by Kami Garcia & Margrette Stohl
Lena tries to deal with Ethan’s death, but is having a difficult time with it. her world was shattered to save a world that she sometimes thinks wasn’t worth saving She is in denial of the whole situation.
Ethan wakes up to a blue sky. He later realizes that he is in his bedroom, not heaven. He hears a noise downstairs and calls out for Amma, but it is his mom that answers.
He eats fried green tomatoes with his mother as he realizes that he is dead. In the real world, his friends have been keeping his father from knowing that. He says that he has to let Lena know that he is alright. His mother explains that it is very difficult to communicate with people from the other world, but once he leaves the house, he can wish himself anywhere and see Lena.
Ethan leaves the house to find out it isn’t on the street it was on in Gatlin. The house is in the cemetery. The doors of all of the houses (placed where people’s graves are) are their tombstones. After going back inside for a while to calm down, Ethan heads out to find Lena. he keeps walking in circles until he realizes that he has to imagine his way there. When he can’t do it, he goes to Aunt Prue for help. She tells him that he is buried in Greenbriar and his friends are telling everyone that he is in Savannah helping his Aunt with some emergency.
Ethan tires to convince Aunt Prue to teach him how to go to Gatlin. She refuses and says he needs to learn on his own. She is not as strong as him mom. She falls asleep and Ethan takes a map of the Luna Libri out of her hands. He goes home and asks his mom about it. She takes him to Maven’s grave and tells him to use the passage into the tunnels.
Ethan gets frustrated looking through scroll for a way back. He asks his mom why she won’t just tell him how she does it. She explains that she already has and it must work differently for different souls. She finds a meditation which disappears after she reads it. She suggests Ethan try it in Latin, but when it doesn’t work, she realizes that he is dwelling on his situation. She kelts the words to him and he repeats them in his mind.
Ethan makes his way to a snowy Ravenwood hallway. He tries kelting with Lena, but has no success. He goes to her room and finds everything packed up. Ethan goes out to his grave. he finds Lena’s button from her charm necklace and picks it up and drops it. Lena arrives with Link. Lena is still in denial that Ethan is dead. She notices the button moved and knows Ethan did it. She leaves him a not that says “Try.”
Ethan goes to see Amma, but she has set up so much protection, he can’t get in the house. He wishes as hard as he can to be inside and finds himself by the Temporis Porta in the tunnel beneath the house. He makes his way in. Lucille hisses at him and Amma realizes a spirit is there. He lets her know that it is him by taking a chunk out of the cake she baked for his grave. She tells him not to go to far from home yet because she has somethings to tell him eventually. Lucille starts leaving the room, but waits for Ethan to follow. He does.
Ethan goes into Amma’s room and sees the bottles from the tree outside, empty and corked. He opens one and has a vision of Amma with her grandmother, Sulla, who teaches the young girl about the Cards of Providence compared to tarot cards. Ethan notices Sulla wearing a necklace with a black stone that he has never seen her wear when she appears. Ethan wonders if all of the bottles hold Amma’s memories. Ethan goes back into the kitchen when he hears his dad coming down the stairs. He asks if Ethan has called and Amma tells him Aunt Caroline has him busy because of her broken hip (he has a cast on him to help him believe the story).
Ethan goes down to the office of the local newspaper, The Stars and Stripes, to leave a message for Amma and Lena in the crossword puzzle. Lila comes along to check on him and eventually agrees to help him arrange the tiles on the desk for the Sunday edition. Ethan is so overwhelmed by all he lost that he starts slipping back to the other world. His mom grabs him to anchor him.
Ethan and Lila go back to the other world to find Aunt Prue waiting for him. She says that he wasn’t supposed to die and she needs to take him to someone who can tell him about it. His mother tries to tell her no, that Ethan is where he belongs and she has already decided. Prue argues that Ethan is old enough to make his own decisions. He follows his aunt through a shed into a completely different place. he goes int a house where he meets Obidias, a man with snakes for fingers on one hand, who Link had once met and told Ethan about. Ethan realizes he is a dark caster when the man takes of his sunglasses. Obidias tells Ethan that his death wasn’t in the Caster Chronicles originally, so if he destroys the page that describes it, he can go back. Ethan asks how Obidias knows that the page wasn’t originally there. The dark caster admits that he wrote the page himself.
Ethan is furious. Obidias explains that he was punished with the snake hand for trying to steal his own page from the Caster Chronicles. When someone is caught, they are made into the keeper’s scribe and have to write out deaths for waywards. He continues to tell Ethan how to get the book. Go to the seam, find the “river eyes” (two smooth black stones) and offer the gatekeeper something he can’t refuse. Aunt Prue gives Ethan a map she has been making.
Ethan goes to Ravenwood and finds Lena talking with Macon about her experience at Ethan’s grave a week before. Macon is skeptical. Lena goes to bed and Ethan follows. The next morning over breakfast, Ethan pulls the Stars and Stripes out of Macon’s stack of newspapers. She mentions Amma doing the crossword puzzle and Macon says he could finish it in three minutes. When they see “poltergeist,” is one of the words, Lena knows that Ethan is there and sending her a message.
