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Originally published: November 5, 2019
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Romantic fantasy, Historical fantasy

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.


Ever unreal of being lost in a very book — literally? Admit it, you’d prefer to cave in the hollow, rehearse the wardrobe, fly straight on ’til morning. or even you wish "to sail The Starless ocean and breathe the haunted air."

Deep underground, there's The Starless Sea. At the harbors on its shores are nice libraries guarded by a community whose members have passed hidden tests within the world higher than. They reach the ocean through doors painted on to walls.

Zachary Rawlins doesn’t open his door once he finds it as a tiny low kid. Years later, as a postgraduate student in Vermont, he comes across a book that tells the story of the day he didn’t open his door. Zachary is consumed by curiosity, and embarks on a look that leads from his university library to a disguised party in New York, right all the way down to The Starless Sea. On the way, he meets a stunning storyteller, Dorian; a mysterious girl with pink hair, Mirabel; and uncomfortable Allegra WHO, like Odin, has sacrificed an eye fixed for the facility of foresight. Allegra has seen disaster coming back to the current precious underworld of books, and needs to shut each door to the method below to preserve it – and forestall Zachary from venturing there.

Not long when Erin Morgenstern’s initial book, The Night Circus, came move into 2011, she found herself bombarded with questions on her next book. That second book would take her a few years — farewell, in fact, that some folks on Twitter referred to as her a "one-hit wonder" — and plenty of drafts to complete, however The Starless Sea is finally here.

The Starless Sea rejects older stories: it makes its own. Its magic is predicated within the New York Public Library, in bright hotels, and therefore the lovely blatant kitsch of an expert fortune teller’s house. instead of a standard fantasy novel, this can be a man-made story in its title, soldered along from the girders of skyscrapers – a story from and for the America, instead of genetic from older nations. like every story, it refuses to rewrite its own symbols. A reader would possibly notice this deliberate unclearness either rising or displeasing, however the novel’s scope and ambition are plain.

Morgenstern is aware of fans are waiting an extended time for her sophomore novel, however she was possessed by a want to induce it right. She tells action she re-wrote The starless ocean 3 or fourfold from scratch in her quest to nail down exactly what it ought to be.

"I need to write The Night Circus in a very bubble," she explains. "No one knew WHO i used to be and nobody knew it had been coming back. I wished to be able to recreate that bubble, that in fact was easier same than done. I even have a awfully long, untidy writing method. I’m not AN outliner. I even have an area in my head, and that i ought to puzzle out wherever the story is to put in writing my way through the house. I don’t knowledge anyone writes a completely unique, and I’ve got 2 of them currently." The result's one thing way more complicated: a sprawling tale explosive with books-within-books and a multi-level underground fantasy house that’s primarily a student paradise return to life. within The Starless Scean, Morgenstern finds magic inside the pages of books and climbs shelves of the foremost hypnotic of libraries. "I found it had been easier to inform the story by creating it a lot of sophisticated. By adding in additional backstories and more books inside books and more layers to that," muses Morgenstern.

At its simplest level, The Starless Sea follows Zachary Rawlins, a young man WHO discovers a mysterious book in his university library that appears to recount his own experiences as a baby once he saw a painted door on the streets of latest Orleans however selected to not open it. currently a college boy, Zachary embarks on a look that takes him through one in every of those doors And into an underground wonderland, wherever the guts of the action and therefore the core of the novel’s central mysteries occur.

The book’s symbols of a sword, a key and a bee lead Zachary to a New Year’s Eve costume party, wherever he meets a pink-haired girl referred to as Mirabel and a handsome scallywag called Dorian. They'll facilitate him open the hidden door resulting in a cavernous underground library, crammed with books and paintings, mysterious tunnels and rooms, cats and candles.

