In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra is raised merely to sacrifice herself someday to ensure her people's vitality. In the desert outside, Gem, a mutant boy, fights to keep his people from starvation. Neither dreams that together they could return balance to their world. Isra, a Smooth Skin, bound by magical covenant to the city of Yuan, wants to help the Banished people of her city, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits the blind princess believes she also possesses. One night, Gem is captured while trying to steal the city's enchanted roses, and he becomes Isra's beastly prisoner from the desert. But when Isra enlists the aid of Gem to help her grow herbs that will prevent mutation, she discovers just how human he is, and she begins to question everything she's been raised to believe. As dark secrets from the past are revealed and Isra's sight returned, she will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.