Ethan remembers seeing one of the river eyes around Sulla’s neck in his vision of Amma. He goes to the gravesite of the family that used to make Wild Turkey and finds his way to a door Aunt Prue marked on the map. He goes through and makes his way to the cemetery at Wader’s Creek where he finds some of the greats playing cards. They already know why he is there. He asks Sulla for the river eye stone and she gladly gives it. Twyla tells Ethan that Lena has the other one on her charm necklace. Uncle Abner lends him his crow, Exu because he knows the way to the seam and can travel between worlds. Uncle Abner tells him to gift him with some tobacco and Wild Turkey to keep him happy and Amma owes them pie and fried chicken when Ethan returns. Sulla tells Ethan to tell the river master that she sent him.
Ethan goes to the Stars and Stripes and leaves another message for Lena to let her know that he needs her to leave the stone at his mom’s grave. By the time he gets back to the other world, it is waiting for him. Ethan has a hard time leaving his mom behind, but she makes it a little easier by disappearing into the kitchen. Ethan leaves without saying goodbye.
Following the map and Exu, Ethan makes it to the river. He follows the sound of the Rolling Stones until he finds the river master, Charlie, who wants convincing to have to do his job. Ethan plays blackjack and talks about Lena. Charlie tells him about his lost love, Penelope (Penny) and how he can’t go after her because he was sentenced to this job. Ethan wins a hand and Charlie takes him over the river of bodies. On the other side, Charlie points him in the direction of the gate keeper and tells Ethan to tell him he owes Charlie money.
Ethan continues to follow the map and crow. He sees mountains in the distance and notices that he is heading straight for one of them. He finds a small dark hole behind some dead brush. He starts crawling through the razor sharp tunnel, trying to focus on his goal: getting back to Lena. When Ethan emerges from the tunnel, he meets the gate keeper. He doesn’t have any interest in what Ethan has to offer gift wise. The gate keeper takes Ethan to see his collection Ethan asks about the Book of Stars (light half of the pair), which the gate keeper has never used because he can’t afford the debt. He already owes the Far Keep.
Ethan asks the gate keeper, Xavier, about his past. He was once a keeper who questioned the morality of the Far Keep. The further he goes from the gate, the more of a monster he comes. He is afraid to tell Ethan the story, so he brings out a “third eye” (shows the past/present/future) to show him. Xavier confronted Angelus about the mortals in the dungeon being tortured with dark casts. When the keepers have vowed only to keep the records. Angelus used a cast to disfigure Xavier. Ethan tries to think of what he can do. Xavier wants the Book of Moons so that no one can use it. Ethan says he can get it with Xavier’s help and a few of his treasures.
Ethan and Xavier come up with a plan to send Ethan to the Stars and Stripes office armed with a cast to fix the crossword puzzle again. He says Book of Moons.
The gang sits around the Wate kitchen table trying to figure out why Ethan needs the Book of Moons in the other world. Amma suggests that it is for a bargain. Link doesn’t believe that Ethan is coming back and suggests that it could be Sarafine sending the messages. Lena is determined it is Ethan and knows she has to get the book to him. When Ethan’s dad, Mitchell, comes home, she recasts the spell to keep him from knowing Ethan is dead.
Sitting around in Macon’s study, sans Amma, the group brainstorms on how to get the book from Abraham. John offers himself in a trade, but everyone agrees that is a worst case scenario. Macon suggests they talk to the Sisters to see if they know anything about Abraham. After a long discussion about what happened to Ethan (they already know he died), the Sisters tell them that Abraham used to be at a club in New Orleans called The Dark Side O’ The Moon. Lena tells Link that she is taking John to New Orleans with her because she doesn’t want to risk Link.
Lena tries to convince Macon to let her go to New Orleans, but he refuses. She leaves early in the morning, taking John with her through the tunnels. They find the bar and hear people inside. They go in and look around. Lena suggests that the place was a speakeasy during prohibition and probably has a back room. She looks through a window and sees Ridley in a back room inside a gold cage. Lena has to help her cousin and John agrees to keep watch. She goes to Ridley and asks her about the book. Ridley says that Abraham wouldn’t keep it on him. She apologizes for not going to Lena when Ethan died. Macon and John show up in the room. They search for the book and Macon demands that John take them all home.
Lena, John, and Link go to meet Ridley at the cemetery. She told Abraham that she is his spy, and he believed her because she favors the winning team. When the guys are skeptical, Lena tires to assure them that her cousin will not betray them. John, Link, and Lena go back to the cemetery later to exchange John for the Book of Moons. Obviously when they arrive, Abraham is there and has changed his mind. He wants to keep the book and take Link, declaring John useless. Ridley tries to dissuade his interest in Link, but it is no use. Abraham starts to control John, having him strangle himself. Macon shows up and takes out Hunting with his light. He then focuses it on Abraham, giving Link the opportunity to stab Abraham in the chest with his pruning sheers.
