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I'm looking for a book I read at least 20 years ago (2004) with a female main character. In their world, only boys and men really have magic, but the main character does as well.

She goes to a magic school and ends up getting into a fight with one of the kids and having to leave. I remember she underwent some kind of magic trial and ended up with three neck rings. Only the highest-level sorcerer/wizard guy she knew had 3. She ends up apprenticing as a healer/midwife and then her teacher dies.

At the end, all the magic users have to band together to save the world from some type of evil presence, and it turns out that plenty of women have magic as well. Does anyone have any ideas?

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  • I don't think this is correct (so just a comment), but the description has certain parallels to the Tiffany Aching stories or perhaps Eskarina Smith from Equal Rites (both from Terry Pratchett's Discword). Commented Mar 20 at 18:28
  • @JoelCoehoorn Same to me, but it's obvious it's not the same story as either of those. In Discworld, the usual rule was that girls could be witches and boys went to magic academy (as "girls can't grow long white beards").
    – Uncle Dino
    Commented Mar 22 at 0:45

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The neck rings on mages made me think of this unaccepted story-id answer by Valorum suggesting Nameless Magery by Delia Marshall Turner, published in 1998. Per the book description, the protagonist Lisane is from a place where women can wield magic, but has to flee to a land where the only mages are men.

Raised to be Queen of her people, to wield the magic born from ller, Lisane found precarious refuge in a distant land where only men wielded power. Still able to call up the mystic currents of ller, she was saved from summary execution by the maddeningly handsome Kaihan, King and Wizard. Thus Lisane was placed with the other young adepts--the only female among them--and the only true mage that could save them.

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    After Lisane is awarded the three rings by the Beast (actually a centaur she had already met) she does train as a herbalist. Commented Mar 20 at 10:05
  • That's it!!! Thank you!!!! I have looked at literally hundreds of titles trying to find this. Commented Mar 21 at 12:12

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