Chapter 1: As Adelice, Jost, and Erik land on Earth after Adelice rips them from Arras, Adelice and Josh spot a ship floating in the sky, along a raw strand that is weaved into the sky. When Adelice attempts to veil herself and Josh from the ship, Adelice accidently pulls a strand that tears across the hull of the shop. This results in the ship falling out of the sky. Adelice miscalculated the nature of the threads on Earth, as they are much more loosely connected, flexible, and full of life than those on Arras. It is because of her difficulty weaving the threads on Earth that the ship crashes. Jost begins to take Adelice toward the metro that lies a few miles from where they are. Erik signals them into a shack that blends into the shadowed landscape. Adelice begins to note the relatively heavy air, and chill of it reminds her of the cell that she was kept in at the Coventry. She begins to panic as she thinks of when Cormac would eventually capture her (especially because the ship that she attacked would signal her presence to the Guild) and make her his wife.
Jost tends to the burns on Adelice’s skin. Erik accuses Adelice of revealing their position, and Jost defends her. This results in an argument between the two brothers. Erik and Jost begin to bring up past grudges, particularly Jost’s issue with Erik’s indifference to the Guild’s killing of his wife, daughter, and the brothers’ mother, and more generally Erik’s apathy towards the injustices of Guild. Jost reveals to Erik that he has a daughter, to which Erik reacts with complete shock. Their argument reveals the misunderstanding between the brothers about why Jost disapproves of Erik’s actions in relation to the Guild and why Erik left to join the Guild in the first place. Adelice and Jost head out to survey the outside of the shack, with the argument ending on the brink of a fistfight between the two brothers. Outside the shack, a mysterious female confronts them, asking if they had anything to do with the ship going down. Adelice lies and says that they only saw it happen. The female asks them to show her their necks, for purposes of identification. At first, she does not trust them, and is about to shoot them. Adelice abruptly shoves up her sleeve and shows the pale hourglass on her arm, and upon seeing it the female is shocked and lowers her gun. She tells Jost and Adelice to go to the Icebox, the city closest to their present location and outside of Guild control. The female reveals that they are currently in the remains of the state of California. She warns them to stay hidden and not go out after hours. Jost and Adelice wonder why the female found Adelice’s techprint on her arm to be of interest.
Chapter 2: The trio arrives in the Icebox and eventually become accustomed to its idiosyncrasies. Not knowing what to expect, they find people, shops, and solar-powered lights. Erik quickly discovers that they can pawn small items for currency, allowing them to stay in a cheap hotel room. The Icebox itself is conglomeration of buildings from before the war and ones constructed by the syndicate that runs the entire metro. This syndicate is the Sunrunners, a powerful group that controls the Icebox through the monopolizing of solar trade. Sunrunners control the solar energy because they are, allegedly, the only ones brave enough to venture outside the borders of the Interface, where the Guild mining zones exist. The rules in the Icebox, reinforced by large signs, stated that solar hours are limited to 7-8 hours a day, and that patrolling stops at 7:15 (Sunrunners are the patrollers). There are refugees all over the Icebox’s main blocks. To avoid suspicion, the trio splits up, with Jost and Adelice exploring the grey market, where contraband is traded. Adelice thinks that she glimpses Valery and begins to chase after her, even though Jost tells Adelice that Valery is dead. Adelice ultimately loses the mysterious Valery figure, but she ends up at a store full of books.
Chapter 3: In the store, called ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’, Adelice becomes distracted by adages from the past, and finds a radio in addition to some of Shakespeare’s sonnets. As she peruses the books, an old woman appears in the doorway and questions Adelice’s interest in the books. Adelice replies that her parents had some books when she was young. The woman tells her to keep the book, but Adelice insists on giving something her some sort of payment, offering one of her emerald earrings. When Jost enters the store and begins protesting Adelice’s barter, an old bulletin, which talks about the Cypress Project during World War II, catches Adelice’s eye. One individual from the bulletin stands out: Adelice and Jost think that one of the men in the picture is Cormac. They ask the woman about the Cypress Project and insist on details, but the woman tells them to get out. The woman accuses them of being part of something called the Kairos Agenda, rebels whom she accuses of being worse than the Guild of Twelve Nations that committed reprehensible crimes. As Jost shoves the bulletin in his pocket and takes Adelice to leave, the woman calls them thieves. A figure overhears them and asks what Greta is yelling about.
Chapter 4: As the figure approaches Adelice and Jost, Adelice realizes that he is a Sunrunner that she saw before. She gets anxious in his presence. The Sunrunner asks Greta what the commotion is about, and she accuses Adelice and Jost of thievery again. The Sunrunner, in a light mood, dismisses Greta’s accusations. He tells Adelice and Jost to get back to their hotel as soon as possible, and offers to accompany them in finding Erik. But he then states that the hotel is too far to travel to safely, and he offers them safety in his safe house near the grey market. Before Jost can object, Adelice accepts his offer. The Sunrunner reveals his name to be Dante. He is curious as to why Greta caused such a commotion about Adelice and Jost. When they enter the safe house, Dante goes to prepare dinner. In the meantime, Adelice and Jost share a kiss. When Dante returns, he presses the two about Greta and her reaction again, so Adelice shows him the hourglass on her wrist. He says that it is the sign of Kairos, and that he has not been very polite; he formally welcomes the both of them to Earth.
