Ambition always has a price - and if you're Xifeng, who's heard over and over from her aunt's dark fortunetelling cards that one day, her incredible beauty will lead her to become Empress, you aren't sure it's a price you want to pay. So with her boyfriend Wei, she runs away from her fear and her aunt's cruelties towards the capital city. She's smart, determined, and to her surprise, she has a knack for getting ahead when others fail. But something inhuman, magical, and very, very old begins to whisper in Xifeng's ear. How far can she rise? And sacrifice - does she have to be the one to make it? Or...can someone else take her place? Julie Dao's book is a must-read for fans of Kendare Blake, Marie Lu, and Laini Taylor.