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As ironic as this is, I work at a bookstore and can't remember the name of this book or its author.

I'm looking for a fantasy book set in a world where people have magic. The protagonist is a woman who is without magic, and happy about it, and then her magical sister dies, which upsets her power hungry father. The protagonist is then summoned to royal court, which I think started with an 'M'.

Other details I do remember is that the author is a woman, it is part of a larger universe type series with different protagonists/narrators. The cover on the one that came into the store (which, I guess was bought rather quickly) had those modern covers. The type with an actual real life model and edited to have fantasy elements.
It came into the store about three weeks ago, but we are a used bookstore. It was paperback. Fantasy world, not our Earth, with a European style society. Not a particularly long book, not like the Outlander series. Not a 2023/24 release because those go to a single shelf in the store. The main character is happy to not have magic because it frees her from her father's power grabs.

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  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Do you happen to remember when you read this? Was it a hardcover or paperback? Do you recall the cover art?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jul 9 at 19:28
  • 2
    I recommend visiting scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9335/… to find more details to edit in. For example, when did you read it? Was it a paperback? Hardback? Set on a recognizable Earth? European kind of society?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 9 at 19:28
  • @DavidW It was a paperback and I didn't get a chance to actually read it, but that description was the summary on the back. It was about three weeks ago when it came into the store. Looked to be published within the past few years.
    – Cecelia M
    Commented Jul 9 at 19:30
  • @FuzzyBoots Sadly not the book, but I will look into that one because it seems fun!
    – Cecelia M
    Commented Jul 9 at 19:38
  • Thank you for the edits! It really does help. If someone posts a correct answer, you can accept by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons as per the tour. Incorrect answers are an excellent opportunity to edit in newly remembered details, e.g. "I know it can't be Middlemarch because the magic system involved invoking nursery rhymes and the love interest had dark red skin and bright green eyes."
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 9 at 19:39

1 Answer 1

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It's not an exact match, but perhaps it's A Crown of Ivy and Glass by Claire LeGrand?

Front cover of A Crown of Ivy and Glass

Lady Gemma Ashbourne seemingly has it all. She's young, gorgeous, and rich. Her family was Anointed by the gods, blessed with incredible abilities. But underneath her glittering façade, Gemma is deeply sad. Years ago, her sister Mara was taken to the Middlemist to guard against treacherous magic. Her mother abandoned the family. Her father and eldest sister, Farrin—embroiled in a deadly blood feud with the mysterious Bask family—often forget Gemma exists.

Worst of all, Gemma is the only Ashbourne to possess no magic. Instead, her body fights it like poison. Constantly ill, aching with loneliness, Gemma craves love and yearns to belong.

Then she meets the devastatingly handsome Talan d'Astier. His family destroyed themselves, seduced by a demon, and Talan, the only survivor, is determined to redeem their honor. Intrigued and enchanted, Gemma proposes a bargain: She'll help Talan navigate high society if he helps her destroy the Basks. According to popular legend, a demon called The Man With the Three-Eyed Crown is behind the families' blood feud—slay the demon, end the feud.

But attacks on the Middlemist are increasing. The plot against the Basks quickly spirals out of control. And something immense and terrifying is awakening in Gemma, drawing her inexorably toward Talan and an all-consuming passion that could destroy her—or show her the true strength of her power at last.

It's got the young woman with a power-hungry father and sisters, one of which was sent to a place starting with an M, who alone among her family cannot use magic. Not matching, it seems her sister is still alive, as she is apparently the featured character in book 3. Also, this seems to be the only cover, and does not involve models photoshopped into fantasy. It is from 2023, so pretty recent.

Search terms of site:goodreads.com fantasy sister "no magic" court

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