Chapter 5: As Dante, Adelice, and Jost are eating a luxurious meal (compared to what Jost and Adelice have been eating lately) the three of them converse about Sunrunning: Dante reveals that his boss Kincaid only hires men, and only particular kinds of men, to do Sunrunning. No women are allowed to do it. He warns the two to remain clear of him. Adelice tries to change the topic and asks more about the mechanics of Sunrunning. Dante explains: sunlight is captured, converted to electricity, and rationed out to shops and people. The curfew exists because there is not enough sunlight to keep the Icebox running for the entire day. But the Icebox is closer to the Interface, which means it is able to have longer daylight hours. Dante says that people do not stay out afterhours because of Remnants, or ‘Rems’ for short. Rems do not have souls, and eat anything, including humans, as food is in short supply. They are smart and capable but have been stripped of what makes them human. Dante reassures them that Rems do not last long in the Icebox because the conditions are too uncontrollable, the food too scarce, and at some point the Rems turn on one another. The Rems are sent to wage war on behalf of the Guild. Dante also reveals that Kincaid controls everything under the Interface. The only way to collect solar energy (which has to be collected from outside the Interface, in Guild territory) is not getting caught. Dante asks Jost and Adelice why they left Arras, and Jost answers that they have lost people in the Guild. Adelice tells Dante that her family is Lewys, and Dante reacts in shock. Before he can inquire further, there is an alarm signaling a perimeter breach in the safe house. The security feed shows Rems tearing at dumpsters in an alley. The feed also shows that one of the Rems is stuck under a steel door in the alley, and that the Rems have Erik.
Chapter 6: Dante pulls rifles from a storage unit. He and Jost grab rifles; Adelice has a small knife in her hand. Dante, through subtle hints, reveals that he knows Adelice is a Spinster. When Adelice goes to retrieve Erik, Erik says that the Rems were the ones to bring him to the safe house. A Rem has Dante pinned down, and Adelice uses her knife to slice across the Rem’s back. Adelice, Jost, and Erik begin to follow Dante. Before she leaves, Adelice recognizes that the Rem under the steel door is her mother, but very changed from before. Dante concludes from this that the Rems came for Adelice. Erik says that the man with whom he was trading sold him out to the Guild. Dante says that they sent Adelice’s mother to scare Adelice, and Adelice asks if Dante could spare her mother’s life. He captures her and says that he can take her to a holding cell on Kincaid’s estate. Dante says that they all need Kincaid as an ally, and he will want retribution for what the Remnants did – so it is best if Adelice and company go to his estate.
Chapter 7: Adelice has a nightmare that Amie is among a pack of Remnants coming for her. Jost wakes her, and he hugs her tight. She begins to wonder who is keeping secrets from her, and what those secrets are. One thing is clear to her: Cormac knows where she is. They travel to the mountains in a crawler, which looks like a cage with wheels. Kincaid’s estate takes the crew by surprise: it is so luxurious that it is almost a metro unto itself. Pillars loom overhead, creating an artificial lighting system, which mimics the sun. As Dante goes to put Adelice’s mother in a holding cell, Jax welcomes the rest of them. Jax gives them a tour of the estate and how it works. As the three of them discuss Remnants, making conjectures as to how they are made, Kincaid walks in. He introduces himself, and when Erik demands answers about the nature of the Remnants and the Guild’s activities, Kincaid says that they must first become friends.
The beginning of the novel reveals an almost entirely different world than that of Arras. On Earth the different nature of the thread, the heavier air, Sunrunners, and the refuge/rebellious-esque nature place the world in stark contrast to Arras. This creates an unanticipated anxiety in Adelice, who hadn’t expected that many of the problems and types of people that she came across in Arras would not necessarily exist on Earth. Nonetheless, the Guild is still after her, more than ever, and more interestingly, as she notes multiple times, everyone has their secrets.
The rather anticipated love triangle between Adelice, Jost, and Erik also finds its roots in this part of the book. Though Erik is hostile to Adelice, lambasting her for the destruction of the ship, he eventually softens up. In particular, when he splits from Jost and Adelice in the Icebox grey market, he shows some compassion, and tells Jost to take care of her. Jost, on the other hand, is much more outwardly protective and expressive about her, not only protecting her from Dante and Erik’s criticism, but also sharing a passionate kiss with her. Nonetheless, Erik and Jost are more skeptical of the people of Earth and less willing to take risks than Adelice. Adelice is adventurous to the chagrin of both the brothers.
Dante is an interesting interlocutor in this complex web of relationships as well – his motives and intentions for helping Adelice and her friends are still unclear beyond his acknowledgement of the symbol of the Kairos on Adelice’s wrist. Even the nature of the Kairos is yet unclear. More interestingly, Dante’s shock when he heard Adelice’s family name is also something that still awaits explanation – though there is some indication that Dante’s reluctance to kill the Remnant of Adelice’s mother may have something to do with it.
The theme of secrets and ambiguity is in full effect here, and there is little telling what Kincaid himself wants from Adelice and her friends, why he stands in opposition to the Guild, why he takes only men as Sunrunners, and how he came to be so powerful in the first place. If this secret-keeping theme persists, then there is little doubt that Adelice will have a difficult time finding the answers that she wants – not least of which includes knowing how her mother become a Remnant, and what exactly her mother wants.
Another source of great anxiety for Adelice is the imminent threat of the Guild and the question of what could happen to her sister, Amie. She awakes from a nightmare in which she envisions Amie as a Remnant. She begins to struggle with the question of whether she should be fighting for the greater humanity, or for her friends and family – certainly a powerful internal dynamic with which she continues to struggle throughout the book.