Title: To Dream of Sky
Intended Audience: YA/late teens
All her life, Rowan has grown up hearing her father’s stories of Alitheia, the parallel world of technology and magic hidden from Earth and its population. When his death in an earthquake plagues her with nightmares and leaves her mother afraid and unwilling to talk about magic, Rowan thinks her life can’t possibly get any worse.
Until, when she is sixteen, she summons magic for the first time. Despite all her mother’s efforts to keep her safe, her magic is tracked by the Alitheians and she is taken away from home against her will. Brought to the runecasting academy of Alitheia, she finds the people she’s feared for so long aren’t actually dangerous; they’re runecasters just like her. As she finally learns to use her magic for the first time, it’s hard not to be allured by the mystery-entrenched North Academy and Alitheia’s stunning cities of architecture and technology. But despite the things she’s learned and the friends she’s found, there are several things she can’t get past—like the unexplained murders of several academy students, how everyone seems to know her name, and why her mother fears the place she feels could finally be home.
Confronted with the possibility that the academies aren’t what they seem, Rowan starts an investigation of her own and uncovers the truth behind Alitheia’s centuries of war.
When Rowan is framed for the murder of several academy students, she must flee back to Earth to avoid facing the punishment of a crime that isn’t hers—death. And in the process, she discovers that her own magic has far deeper roots than what she’d imagined; for she’s the Soothsayer, one of the few ancient roles passed down through Alitheia’s history and whose arrival is a foretelling of war.
As a time manipulator, she’ll play an important part in the conflict she knows will come. But if the North Academy has its way, she’ll never survive to see that destiny through. And the academy isn’t her only threat, for as the Soothsayer, other rogue Alitheian sects will seek to use her abilities for themselves.
When she is captured by the Alitheian rogues and caught in a fight between the academies, Rowan discovers she still has allies in Alitheia: her friends and runecasting instructor are trying to clear her name, and with Rowan’s help, they do—just in time to stop her death at the hands of the academy.
When the murderer is caught and the Alitheian rogues stopped, Rowan’s life finally returns to some sense of normalcy. She knows, however, that it’s not. Not only does she suspect the academy had a hand in her father’s death, but a war is coming—and in the light of everything she’s seen, Rowan is no longer sure she’s fighting on the right side.
Major Plotlines/Arcs to Conclusion
During her time at the academy, Rowan observes that what they are being taught isn’t true and that the world she knows isn’t what it seems. With her friend Alec, she investigates and finds not only that the academy wars of ancient history are still ongoing, but that she is the prime suspect for the murder of several academy students. When she is framed as the murderer, she must escape the academy and survive on Earth while Alec and their runecasting instructor Darien try to clear her name before she is killed.
Over the course of the story, Rowan works on getting over her insomnia and accepting her father’s death, concluded at the end of the story when she dreams of the sky again like she did when she was a little girl (hence the title). She also has to grow to accept her powers as the Soothsayer and decide for herself who to support in the war between the academies.
Notes: This is the first book of a series of five, which is why several plotlines are unresolved such as the death of her father and the war between the academies. There are also a lot of smaller plotlines I couldn’t squeeze into the summary.
Worldbuilding behind the academy wars: the different sectors of Alitheia are essentially indoctrinated to hate the other sectors. This cycle has continued for thousands of years, battles breaking out constantly over different catalysts like the Soothsayer and runestones (ancient powerful artifacts that grant immense power - think Infinity Stones).
Unique: I haven’t been able to squeeze much worldbuilding in the summary, but Alitheia is a world with futuristic technology (holograms, drones, etc) and ancient magic (runecasting, elemental magic, light-bending).
I’m looking for any way to improve that I can. Also, one question: are the stakes too small? The only thing really at threat is Rowan’s life, and for a fantasy story as such I’m afraid it’s not enough.