Short book synopsis Noéline is determined not to let her intelligence and magical skills go to waste just because she was born a commoner and with an average power level. Yet, tricking her way into being admitted at the premier magical university of the country was easy compared to what comes after. Keeping pace with the powerful offspring of wealthy noble families is a constant struggle, not helped by the fact that they all feel the need to transform any group project and school competition into a state matter... But Noéline will graduate top of her year-mates, whoever she had to crush to do so!
High fantasy, slice-of-life, magical school subgenre, with a romance over the series.
Set in a secondary world where everyone has different levels of magical powers.
Unique selling point
Explore daily life in a magical university and students' daily struggles with team projects and dealing with rich spoiled brats and school drama.
The world is filled with inequality between the powerful and the weak, nobles and commoners, rich and poor. However, Noéline has lived a comfortable life so far, and she is not one to let technicalities like her lack of title get in her way. She always realistically accepts the limitations imposed on her by society and goes about finding a way to go beyond them.
Because of the big difference in magical power between individuals, a few people are enough to radically transform the country—provided they can all agree together.
Setting the scene
The kingdom is ruled by a hereditary royal family, in theory with the assistance of nobles seating in a Chamber. In practice, how much the monarchs have compared to the Chamber changes with every generation depending on individual political skills.
The rest of society is also very hierarchical. Yet, beyond the divide between nobles and commoners, there are many opportunities to improve one's social standing through gaining skills and a respected job. This is mostly done through apprenticeships with the correct persons or education at the right university.
The University of Claret is the premier university in the kingdom, and all of its alumni are guaranteed respect and the best employment offers. Contrary to others, this university is not interested in teaching students the basics, and it only accepts them after they have already obtained a university diploma from a lesser university.
Prospective students then have to pass a test to demonstrate their power, skills, and knowledge. In practice, power runs in family and politics have ensured that all the most powerful families have all been ennobled or wiped out. As such, most of the students admitted to the university are nobles or from related families, with only a few others getting admitted based on their skills.
The university is located next to a small town whose economy is based on supporting it. All students and staff are housed on the ground in individual apartments or houses whose size depends only on the means of their resident.
The university courses are divided into several branches. Students get to choose one or two majors and one to three minors depending on how studious they are. Students of each branch have their own reputations, and knowing someone's choices is an important part of deciphering their character.
Physical (all sorts of combat techniques and physical exercises): for future military officers, jocks or violent blood-thirsty and sometimes sadistic people.
Technologies(enchanting, spell crafting, rituals, architecture...): hands-on people. A safe choice, as this is one of the most useful branches of magic, but one for poor nobles who will need to make a living.
Materials(chemistry, alchemy (chemistry with magical procedures), geology, matter (theoretical physics)): similar to the technologies branch, but more practical and down-to-earth.
Calculations (divinatory statistics, arithmetic for spell crafting or rituals, geometry for spells or rituals, runes, astrophysics (divination and rituals), magnetism, photonics (light, illusion, colours)): for clever people who always have their head in numbers and don't like other people.
Nature(plant, fungi, and animal biologies, healing): for nice people, future healers or vets, pushovers.
Arts(literature (include philosophy), history, politics (include economics), psychology (include sociology), geography (include international relationships)): for politically connected nobles with high ambitious or rich people who want to learn how to manage their lands, all arrogant snobs.
Crafts(painting, sculpting, music..): for artists and superficial people without ambition and with too much money and free time.
Noéline has lived a comfortable life so far, with her parents have a good job, money and status in their local community. She could have an easy life handed out to her. But Noéline is ambitious. She wants knowledge and the respect that comes with the status of being one of the premier scholars in the country. And she has decided that she is not going to let something like her lack of raw power limit her.
Noéline is a very curious person who is passionate about learning absolutely everything. She has an amiable if slightly shy disposition, which hides a big arrogance and a devouring ambition. She is scornful about people who do not take advantage of the education opportunity given to them, and of people who think themselves cleverer than they are and who dare to look down on others—or at least those who do so without good justification.
After the success of her little plot to gain admittance to the best university in the country, Noéline is determined to enjoy her time there, learn as much as possible, and to not stand out—beyond her awesome academic talents, of course. She is not going to be happy to see anyone threaten her plans because of what she sees as immaturity and petty rivalry...
Majors calculations and technologies, minors materials and arts
The Hero: Lidéric. From a very important noble family. He is very friendly and outgoing, a bit impish and daring too. He is very loyal to his friends and family and often acts without thinking. He likes to be hands-on and to study things that he judges directly "useful".
Major physical, minors arts and nature (he is torn between becoming an officer or a healer)The Poor Relation: She is from an old noble family that has become impoverished. This causes her a lot of stress and worry about how she is going to earn money. She resents having to think about that and is often in denial and refuses to study with too much care.
Major physical, minors crafts (as a form of rebellion against only doing useful subjects) and technologies (to actually learn something that can be turned into a job)The Traitor: Members of his family betrayed the royal family. He is only accepted in society on sufferance, and he is regarded with high suspicion, even more because of the fact he refuses to act with caution. He is brash and provocative, and he hides his confusion about politics and where his loyalty lays.
Major physical, minors nature and arts (as a rebellion against people wary of him studying politics)
The Rival: From a very important family. He is ambitious and sees himself as very clever and talented, not liking other people beating him at anything, which has created a long rivalry with the hero around their duelling skills. His ambitions are mainly in joining his family in politics, but he is also torn with wanting to study sciences. For now, he is dividing his attention between both.
Majors arts and physical, minors materials and calculationsThe Prince: He is from a minor branch of the royal family. He is not in the same year level as the others. He is the best student the university has seen in generations and has been studying all of the different branches of studies available. He seems to be studious but also charming and gifted with people. He is highly respected and admired by the whole student body who all vie for his attention. This is causing tension with the rest of the royal family who are jealous of this.
Majors arts and technologies, minors calculations and physical (he is turning those minors into majors with extra work thanks to his teachers' indulgence, and also effectively making materials and nature into minors)
Noéline needs to keep hidden the fact that she does not technically have a high enough magical power to have passed the entrance exam to the university, or she would be dismissed immediately. With so many of the mandatory modules she has to take taking power for granted, it is proving to be far harder than it should be.
The student body is filled with rivalries more or less immature and violent. Since almost all students come from high society, they all have grown up knowing each other and being forced into close contact with each other. Most of them have long memory and are still feeling quite vindictive about events that happened in kindergarten... Added to that, is the fierce rivalry for grades, school competitions, and friendships and amorous relationships and the atmosphere is always quite explosive.
Despite the university sometimes feeling like an enclave from the external world, the reality can never be fully escaped. The alliances and quarrels between the noble families of the kingdom play an important role in their children's social life, and political drama can upend the university at any instant.
In addition, despite what the university might officially say, it is very clear that the students' family names have a great impact on the way they are treated by their teachers and the staff, their grade, and what they can get away with...