Literature / Frontier Magic

Frontier Magic is a trilogy of Young Adult novels by Patricia C. Wrede. The books are:

They tell the Coming-of-Age Story of Eff Rothmer, a supposedly unlucky thirteenth child, and her twin brother, Lan, a seventh son of a seventh son. They and their family live out on the edge of the relatively safe part of the United States of Columbia, watching as every year more and more people brave the dangerous wildlife to settle the frontier.

This series provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: The names of the baby Medusa Lizards in the 3rd book are Sthenno, Euryale and Fred.
  • Alternate History: Its fairly clear that while we are on Earth history has not progressed quite the same way. For instance there are no Native Americans.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The Society of Progressive Rationalists
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Cathayan magic works by pooling the magical energies of dozens of mages and channeling them through a single adept. This allows for phenomenal feats of magic like leveling mountains or damming rivers, but it's kind of useless when you just want to light the cookfire.
  • Badass Family: The Rothmers
  • Badass Normal: William Graham is this by the third book, compared to Eff and Lan. Brant is a more typical example, as he doesn't even use magic, but still managed to save a dozen people from certain death.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Daybats
  • Boring, but Practical: Avrupan magic may not be quite as impressive as Afrikan or Cathayan, but it is the king of useful little spells like making heavy things lighter or speeding up travel or lighting a fire.
  • World of Action Girls: Eff, Miss Ochiba and Prof Torgeson are just a few. Eff even says that the farther west you get, the less people care about what you are than what you can do.
  • Wizarding School: Avrupan magic is a standard school subject from age 10. At the University level all the schools mentioned seem to be exclusively wizards schools.