When her father disappeared into limbo years ago, Tessa's world fell apart. It took her discovery of magic for her to begin to put things back together. But she hasn't been able to restore her father from his ghostly half-existence--and he is fading fast.
Magic has a price, and Tessa is learning that it is both steep and deadly. The phoenix wizard who could train her has deserted Tessa. She has friends among the Iron dwarves and harpies, even a lesser demon, and the mysterious Malender with his sinister whip of thorns and fire. But she is still faced with a delicate balancing act.
Then her mother incurs the wrath of the magical world when she writes a dissertation exposing its reality. That is the final straw, as Magic fights back and an assassin accepts a contract on their lives. Tessa must learn to master her new powers as a sorceress, or everyone and everything she loves is doomed.