Od Magic (2005) is a wondrous many-threaded narrative. The wizard Od recruits a new gardener Brendan for her school in Kelior, but he is more than he or others suspect. The kings of Kelior have made Od's school more of a way to stifle magic than to encourage it, they even fear a trickster Tyramin who comes to Kelior to amuse the common people. Princess Sulys is not so sure she wants the future her father has mapped out for her.
A host of rich well-drawn characters fill this book which is told from multiple perspectives. There's no-one really evil in this book, just the way what would be called bureaucracy in our world warps the thinking of the people it nominally serves. Od Magic could be seen as both commenting on the way human societies tend to get old and gnarly, and also as offering hope that people can find their humanity again.
Whether the magic in Od Magic is a metaphor for something else, or just part of the tapestry of a glorious story, there are a number of kinds of magic in Od Magic. There is the wondrous ancient magic which the gardener is in tune with despite himself, there is the regulated controlled magic of the school, and there is Tyramin's popular magic which exists beneath the radar as far as authority is concerned.
The moral may be that we all need to take a walk on the wild side from time to time. As the magicians from the cloistered school need to get out into the Twilight Quarter of Kelior to know what magic really is.