In a nutshell:
In the year 2044, San Francisco is characterised by unrest between humans and Elbs. As an upper-class girl and daughter of a high-ranking politician who proceeds violently against Elbs, Luz leads a carefree life – until the day a friend takes her with him into the Elb ghetto. Luz is fascinated by the underground community but especially by Darel, who is standing on the stage holding a poetry slam critical of the regime. But the presentation is hijacked by a raid and Liz must undergo a blood test. A truth comes to light that puts her whole previous light into question: she is 53% a dark Elb and therefore illegitimate. Luz must flee from her father immediately and Darel helps her. However, he is pursuing his own goals.
17-year-old Luz Hernandez lives with his parents in San Francisco in the year 2082, a time characterised by unrest between people and Elbs. Twenty years ago, light and dark Elbs left their world Alfheimr, which had been contaminated by the metal alloy Tyrium after a longstanding war and had become uninhabitable for Elbs. As an “upper-class girl”, Luz could lead a carefree life if her father, Jago, had not been the leader of an Elb Liberation Organisation (ELO), an authority that claims to foster the peaceful coexistence of humans and Elbs. In reality, Elbs are suppressed by the powerful organisation and killed if they resist – the militant, strategically talented dark Elbs have a microchip implanted with the Tyrium that is deadly to them, which is released from a certain level of aggression. When Niall, one of Luz’s fellow pupils and her secret muse, takes her with him secretly into the Mission District notorious as an Elb ghetto, Luz’s life is turned upside down. She meets the Slam poet Darel, who recites poems critical of the regime against the suppression of the dark Elbs, and gets entangled in an ELO raid led by her father. She is confronted for the first time with his brutal attitude. As she is fleeing, she is picked up by the police and has to undergo the usual blood tests. The result is as unexpected as it is shocking: Luz is 53% dark Elb. Consequently, Jago is not her father. Jago, filled with hate and outraged, because he evidently raised an illegitimate dark Elb child, locks his wife up. He also claims that his daughter was abducted by Elb activists and plays on this in the media – with the aim of being able to kill the mother and daughter. Her mother indeed dies during Luz’s attempt to free her. Luz is devastated and wants to find out who her real father is. Together with Darel, she sets out to the dark Elb leader Dusk. She realises that her feeling for Niall are increasingly waning and that she suddenly feels attracted to Darel, of all people. The black-haired, mysterious Darel who appears threatening. However, Darel had never told Luz the whole truth: on the way to Dusk, Luz finds out that Darel is his son. So he had lied to Luz from the beginning! Nevertheless, Luz cannot deny her feelings for the rebel fighter. It is only when she is standing in front of Dusk that he drops a bombshell: he claims Luz is his daughter and therefore Darel’s half-sister.