They put the book on Ethan’s mom’s grave, but are reluctant to leave it alone. They leave Boo and Bade to watch over it and start heading home. Lena sees a crow circling in the sky and follows it back to Lila’s grave. She sends Boo and Bade away and the crow lands. It is burned by the book, so they decide to ask Marian how to get it to Ethan in the otherworld.
They take the book to Marian and recount the tale of what happened in the graveyard. Liv wonders if the book is to deeply rooted in their world to cross over. Marian suggests they ask Amma.
Amma refuses to let the group in because they have Ridley with them, but she agrees to meet them at Greenbriar. She shows up and Lena tells her that they have the book, but weren’t able to get it to Ethan. Amma explains that they will need a lot of power from both worlds. She sends Lena and Ridley to gather the rest of their family (who just returned from Barbados so that they wouldn’t miss the action) while Amma prepares to call the greats.
Lena explains the situation to her grandma, who agrees because Amma is involved. Reece thinks it is a bad idea, but everyone agrees that they all owe Ethan for what he did.
The casters join hands in a circle around Lena and Amma. Lena holds the book so that it can’t escape and Amma helps while calling on the greats. They eventually come when Amma begs for Ethan’s sake. Genevieve appears in the circle and says that Lena can trust her. She get the book and takes it to Sulla.
Ethan spends his time waiting and helping Xavier catalog his items. When he goes to give Xavier the other river eye, he has a vision of Sulla reading Angelus’ cards. She tells him the keepers won’t allow him the power he seeks and that he has a choice to make. He leaves and Amma comes out of her hiding place, asking about changing the cards. Xavier tells Ethan to keep the stone. Later he asks Ethan to describe Lena, but his memory is fading. It comes back in a rush when Exu alerts him. Ethan picks up the Book of Moons. Ethan is terrified, but makes the trade with Xavier and walks inside the gates.
There is a guard that helps Ethan find out how to get to the Far Keep. Ethan has to go through the Labyrinth and die an honorable death. Ethan makes his way through to find a pit in the middle surrounded by human bones. Ethan comes to a thrown and confronts the queen of the dead and the damned: Sarafine.
Angelus has blinded Sarafine and chained her to a thrown. Ethan has to battle her and the looser is damned to eternal darkness. Ethan doesn’t want to fight Sarafine and tells her his plan to get back to Lena as she uses her power to choke him. Ethan says he will kill Angelus if it will get him back to Lena. Sarafine, hating Angelus more than Ethan, sets herself on fire to give Ethan a chance. The fire spreads and Ethan passes out. He wakes up and is at the Temporis Porta.
Ethan is in the Far Keep. Angelus and the other council keepers show up. They have granted him access to the Far Keep. Ethan questions if he can have his life back since the page was added. Angelus says they will not send him back. Xavier appears and suggests a challenge. If Ethan can get to his page, he can do whatever he wants with it. If Angelus prevents him, he can do whatever he wants with Ethan.
The keepers leave the room to give Ethan a fair chance. Xavier leaves and hopes he will see Ethan again someday. Ethan ventures out and finds the library. It only contains one book which sits on a pedestal surrounded by a moat of the dead, including the other (Genevieve’s) Ethan Wate. Angelus is on the other side of the room, reading Ethan’s mind, and occasionally throwing rocks at him with his powers. Ethan tells Angelus that he knows he started out as a mortal, so he can’t cross the river of the dead, same as Ethan. Angelus tries and is pulled down by them. Ethan finds the bridge and puts it in place. The plank is unstable and he falls in as angelus saves himself with a cast. The keeper has the dead hold Ethan, until he uses his other river eye to pay for passage. He gets to the book and burns Angelus’ page, which kills him. He tears out his own and it becomes blank. He disappears.
Ethan is on top of the water tower with Amma. She steps off to join her family, promising to always be with him. Just like her deal the the bokor, Amma traded her life for Ethan’s to keep the order in tact.
He sits on top of the water tower, afraid to leave and make Amma’s departure real. Lena comes up the next day and they cry together.
Amma' s obituary is in the Stars and Stripes. The remaining Sisters complain about it. Ethan and his dad share a moment together mourning the woman who raised them both. Ethan leaves with Lena and Link. Together in Link’s beater, it feels just like old times.
They stop by the library and tell Marian and Macon when they touch, there is no longer a reaction. Marian and Macon agree that they will have to look into whether the change effects all casters and mortals. They head to the Dairy King to meet up with Ridley, Liv and John. Afterwards, they do the crossword and receive Amma’s message to be good.
Ethan decides that there isn’t a meaning of life so much as a meaning to living. Late at night, half asleep, Ethan pours glasses of chocolate milk for Amma, Aunt Prue, Twyla, and his mom. He loves them all and knows they will always be with him.