Kenji has always known he was a witch. Except when his mother killed herself after becoming corrupted from dark magic, he's whisked away with his older sister to live with his Aunt. When most witches are being sent to the Academies to learn their craft, Kenji and Maiko stay hidden under their Aunt's careful eye. His Aunt runs a bookstore, while dealing banned witch materials on the side, but doesn't allow them to so much as peek at the witching world. Then on his sixteenth birthday Maiko runs away to learn magic. After failing to protect his sister, his Aunt teaches him enough magic to keep him from fleeing as well. Kenji even begins to help with witch business. But still he remains broken away from his heritage. When Kenji turns eighteen and receives a letter from Blackburn Academy, the most prestigious of witch schools, his Aunt begs him to run away with her. She tells him that if he were to return to the witching world he would be a dead man walking. Kenji, however, is sick of secrets and hiding. Despite his lack of magical knowledge, he prepares to attend Blackburn. But the witching world is nothing like Kenji imagined. It is a world in crisis. Witches all over the globe are Turning, becoming wretched, deformed creatures called the Hollowed. Such creatures kill any human, taking their souls to power their twisted magic. Amidst the horror, a pureblood movement seeking to regain power over society gains traction. At Blackburn Academy, tensions between those from pureblood families and the so-called "tainted bloodlines" reach a fever pitch. Kenji arrives into the chaos of this world ignorant and afraid. All the while rumors of students practicing the dark arts spread as others disappear mysteriously. Then their bodies begin to turn up. Then there's the sister he's reunited with after two long years. Maiko tells him that much of what their Aunt told them was lies, but one thing is true, a powerful force in the witching world wants their family dead.