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The Starless Sea

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world--a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn pri From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world--a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious 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 an ancient 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, 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 handsome, 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 mysterious book and in his own life.


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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world--a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn pri From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world--a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious 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 an ancient 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, 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 handsome, 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 mysterious book and in his own life.

30 review for The Starless Sea

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chaima ✨ شيماء

    How to emotionally recover from this book: 1. You don’t 2. ever Erin Morgenstern re-emerging, like a glittering literary cicada, after 8 years with the most original, erudite and—most importantly—GAYEST work of fiction is an incomparable power move. rtc!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    Just got my hands on an ARC!! Can't wait to read it :D

  3. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    This book is a love letter to stories and storytelling, myths and fables, symbols and imagination. This was haunting and magical, foreboding and whimsical in a way only Erin Morgenstern can achieve. This is a story in which something new can be discovered every time you read it. Breathtaking.

  4. 5 out of 5

    emma

    wait.........MULTIPLE beautiful covers???? someone take mercy on me ------------- COVERCOVERCOVERCOVERCOVERCOVERCOVERCOVER!!! ------------- hello i would like to read this now please. 2019 is not going to work for me thank you

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    THIS IS THE BIGGEST BOOK RELEASE OF 2019 FOR ME! Seven years ago I read a fantastic book called The Night Circus and it helped me fall in love with books and fantasy. I can still recall most of the novel vividly. And I’d almost given up hope that the author would write another novel, then I found out about this! I'm so damn EXCITED about it. Only one year to go and then I can read it! I really hope she delivers it with the same skill so I can rave about it on here.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    GUESS WHO IS BACK TO FUCK ME UP ONCE MORE

  7. 4 out of 5

    ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    UPDATE APRIL 30TH WE HAVE A COVER AND IT'S FUCKING BEAUTIFUL. _____ a bee, a key, and a sword. "I thought I was writing a book about books, but as it turns out I was writing a book about stories." No words. Nothing. I just— Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I always imagine Erin Morgenstern's books like paintings. She is that good as describing things.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    ARC provided in exchange for honest review 🌊

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK!!!! AHHHH!!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

    Can I go ahead and label this as my new favorite book? No? Too early?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー

    So guess who got a gorgeous proof copy of this from a rep from Penguin Random House? It was I, Dio Alright, disclaimer - so the copy is absolutely gorgeous but it will look very different in its final form, so they say.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Magnificent. Reminds me of Neil Gaiman, but it surpasses him in the atmosphere and beauty of the writing. An ode to stories and readers that examines what a story is and what it can be. Many sections of it are like if the #bookstagram hashtag became sentient and wrote a book. Definitely a story you'll want to get lost in.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Iris

    Epic. The best fairy tale I’ve ever read. Everything worked together. She fucking did it again. (I got a little annoyed with the amount of literary references, like we get it you like Donna Tartt. But if that’s the only negative I can think of, we’ve got a damn fine book on our hands.) I might extend this review?!? I know it doesn’t come out till November, but I’m just excited about how excited I am for a book! That hasn’t happened in awhile.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mel (Epic Reading)

    Finally!!! Night Circus is one of my fave books ever! I cannot wait for more from Erin. 💜

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ishmeen

    FINALLY!!! My morning has just been made 👏🏼👏🏼

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    Edit: Ooooo, a cover! Thoughts? Anyone, thoughts? Book: *is called A Starless Sea* Me: Well, I hope so. I mean who would want a sea with stars. We all be be burned up | Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Buy this book

  18. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    FINALLY ANOTHER BOOK! The gods have listened 🙌🏻 ———- 26.05.19 I just bought the signed exclusive edition from Waterstones, I am far too happy with myself right now!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Morgannah

    From Entertainment Weekly: Here’s the official synopsis for The Starless Sea: “Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library 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 From Entertainment Weekly: Here’s the official synopsis for The Starless Sea: “Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library 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, 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 handsome 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 mysterious book and in his own life.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Imie (mythicreader)

    Being a bookseller is a privilege, and nothing shows that more than being sent this wonderful book months early. Thank you so much Vintage for giving me the book I've been dreaming of. It is hard to describe this book without spoilers or too much fangirling, but I shall try. Erin Morgenstern is my favourite author of all time. I have a number of copies of her first book, The Night Circus, which I have read repeatedly since I bought it the first time about 7/8 years ago. I've been patiently waiti Being a bookseller is a privilege, and nothing shows that more than being sent this wonderful book months early. Thank you so much Vintage for giving me the book I've been dreaming of. It is hard to describe this book without spoilers or too much fangirling, but I shall try. Erin Morgenstern is my favourite author of all time. I have a number of copies of her first book, The Night Circus, which I have read repeatedly since I bought it the first time about 7/8 years ago. I've been patiently waiting for a new book by her for years, and that obviously left me nervous about whether it would live up to my expectation. The Starless Sea did not disappoint, in fact it surpassed anything I could dream of. This book is like a dance; it is full of different stories that you weave through to the same tune. The way they interlock to create this magnificent tale is so elegant and masterful. The main plot follows Zachary Ezra Rawlins after he finds himself in a book hidden in his universities library. The adventure that ensues is unlike anything else you'll read. It is a love story for the bibliophiles of the world reminding you why we love to read so much. It's gorgeous, it's rich, it's like honey. I felt myself fall into the book like Alice fell into wonderland. Erin Morgenstern is a sorcerer at creating characters that you feel in your bones. Zachary is a wonderful protagonist that many will relate to (not in the least as a Ravenclaw). Dorian and Mirabel are both wonderful and create a gang that leave you on the edge of your seats as you watch their adventures unfold. The worlds she creates are magical, reminiscent of fairy tales you loved as child, that will leave you entranced. Each individual story that Morgenstern has interwoven into the story is masterful, stunning, and would all work on their own. By putting it all into this dancing story, Morgenstern creates an absolutely beautiful story that wraps around you and keeps you warm. It is unlike anything I've read. For anyone who loves a story, for anyone who wants to read, I recommend The Starless Sea. It will remind you why we love stories. If I could give this ALL the stars, I would fill the screen with so many that it will break your webpage. It’s just phenomenal. 🐝🔑🗡

