The Starless Sea

The Starless Sea

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable certainty that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is. A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2019]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780385541213
Branch Call Number: Fiction Mor
Characteristics: 498 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 17, 2020

If you liked her first book you will really enjoy this one. It takes time to read as there is so much too take in. You will never look at doors the same way. Also cats and libraries under ground. A great deal of imagination went into the writing of this wonderful story, however I think the ending was speeded up to end the story quickly after dragging it out for so long.

Jan 04, 2020

I loved the first half of this book and found the second half to be tedious, meandering and not very satisfying. She creates a secret world of books and libraries, stories and storytelling, myths and fables, with a myriad of unique setting within this secret world i.e. the starless sea. A discussion of RPGs that gave me my first real understanding of their draw. That the fairy tales she told were wholly original i.e. the moon and the innkeeper, Time and Fate, the Owl king and his domain, is astonishing. The book is beautifully and imaginatively written but the characters were two dimensional, the love stories had no depth and the ending was too drawn out and unsatisfactory.

ontherideau Dec 31, 2019

Fantastic writing and subject matter out of this world- literally.

Dec 29, 2019

Couldn't get into the book because of the writing. When I switched to reading it with television's Closed Captioning voice, that was when I got into it. Not a very nice voice in my head.
I tried to like the book but I couldn't care about any of the characters.

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!

View All Comments


Add a Quote
PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 19, 2020

"She gave me an opaque plastic cup identical to the one I'd abandoned inside but with better bourbon in it, on the rocks.

I accepted because mysterious ladies offering bourbon under the stars is very much my aesthetic."

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 19, 2020

"But he's hardly looking at the book and barely eating his noodles. He sucks at subtlety. He's watching me write. Eyeing up my journal like he's trying to figure out how he's going to snag it when I'm not looking.

I'm always looking now.

You will pry this Adventure Time notebook from my cold dead hands, ya ding-dong."

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 19, 2020

"They asked if I thought he would have done something- like jumped-off-a-bridge something- and I said I didn't think so, but I also think most of us are two steps away from jumping off something most of the time and you never know if the next day is going to push you in one direction or another."

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 19, 2020

"'A book is an interpretation,' she says. 'You want a place to be like it was in the book but it's not a place in a book it's just words. The place in your imagination is where you want to go and that place is imaginary. This is real,' she places her hand on the wall in front of them. The stone is cracked near her fingers, a fissure running down the side and disappearing into a column. 'You could write endless pages but the words will never be the place.'"

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 19, 2020

"'We've been having adventures, Rhyme,' Mirabel says and the girl frowns. 'There was a daring rescue and bondage and tea and a fire and two-thirds of us got poisoned. Also, this is Zachary, Zachary this is Rhyme.'"

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 19, 2020

"A reading major, that's what he wants. No response papers, no exams, no analysis, just the reading."

IndyPL_MarianneK Oct 22, 2019

"To Seeking" "To Finding"


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at PPL

To Top