The magical new novel from the bestselling author of The Night Circus
The magical new novel from the bestselling author of The Night Circus.
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.
“The Starless Sea rejects older stories: it makes its own. Its magic is based in the New York Public Library, in glittering hotels, and the beautiful blatant kitsch of a professional fortune teller’s house. Rather than a traditional fantasy novel, this is an artificial myth in its own right, soldered together from the girders of skyscrapers… the novel’s scope and ambition are undeniable”
Natasha Pulley, Guardian
“Erin Morgenstern’s fiction radiates with the excitement of someone discovering a magical world within the pages of a book. The Starless Sea…[is an] enchanting read… an ode to stories and storytelling itself, and the joy of reading”
Martin Chilton, Independent
“A mystical adventure in an enchanted universe”
“Enchanting...Myths and fairytales entwine with Zachary's quest to discover his life's purpose. Spellbinding.”
“A magical mix of quests and fables, it’s set in a secret world full of bees, keys, swords and secrets… beautifully written”
Deborah Hughes, Heat
“A lovely, lush voyage through vividly detailed worlds… an amazing literary adventure”
Psychologies, *Book of the Month*
“Erin Morgenstern’s done it again: she creates a magnificent, imaginative world around a story of love and magic. This love letter to bibliophiles is dreamlike and uncanny, grounded in deeply felt emotion, and absolutely thrilling.”
“A magnificent quest, a sense of unfolding adventure and danger, gold-wrought fantasy, and endless provocation on what storytelling really means.”
“A puzzlebox of a book, full of meta-narratives and small folkloric tales that will delight readers. [Morgenstern] trusts her readers to follow along and speculate, wonder, and make leaps themselves as she dives into tales of pirates, book burnings, and men lost in time, giving the book a mythic quality that will stick with readers long after they put it down.”
“A high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories... exquisitely pleasurable.. a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call. An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.”
STARRED Kirkus Review
“A timeless love story”
That's Life Monthly
“The Starless Sea effortlessly constructs a fantasy that feels real, building a world filled with characters that you’ll know and care about… an enchanting, satisfying finish”
Rhian Drinkwater, SFX
“A book to get lost in…Morgenstern’s second novel boasts winding tunnels lined with packed bookshelves and cosy alcoves containing just enough light to read by… funny and…thought-provoking… [The Starless Sea] an intricate exploration of the stories we tell ourselves and others”
Paloma Van Tol, Literary Review
“Enchanting… [The Starless Sea] vividly detailed worlds of lost libraries, elegant ballrooms and subterranean seas. Myths and fairytales entwine… The writing is whimsically gorgeous. On every page there’s an image to savour… [a] spellbinding book”
Eithne Farry, Sunday Express