In this thrilling sequel, Gemma continues to pursue her destiny to bind the magic of the Realms and restore it to the Order. Gemma and her friends from Spence use magical power to transport themselves on visits from their corseted world of Victorian London (at the height of the Christmas season), to the visionary country of the Realms, with its strange beauty and menace. There they search for the lost Temple, the key to Gemma's mission, and comfort Pippa, their friend who has been left behind in the Realms.
After these visits they bring back magical power for a short time to use in their own world. Meanwhile, Gemma is torn between her attraction to the exotic Kartik, the messenger from the opposing forces of the Rakshana, and the handsome but clueless Simon, a young man of good family who is courting her.
This is the second book in Libba Bray's engrossing trilogy, set in a time of strict morality and barely repressed sensuality, about a girl who saw another way.