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I read it in high school 2009-2012.

After graduation, I remember the main character traveling a bit. Towers based on directions where powerful magic users were based. She finds out that she's the rightful owner of one of the towers. There was some sort of conflict. And she comes through in the end, officially the owner of her tower.

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    How did magic work? Did it require incantations? Directed will? Demonic contracts? Engineering of artifacts? Was it set in a medieval fantasy world? Our world? An Asian-inspired nation? Did she go to boarding school as a young child? A teenager? Nearly an adult? Were the directions cardinal ones like "West, North, South, and East"?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 4 at 13:39

2 Answers 2

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Is this A College of Magics (1994) by Caroline Stevermer...? The book was followed by one sequel, A Scholar of Magics (2004).

Front cover of "A College of Magics" (1994) by Caroline Stevermer.

According to this review, the protagonist, Faris Nallaneen, is the 18-year-old duchess of Galazon, and is forced to attend Greenlaw College (a college of magic in northern France) by her uncle, who rules Galazon in her absence.

We meet Faris Nallaneen, the gawky eighteen-year-old duchess of Galazon, just as she arrives as a new student at Greenlaw College, a finishing school in northern France. Faris was sent to school against her will by her uncle Becker, who is ruling the independent duchy of Galazon in her absence. Faris is deeply annoyed at having been sent out of the way, and hopes to be expelled just as soon as possible. But Greenlaw is a college of magic, and its tutors and dean have plans for Faris.

The same review notes that the story is set in an alternate, pre-WWI Europe, and that despite Greenlaw's magical reputation, the girls there are not taught magic and are forbidden from either practicing or discussing it after they've learned it.

The book takes place in a fantastic alternate pre-World-War I Europe, where Victorian morals meet a fascination with modernity, and where girls are taught grammar, logic, rhetoric, natural history, natural philosophy, Latin, Greek, algebra, geometry, dance, and deportment. They are not taught magic. The practice of magic is forbidden, as is any discussion of magic after they’ve actually learned it. This leads Faris to suspect that Greenlaw’s magical reputation is a hoax. "Apparently," she thinks, "all it took to learn magic at Greenlaw College was a willingness to claim one knew it when one left." Faris, who doesn’t want to be there, is highly skeptical.

Another review mentions that Faris is expelled from Greenlaw after exercising magical talents, and then heads to Paris, where she discovers that she's not only the heir to throne of Galazon but also the supernatural post of Warden of the North.

A gentle fantasy set in turn-of-the-century Paris, this novel's "magic" takes varied forms--some sorcerous (an anarchist's bomb transformed into a feathered hat) and some technological (an early motorcar ride). Young ladies of good families are sent to Greenlaw college to acquire the social graces and become marriageable. But some also learn varying degrees of witchery, although it is expressly forbidden to practice magic on campus. Teen hellion Faris Nallaneen, Duchess of Galazon, her best friend/social arbiter Jane Brailsford and Faris's blood enemy are all expelled from Greenlaw after exercising hitherto unguessed magic talents. Faris and Jane head to Paris, where Faris discovers that she is to inherit not only the throne of Galazon but also the supernatural post of Warden of the North.

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  • This was what I thought of based on the subject.
    – arp
    Mar 5 at 3:41
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    I agree that "College of Magics" is probably the book being sought. I'll just add a correction to the quoted reviews: Magic is definitely taught at Greenlaw, but not until the final year of study. Faris leaves the school before she gets to that point in her studies.
    – Ethan
    Mar 5 at 4:39
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Is it The North Tower by Michelle N. Hagood?

According to Goodreads:

Nineteen-year-old Charlie has been dealt a bad hand from the day she was born. Found in a trash can as a baby, she's been shipped from one foster home to another, each one worse than the last. When she's offered an escape, she takes it. But fate isn’t ready to be kind just yet.

After a brutal car crash, Charlie is dragged into an unfamiliar world of magic with promises of a fresh start at the Magisterium of Magic, a prestigious school for the rich and entitled. Here, she’s told that she’s a Royal, a member of the highest tier of Magic Users, with the kind of power most people would do anything to steal or control.

When a student abruptly leaves and she catches the School Master lying about it, she starts to question if the motives of her rescuers are pure. Or do these devious liars have a darker reason for finding her?

With the help of a crew of troublemakers, Charlie dives into one of the magic world's oldest mysteries, the death in the North Tower and the cunning ghost who haunts it. The identity of the ghostly woman and truth about the student’s departure could help Charlie decide who she can trust. Or it could prove that she should have trusted her instincts all along.

Maybe I am wrong. This author was not born until 2004.

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