Rose has been imprisoned after allegations were made against her that she had killed Queen Tatiana. It is the day of the Queen’s funeral and as the ceremony is taking place, an explosion suddenly goes off. The Guardians holding Rose captive go to survey the situation. This allows for Abe, Dimitri and Eddie to break Rose of of prison. Dimitri and Rose escape court and travel to meet Sydney, the Alchemist, who provides them with food and clothing. They reveal to her that Rose will be kept in hiding until Lissa can find evidence that Rose did not kill the Queen.
Dimitri has been instructed by Lissa to protect Rose during this time, and he agreed because he feels a strong sense of loyalty towards Lissa after she ‘restored’ him from being Stirgoi. However, Rose convinces them that they should try to find Lissa’s long-lost half-sibling. Sydney is worried about Rose being noticed by anyone in the town they are staying at, so they decide to stay with the Keepers, a group of humans, Moroi and Damphir’s who have shunned civilisation. They learn that the only person who knew of Lissa’s half-sibling is Sonya Karp, Rose’s old teacher who willingly became Strigoi because she couldn’t cope with the depression and insanity that came along with her Spirit magic.
Rose also encounters Victor and Robert in a spirit dream and he informs them that he will meet up with them at Sonya’s house. When they arrive at Sonya’s house, Robert uses a Spirit-infused stake to restore Sonya back into a Moroi. Dimitri helps Sonya to cope with her transformation and she agrees to help them find Lissa’s half-sibling. They discover that Lissa’s half-sister is actually Jill Mastrano, a girl from their school. However, Guardian’s arrive at the Mastrano house and Rose and Dimitri are forced to escape, letting the Dashkov brothers kidnap Jill.
At Court, Lissa has been voted into the running to be the new Queen of the Moroi. She participates in multiple tests and passes them all. However, the law states that in order to be a successor for the throne, the bloodline one comes from must hold at least two surviving family members. This is why Queen Tatiana left a message with Rose; she knew that someone was coming to kill her and wanted Lissa to become Queen. Rose and Dimitri track down where the Dashkov brother’s are hiding out and a fight issues between them. Rose’s anger gets the better of her and she brutally ends up killing Victor. She feels extremely guilty about her actions but Dimitri helps her to forgive herself. He then admits that he still loves her and the two end up having sex.
They both travel back to Court, where Adrian greets them. However, Adrian witnesses Dimitri kissing Rose’s forehead and he realises that Rose has cheated on him. Dimitri and Rose then arrive in front of the Moroi council where a huge debate is being led on whether Lissa should be able to qualify for the title of Queen despite being the last of her bloodline. Rose interrupts them and reveals that Queen Tatiana’s killer was actually Tasha Ozera who planted Rose’s stake after killing the Queen, because she was envious of rose and Dimitri’s relationship as she was in love with him. Tasha threatens to shoot her gun if anyone approaches her and accidently fires, aiming at Lissa. Rose jumps in front and takes the bullet.
She awakens after a few days where she is met with Dimitri. He informs her that both have been pardoned of their ‘crimes’ and Rose is Lissa’s Guardian whilst Dimitri is Christian’s Guardian. Lissa also comes to visit, and rose realises that their Spirit bond is now gone. It is concluded that because Rose was able to bring herself back to life without the use of spirit, she is no longer shadow-kissed. Rose then visits Adrian, who bitterly informs her that she broke his heart. The novel ends with Lissa’s coronation and Rose and Dimtri in an embrace.