The stars died three days before Blaire was born.
It was an unremarkable, mild day, the sky blue and cloudless. Blaire’s history books referred to the phenomenon as stellar death: the sudden, inexplicable disappearance of every known star. When she applied for her school’s astronomy program—an archaic field, full of pseudoscientists, believers of myth and fairy tale—she described a star as a dangerous pinprick of light.
Blaire has always felt trapped on Earth, trapped beneath a black and empty sky. But with Tabietha, her best friend, things are better. Together they imagine a life in which the sky—dreary, sun distant and diluted—is full of stars. But when Tabietha is shot, forcing both of them on the run, the world becomes larger than Blaire could ever have dreamed.
The universe is sick, and Tabietha is the only one who knows how to keep it from dying. She has been sealing seams—tears in the fabric of the universe, leaking a poisonous substance known as sieh—for years, trying to determine the cause of the sickness, but now it seems that someone wants to stop her.
Driven from Earth by masked assassins, the two find refuge in the city of Saeter. Beneath a red sky punctured by tall, black spires, Blaire encounters not only the sieh but the people who worship it. Surrounded by saints, devotions etched into their skin, Blaire wrestles with her new place in the universe as Tabietha investigates the assassins.
Their reason for being on Saeter, Tabietha warns Blaire, has to remain a secret. In the wrong hands, it could kill them both. However, when Tabietha goes missing, Blaire is left with a choice: tell Jacen—the man who saved her life—the truth and save her best friend, or lie, and doom the universe to a horrific fate.