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    4/11/18 Cover is somewhat meh... --- OMG, the author of NIGHT CIRCUS is writing another book!!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    I’ll read pretty much anything by the author of The Night Circus.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ✨ A ✨

    ARC received from publisher via edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    I'm going to have to try and properly gather all of my thoughts before I can review this one in a better capacity, but there are two things that I can immediately tell you: 1) I found myself having the same experience I did with this author's other book, where I was mostly unsure of where things were headed at the start and it took me much longer than I would normally stick around for in order for me to find myself invested in the narrative. It was particularly a challenge to my brain (and this m I'm going to have to try and properly gather all of my thoughts before I can review this one in a better capacity, but there are two things that I can immediately tell you: 1) I found myself having the same experience I did with this author's other book, where I was mostly unsure of where things were headed at the start and it took me much longer than I would normally stick around for in order for me to find myself invested in the narrative. It was particularly a challenge to my brain (and this might just be me, mind you) to try to pull all of the pieces of a seemingly disjointed narrative together, and unlike where I might give up with other stories, I found myself intrigued enough to keep going with this one. 2) Morgenstern's imagery fascinated me. The repetitive motifs, the variety of secondary sources included as part of the main narrative, the descriptions of people and places and objects - they were all things that I personally devoured and spent a considerable amount of time visualizing. While I truly don't think this one is going to appeal to everyone, it did end up being a story that I was drawn into, mesmerized by and compelled to discover how it would all play out.

  25. 4 out of 5

    alexandra ling

    OH MY GOD THAT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL I WANT TO CRY ;———;

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mikee Andrea (ReadWithMikee)

    HALLELUJAH. After all this time!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    I will cross a thousand starless seas just to have this book in my hands.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon

    Update May 2019 This cover looks slightly familiar . . . Prereview November 2018 A) I have not yet read The Night Circus but this sounds amazing! B) the sea is already starless, there are no giant balls of burning gas in the ocean if you haven't noticed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan

    The Starless Sea is Erin Morgenstern’s upcoming novel, following the highly acclaimed The Night Circus. The Starless Sea is a ballad of stories, composed entirely of alternating short stories found in the Starless Sea to the main story itself, one that has been in the making for thousands of years. Written in Morgenstern’s lush and descriptive style, The Starless Sea takes you on a journey that you wish would never end. The experience of getting this ARC was so surreal that I still don’t believe The Starless Sea is Erin Morgenstern’s upcoming novel, following the highly acclaimed The Night Circus. The Starless Sea is a ballad of stories, composed entirely of alternating short stories found in the Starless Sea to the main story itself, one that has been in the making for thousands of years. Written in Morgenstern’s lush and descriptive style, The Starless Sea takes you on a journey that you wish would never end. The experience of getting this ARC was so surreal that I still don’t believe I actually got it, that I held it in my hands, and that I read it. Was this all just a fever dream? It very well could be. The Starless Sea was just too good for it to be actually real. But it is, and it comes out in a few short months, and all of you need to get your hands on it, whether you’ve been following Morgenstern since The Night Circus or if this is your first book of hers (it was mine!). There aren’t many books I’d say this for, but there’s something in this book for everyone to love. It’s a book for readers about readers, written in a poetic and fantastical style that makes even the most mundane of scenes seem utterly fantastic. I was in love with every short story, every chapter, every interlude, whether they lasted one page or several. The Starless Sea is built out of a myriad of storytelling elements, and the way Morgenstern weaves them all together is a sight to behold. This book is much greater than the sum of its parts, but I still have to commend Morgenstern on how well plotted, thought out, and written every aspect of this book was. The characters felt wholly real and realistically motivated, all of them escaping standard cookie cutter tropes. They were characters you fell in love with on page one, from their way of seeing the world and their interactions with it to how they thought and talked and loved. This love only grows stronger with each page as these characters fall in love with The Starless Sea and the stories as you, the reader, do as well. I’d die for any of these characters anyday. The world and plot were absolutely fantastic as well. They were weaved together quite closely, with knowledge of one revealing the path of the other, and it created such a seamless, well-paced story. There were no jarring moments of info-dumps, no moments of you knowing something the characters don’t (you learn from the stories as the characters do), no moments of the plot outpacing what you know about the world and can understand of it. It was just so well done that I can marvel at it on just a technical level, ignoring the emotional impact of it all. All of this is further tied together by the writing style itself. It’s an interesting and unique style, one composed of strings of fairly ‘simple’ sentences in such a way that leaves the reader hooked, beautifully visualizes scenes and moments, and imbues the entire novel with a sense of wonder, magic, and mysticism. It’s such a hard style to pin down and therefore makes it a joy to read. The Starless Sea has left me a forever fan of Morgenstern, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next (after reading The Night Circus, which has just been hardcore pushed up on my tbr). I cannot wait until everyone has the joy of reading this masterpiece.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Iryna *Book and Sword*

    I see Erin Morgenstern I click Want to Read If only all choices in life were this simple. *I will not survive this November with all of these AMAZING book releases <3 My WEBSITE My INSTAGRAM My WORDPRESS BLOG

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