Delphernia Undersea wants to sing. But everyone on Blightsend knows music belongs to the Masters -- and girls with singing throats are swallowed by the sea. On the strange, stormy island of Blightsend, twelve-year-old Delphernia Undersea has spent her whole life in the cloister of turnaway girls, hidden from sea and sky by a dome of stone and the laws of the island. Outside, the Masters play their music. Inside, the turnaway girls silently make that music into gold. Making shimmer, Mother Nine calls it. But Delphernia can't make shimmer. She would rather sing than stay silent. When a Master who doesn't act like a Master comes to the skydoor, it's a chance for Delphernia to leave the cloister. Outside the stone dome, the sea breathes like a wild beast, the sky watches with stars like eyes, and even the gardens have claws. Outside, secrets fall silent in halls without sound. And outside, Delphernia is caught -- between the island's sinister Custodian and its mysterious Childer-Queen. Between a poem-speaking prince and a girl who feels like freedom. And in a debut that glimmers with hope and beauty, freedom -- to sing, to change, to live -- is precisely what's at stake.
Enduring a cloistered existence as one of a group of hidden girls who laboriously transform music into gold, Delphernia Undersea, who longs to sing despite laws that restrict music-making to the Masters, escapes into a treacherous outside world.