In this sequel to "Shadowfell", Neryn along with her protector, Tali, travel to the West and the North, so neryn can learn from the Guardians how to use her powers. Having reached the rebel group led by Regan in the first novel, Neryn spends time at the rebel camp healing and growing stronger. As a Caller, she has the unique ability to talk to uncanny folk- or fairies. Having this skill will give the rebels an enormous advantage if Neryn can learn to control her power. She knows she must meet with the four Guardians, one from the North, South, East and West, in order to master her skill.
When the rebel emissaries return, they bring a mixture of news. Lannan, an influential chieftain, will join their cause, as long as they make their move the summer after next, which meant that Neryn has to start her training as a Caller immediately. To Learn the location of the first Guardian, she holds a banquet and invites the uncanny folk to join. Regan convinces them to join their cause, acting as messengers, and to tell Neryn where to find the Hag of the isles, the Western Guardian.
Neryn and Tali set out on their own heading to the Western Isles. They retrace the path Neryn originally took to reach Shadowfell and the journey is difficult. Physically, Neryn is stronger, but reliving her journey to Shadowfell is painful. They meet the first of Neryn's uncanny friends in the brollachan, whom she met when she had to cross his bridge. He warns them that the way they are traveling is dangerous, and suggests a different route, one that crosses dangerous territory. On this path, they encounter "hunters" and Neryn must again use her power to save her and Tali. She calls up a water spirit that turns their attackers into fish, then they continue their journey. They encounter the ghosts Neryn met in the first story, avoid the king's Enforcers, and eventually make it to the coast.
Neryn is told by one of the others to go to a cove before dawn to catch a boat to the isles. Turns out Flint, who acts as a spy for the rebels in the king's court, also has business in the isles. He and Neryn are reunited for a little while, and they admit to loving each other. But the rebellion calls, and they are soon parted.
Neryn succeeds in finding the Hag and learning about her power. she learns that a Caller does not posses the power, that she is simply a conduit for the power that exists in nature. Eventually, after a few months, the Hag is satisfied, and sends Neryn and Tali on their way, to head to the Northern Guardian.
But their travel is interrupted by a mass pilgrimage to the Gathering, an annual celebration of games and power. Tali gets into a fight and is apprehended by Enforcers, and Neryn, unable to leave her companion behind and run, goes to the Gathering to try and rescue her. The Gathering turns into a brutal and cruel system of punishment organized by King Keldec himself. As Tali's punishment, he calls his lead Enthraller, Flint, to destroy Tali's mind, and make her loyal to the crown.
Neryn watches, horrified as Tali turns into a shell of the woman she once was, at the hands of the man she loves. Luckily, she is able to rescue Tali, and once they are safe, Tali becomes herself again, telling Neryn it was all an act-Flint did not actually harm her.
They then get help from the uncanny folk and make it all the way to the North overnight. There, Neryn must first save the Lord of the North from a deep sleep. She accomplishes this by Calling his wife back to him, and grateful, he teaches her how to Call a lot of uncanny folk at once, or how to Call single individuals she had never seen.
She completes her training and returns to Shadowfell with Tali, only to discover the rebel leader was killed while on a mission. Tali lost all hope, but Neryn was able to pull her back and convince Tali to step into the leadership role left empty by Regan. She agrees to continue Regan's cause.
Meanwhile, Flint discovers that King Keldec has found another caller. He seems to desert his post as the King's confidant to return Regan's remains to Shadowfell.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like the struggles the characters go through, and how they prevail, but only after a great cost to themselves. It rings true because the good guys do get hurt and don't win every single battle.
Best scene in story:
I really enjoy the scenes at the Gathering. They begin as just fun games to show strength and endurance. But you really get to see the cruel kind of leader Keldec is when he has participants brutally hurt just to prove a point. The moment when Flint must Enthrall Tali is great because you truly believe he destroyed her, and how can you love the male protagonist after something like that? Neryn's confusion and pain are yours, as is her joy when you find out it was all an act.
Opinion about the main character:
I love Neryn's determination to never give up, even when it means breaking the rules and putting herself in danger. Luckily, she has friends to help her and her instincts are sound, so she's able to rescue Tali, etc., and grow as a character.