June- main character of the novel. A 15 year old military prodigy who is the only known person to have scored a perfect 1500 on her aptitude test.
Day- 2nd main character of the novel. A 15 year old boy who is the most wanted criminal in the Republic due to his crimes against the government.
Metias- June's brother who is killed during the first few chapters of the book
Thomas- Metias best friend and fellow military. We find out he is the one who killed Metias under commander Jameson's orders
Commander Jameson- leader of the Republic army.
Tess- an orphan who was living in the slums and scavaging until Thomas took her under his wing
Kaede- a Skiz fighter/bartender. We find out near the end of the book that she works for the Patriots
Chian- a military trainer. not a main character of the book but I think we will be seeing more of him in Prodigy, the 2nd novel.
John- Day's older brother. Saves Day from getting killed by sacrificing himself to the guards
Eden- Day's younger brother who ends up getting the plague.
Ollie- June's dog
Elector Primo- leader of the Republic (would be like our President)
This book begins with June being in school in military training for the Republic. There are 3 different groups or factions in this book: The Republic, which is in the West of the United States (no longer United), the Colonies, who are the rebels living in the East and fighting the Republic, although we never really find out in this book exactly what they are fighting about, although I guess they just don't like the way the Republic government rules, and the Patriots, who seem to be allied with the Colonies against the Republic. Their symbol is described as being the old United States flag.
June is a troublemaker in school, always breaking the rules, and is suspended for climbing a large building when she was supposed to be studying with her classmates. Her brother Metias is sent to pick her up and ends up telling her that they need to discuss something but says they will talk about it once he gets home from his military rounds that day. Thomas is also in the car, and we find out that he sticks strictly by the rules and follows orders to the letter (this will become important later in the book).
June is awakened that evening by Thomas knocking on the door telling her Metias has been killed. June goes to see the body and there is a knife sticking out of his chest. Commander Jameson at this point tells her she is to be the one to go after the person who killed Metias, who June assumes is Day, the Republic's most wanted criminal. She tells Commander Jameson she will go into the slums and act like one of them to get information about Day's whereabouts.
At this point the book skips over to Day's POV and we find out he was trying to get plague medicine for his family from the hospital because their door has been marked with an X indicating a plague victim lives inside. The only person in Day's family who knows he is alive is his older brother John. Day will always bring food, money, and other gifts to the backdoor and give them to John while his mother and younger brother are asleep or out. When Day sees the X he goes to the house and John tells him it is Eden his younger brother who has the plague. While Day is escaping from the guards at the hospital (the hospital had run out of plague vaccines so the task was pointless anyways) Metias sees him in an alley and is about to shoot Day but Day throws one of his 2 knives and hits Metias in the shoulder. He then gets away.
June has started a rumor in the slums that she has plague medicine and Day hears of it, so warily goes to the location she has stated: the 10 second place (the bank), which Day knows is meant for him to hear since he called the bank that when he said he could break into it's vault in 10 seconds and did it, getting a lot of cash in the process and giving it to the poor people in the slums and his family like a modern day Robin Hood. He doesn't fall for the trick though because he sees that her cape is tied into an intricate knot which he knows is military and he leaves before she ever sees him and before he sees her face also.
When this plan fails Day and Tess go to the Skiz fights (basically just people fist fighting and other people betting on it) to try to gamble and earn money. Kaede (the bartender who told Day about the medicine rumor) is the one fighting that night and while Day observes from a ledge above, he sends Tess in to do the gambling and bets on Kaede. They win money on the 1st round but Tess is so small (she's only 13) that she ends up getting pushed into the circle with Kaede. Kaede is about to fight her thinking she is the next challenger when June steps from the crowd to protect the small girl. She fights Kaede and wins, but not before Kaede stabs her in the side with a serrated knife. When June refuses to fight any more people the crowd becomes a mob. Day steps in to rescue her, and he, June, and Tess escape to the abandoned building where he lives.
