In a world (You heard that in the announcer voice, didn't you? Admit it. ADMIT IT!!!!!)
In a world where overt uses of technology are shunned and girls born with elemental powers are feared for their connection to the aliens from The Great Illusion, people with affected families go to great lengths to protect their children. None have gone further than Magnus Roma, the main character's father.
Magnus and his late wife were one of the families whose children began to show signs of being "touched," or having alien abilities. Rather than run or try to conceal these abilities, as most people did, Magnus made a very public stand and hid his daughters in plain sight by building an entire circus around them. He called this circus The Show, and turned it into a technophobe's worst nightmare.
At The Show, all of that forbidden technology is put proudly on display, along with Magnus' four eldest children "The Daughters of Magnus Roma," who thrill audiences with demonstrations of their elemental prowess. These are Penn's (the main character)'s sisters, all assets to be exploited if anyone in charge realizes that their skills didn't come from smoke and mirrors.
- There's Nieva (Evie), the eldest. Penn's surrogate mother and a pyrokinetic - someone who can wield fire.
- Then Nimue (Nim), a foul-tempered hydrokinetic - someone who controls water.
- Then Anise, the ever-steady middle child and fulcrum of the family. She's terrakinetic, an earth-mover, and the person Penn considers to be the grounding force for the others.
- Finally, there's Vesper the aerokinetic who can walk on air. She's a teenager, like Penn, and given to bursts of hurricane-level anger.