Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She’s used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she’d be powerful enough to tear down the walls of the brutal ship where she and her ancestors have lived for generations. The lowdeck slums of HSS Matilda, an antiquated space vessel ferrying the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land, is a prison Aster wants desperately to escape.
When an autopsy of Matilda’s head reveals a surprising link between his death and Aster’s mother’s suicide a quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps in hopes of finding out the truth behind Matilda’s voyage. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way out of this life if she’s willing to fight for it.