Over the next couple days while June is recovering, she and Day and Tess become close and June and Day begin to fall for each other and they kiss, but that evening June sees Day reach for his throat like he's used to having a necklace that isn't there anymore. June realizes he's the one who killed Metias because she found a pendant lying on the ground near Metias's body. It is at this point that June follows Day (who she now knows actually IS Day even though he never revealed a name to her before) to his family's house and discovers that they are plague victims. June calls Thomas on her earpiece to turn Day in, then tells Day once he comes back that she heard some military talking about coming to take his family away and he had better hurry and get to them. He takes off for his family's house and June tells Tess to stay there, that she will go after him, but she actually goes to meet up with Thomas and Jameson.
Thomas and Commander Jameson show up at the house and grab Day's family and threaten to kill them if Day doesn't come out of his hiding place because they know he has hidden somewhere close once the army shows up. When he doesn't immediately reveal himself, Jameson gives Thomas the order to kill Day's mother and he shoots her in the head. Day comes out of hiding to try to kill him and is captured and taken to the prison in the city. Thomas begins pursuing June romantically but she is repulsed by him since she saw that he was happy to kill Day's mother.
June tortures Day to try to get him to tell her why he killed her brother, but he keeps insisting he didn't do it and she eventually starts to believe him about that and other things he tells her. He tells her that when kids are sent to the "work camps" for failing the aptitude test, they are experimented on for the scientists to find out what is wrong with their genes to correct any future generations and then killed. Day was sent there when he failed his test and they messed up his knee by cutting cartilage out and his eye by slicing into it and taking a sample.
June finds out by hacking into the database that Day didn't fail the test: he got a perfect score like her but was sent to the "work camp" because he was poor and the Republic wanted the scientists to get those samples to try to engineer a way to make future soldiers as athletic and eagle-eyed as Day was (whose real name she finds out is Daniel Wing). When they were through with the experiments they threw him in a pile of bodies thinking he was dead but he wasn't and escaped to live a life on the streets.
June is very suspicious now so she starts reading her brother's journal and begins seeing misspelled words. Her brother was very smart and never misspelled anything so she knows it is a code. When she collects all the misspelled letters it leads her to a website where she discovers a blog he wrote for her. It turns out their parents were not killed in a car accident like they thought when they were young. Their father worked in the laboratory and discovered that the annual plague that took over the slums was actually piped into the water supply (or just given to a single household if it was a special strain, hence the X with a vertical line through it on Day's family's door) by the government to test the viruses to use against the Colonies. Then the government would test on the slum people and create a vaccine to use on the wealthy so they wouldn't get it. This weeded out the "non-necessary" citizens and helped them develop a weapon at the same time.
When their father discovered this he was going to quit that next day but Jameson didn't want to take the chance of him or his wife telling anyone so she had them killed. Metias started asking around to find out what actually happened to his parents and June sees that the next day was when he was killed too. She then digs into his autopsy report and sees that although there was a stab wound in Metias's chest, there was also one in his shoulder and there was grease on the knife in his chest: the same type of rifle grease she saw smeared on Thomas when he came to tell her about Metias.
She begins to build a plan to free Day and goes to find Kaede because she knows Kaede is a part of the Patriots. When she finds her, she sees that Tess is with her and safe and is relieved. June pays off Kaede with 200,000 notes which she had received as a reward for capturing Day in order to get her to help free Day. Kaede agrees.
June goes back to begin the plan, but Day's execution has been moved forward to that day because Jameson is suspicious of June. The plan is shot so when the Patriots create a diversion in the plaza, June frees John and Day and they run. Guards are closing in on them so John dresses in Day's blindfold and runs back to the plaza dressed as Day to distract the guards so June and Day can escape. He is shot and killed but June and Day get away.
In the final scene, Day comes around (he had taken a horrible beating from Thomas and Jameson so was only semi-conscious) to find that they are now in Vegas, his brother saved them, and they are going to join the Colonies and Patriots in the fight against the Republic but they have escaped and are safe for now.