The Starless Sea

The Starless Sea

Book - 2019
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"Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a rare book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues--a bee, a key, and a sword--that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians--it is a place of lost cities and seas of honey, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a beautiful barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose--in both the rare book and in his own life"--
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2019]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385541213
Branch Call Number: FIC MORGENS 2019
Characteristics: 498 pages ; 25 cm


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Adult Fiction. "Built from fables, myths, and fairy tales, Morgenstern’s long-awaited second fantastical novel (following The Night Circus) delves into a vast subterranean library… where all languages are comprehensible to everyone, and time moves differently. Its wonders include moving stat... Read More »

From the critics

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Dec 15, 2019

Words cannot describe how wondrous this story is.

Nov 27, 2019

I have waited anxiously for this second book by Morgenstern. I adored the Night Circus and when they announced Starless Sea, I was thrilled.
This book was fantastic and amazing and all sorts of good words that I can't adequately use.

Her lyrical way of writing is evident in the story that she weaves. She takes you through the speakeasies of Manhattan to an labyrinthine library as Zachary Ezra Rawlins solves a mystery as old as the universe.
It is a love story between Fate and Time and it's a fairy tale. You are drawn into the story like a bee to honey. It has everything one could want in a fantasy mystery.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Nov 25, 2019

This is a quirky book for quirky readers. Morgenstern's skill with language and layered storytelling will be familiar to fans of "The Night Circus" but her modern setting is a bit of a departure and not exactly what I was expecting.

Chapel_Hill_MegM Nov 23, 2019

This is an amazing fully immersive story. Morgenstern has created a story that weaves together prose in a way that is beautiful. Each sentence feels like its own story. I highly suggest this book to anyone who is looking for a fantastic atmospheric read.

noramw Nov 18, 2019

Once again Erin Morgenstern has created a world I want to dwell in. Fans of The Night Circus will find all of Morgenstern’s powers on full display - atmosphere to sink into, vivid set pieces that will stay in your mind long after you close the book, and characters who unfold into more than they once were.

Nov 15, 2019

Oh, this is a good one folks! There’s a place in the story where it’s asked “do you believe in the mystical, the fantastical, the improbable, or the impossible? Do you believe that thing others dismiss as dreams and imagination actually exist?” If you do, this is the book for you!

I read a book so I can be drawn into that world created in the story by the author. I was drawn into this one immediately. I would put it down to do something else but before too long I had picked it up again. It is enchanting! If I came upon a door, a door that would lead me to the Starless Sea, I would open it and enter!

DCLadults Nov 12, 2019

A New & Noteworthy pick. You've been waiting for this one and BookPage calls it “a sprawling, delicious fantasy." A book full of stories woven together and a celebration of imagination. You will be entranced.

Nov 01, 2019

A myriad of plot threads weave in and out of each other. Stories within stories connected to other stories. The narrative is like honey at times -- sweet and lanquid. At other times it stings like a bee or even stabs like a sword. You will feel like it holds the key to your heart. Read slowly to absorb the evocative narrative. Don't forget to pay attention to details. This is a book that can be read many times leading to new discoveries.

Oct 30, 2019

So excited about this one!

debwalker Oct 04, 2019

Shelf Talker: In Morgenstern's first novel since 2011's The Night Circus, an ordinary grad student stumbles into a fight over the fate of a magical underground world of stories.
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IndyPL_MarianneK Oct 22, 2019

"To Seeking" "To Finding"


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