. The test (bowl?) would show something depending on what talent (or class of talents?) they had... it might show a flame, or fog... I don't remember exactly but that kind of thing. The 'talent' marks her (in this case doesn't mark her) as one of the four (I think) classes of people in her society.

As it turns out (surprise surprise to anyone who has read this kind of book) the character does not have any of the known talents... thus the test shows them as some kind of null... unlike anyone else ever tested (that we know about by this time in the story).

That's as far as I read, I think it was an Amazon or kindle sample that I was reading. I assume that her lack of power... or lack of one of the regular kind of powers, was going to be 'fixed' later in the story... either by her getting a fifth kind of power, or the 'lack' turning out to be valuable in some other way.

I seem to remember the society was almost stone age-ish, not even medieval.

It's not Gift of the Unmage, An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors or Kingdom of Souls

  • Begin, as the main character was teenage I think it was YA. Like 'Divergent' with magic. Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 13:34
  • If you read it as a kindle sample, shouldn't it appear on your device or your Amazon records? Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 14:12
  • Yeah, it should... which is why it was so frustrating when I went back to try to find it. Now that I know the title I will probably find it right away :) Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 14:14
  • OK, now that I'm reading the Amazon Kindle 'look inside' I see that I didn't even get that much in whatever preview I read. It has a whole nother chapter that I hadn't read. Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 14:17
  • see also scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/188192/… (about the series as a whole)
    – Otis
    Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


Unsouled by Will Wight?

Twice a year, the clans of Sacred Valley test the spirits of their children. Boys and girls of six, seven, even eight summers line up before their clan’s elders. They wear clothes too formal for them: layered robes of muted color for the boys, intricate shadesilk wraps for the girls. Parents line the walls nearby, anxious to hear the nature of their children laid bare.

One by one, the children step before their clan’s First Elder. He holds a shallow bowl, twice as wide as a dinner plate, that holds nothing more than still water. But it is not water, the parents know. It is madra, raw power of spirit, purified and distilled. The material from which souls are made.

Each child in line sees one of four responses: the water clings, or it retreats, or it rises, or it freezes. They receive badges accordingly. Shields for Enforcers, who protect the clan from its enemies with strength of arms. Arrows for Strikers, who strike against rivals from a distance. Scepters for Rulers, who bend the powers of heaven and earth. And hammers for Forgers, whose techniques create weapons and wealth for the clan. All things in Sacred Valley can be divided in four.

It was published in 2016 so it is a recent book. However the main protagonist is a boy called Lindon not a girl. However Lindon teams up with a girl.

  • 1
    Yeah, well, so many of these modern stories are about girls. Thanks!! Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 14:12

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