Scouring the net for clues regarding the symbols from book’s cover — a sword, a key, and a bee — leads him to a masked ball in Manhattan, wherever he’s offered a choice: can he follow the directions from a handsome intruder that have unpredictable consequences, or can he come to the protection of Vermont and faux like none of this ever happened? for somebody WHO has forever felt like he was missing the possibility to be a vicinity of one thing bigger than himself, it hardly looks like a alternative in any respect, however it’s vital that he created it. By selecting the unknown, he becomes aware about a secret ancient underground "labyrinthine assortment of tunnels and rooms crammed with stories." In alternative words, a library.

Sound thrilling? It definitely may well be, however it isn’t. And not as a result of this book expects an excessive amount of of its readers; following Zampanò in Mark Z. Danielewski’s "House of Leaves" isn't any straightforward stroll. however Morgenstern’s commit to mingle a dozen around narratives into AN tangled story is unusually innocent of tension for a book during which a unidentified woman’s tongue is cut out on Page ten. we tend to flit from story to story like bees — bees, keys, swords, crowns and hearts dance a intoxicating symbolic gavotte throughout — ne'er knowing wherever we would land, or WHO can end up to essentially be who, or if the pirate could be a real pirate or a figure of speech, or whether or not any of it's a degree.

"The Starless Sea" isn't a choose-your-own-adventure book, however it will wrestle with the theme of power versus fate. At first, the book’s structure makes the case for a classic hero’s journey spun by mythic destiny. Morgenstern intersperses passages regarding Zachary Ezra Rawlins with alternative sections from the book he's mentioned in. all sides story has the familiarity of a fairytale while not feeling sort of a retelling of well-known mental object. The reader is left to marvel — if Zachary is real, then that of the opposite stories may well be real, too? If this book was written before Zachary was even born, will he have management over his own actions?

Morgenstern, noted for her 2011 popular debut The Night Circus, that has sold-out over 3 million copies, launches Zachary on a mystical journey in an mesmerized universe as he searches for answers. Eventually his quest leads him to an underground library–a house wafting with secrets and magic–where he meets a solid of characters able to facilitate him.

But the novel isn't merely a look narrative–it’s conjointly a meta-examination of stories that demands the reader’s patience–and then rewards it. Morgenstern intersperses Zachary’s journey with fables and myths from a lot of books he finds on the method. There are pirates and ships, painters and princesses and long-lost lovers–characters and worlds that initially seem in-tuned no relevancy Zachary or to at least one another.

Morgenstern’s elegant, poetic prose keeps the pages turning as she begins to draw connections inside an online of tales that reads like AN lyric poem to stories, themselves, and celebrates the distinct pleasure that comes from partaking with a text. For Zachary, that pleasure outweighs any temptation he might need to come to high school and his regular life. It leads, instead, to a journey of sacrifice and uncovering as he finds his own place within the puzzling book’s narrative. for everybody else, the fun comes from looking at him on the ride.

This all came as a surprise to Morgenstern. "I thought it had been progressing to be a weird book that perhaps a couple of weird folks would love which would be fine," she says. There are definitely over a couple of weird people; 2 million copies of the book have sold-out within the us alone.

Morgenstern’s major plot is that the stuff of a bibliophile’s dreams, however she layers the narrative with snippets of fables and fairy tales, items in a very meta-puzzle box that you just could ne'er puzzle out. auctorial prospers and literary Easter eggs abound, allusions to illusions. There are nods to writer and Sendak, Book of Susanna Clarke and Bulgarian monetary unit Grossman, Grimm and Gaiman. The involved world-building is nothing in need of fabulous, the prose lush and filigreed. Still, it’s most likely no accident that Patience and courageousness, the lions at the doorway of the the big apple library, build a anaglyph within the 500-page tale. Morgenstern is aware of each whichaway around story and story, however you will well wander off in "The Starless Sea." Bon voyage!

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The Starless Sea Quotes

"Strange, isn’t it? To love a book. When the words on the pages become so precious that they feel like part of your own history because they are. It’s nice to finally have someone read stories I know so intimately."
― Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea

"Everyone wants the stars. Everyone wishes to grasp that which exists out of reach. To hold the extraordinary in their hands and keep the remarkable in their pockets."
― Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea

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"The Starless Sea"
- By Erin Morgenstern

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