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The Starless Sea

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  166,326 ratings  ·  31,876 reviews
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
Hardcover, 498 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Harvill Secker
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Valerie No horror, not even scary or spooky. Magical and wonderful, filled with books, and candlelight, cats and mystery.
As much as I enjoyed Night Circus, I …more
No horror, not even scary or spooky. Magical and wonderful, filled with books, and candlelight, cats and mystery.
As much as I enjoyed Night Circus, I love, love love this book. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  166,326 ratings  ·  31,876 reviews

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Lisa Lynch
"How are you feeling?" Zachary asks.

"Like I am losing my mind, but in a slow, achingly beautiful sort of way." (p.288)

Funny, I felt the exact same way while reading this book.

So, Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea is the highly anticipated follow up to The Night Circus (which, I admit, I haven't read). I won an ARC of this book from my library's summer reading program and, after reading the synopsis, I could not wait to jump in.

I think that most people who read The Starless Sea will love it b
chai ♡
It’s a profoundly strange thing, to feel as though you are wading through mildly entertaining books that pass through you without leaving any trace that it had ever been there, always searching for the one that will reach—not through you but—into the back alleys of your soul and settle there, lingering. And then all of a sudden, like a faint spark bobbing on a dark sea, calling you, beckoning... it is there.

The sheer joy of it is like what all the books you’ve ever read have been aspiring to be;
Someone PLEASE procure me a striking, modern, big-city apartment with lots of windows, where I can hold a glass of expensive wine and gaze unseeing over the skyline at night, because apparently I’m going to feel melancholy for the rest of my life over never again being able to read this for the first time and if I’m going to do so I at least want to be glamorous about it.


Or, at the very least, I need to locate the sort of old-fashioned library described in
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites

i know for a fact that this book wont be everyones cup of tea (morgensterns writing style is an acquired taste), but it sure is mine.

this quenches my thirst for a story that was meant to be told, a love letter to the art of storytelling, as well as the stories we find ourselves in. it is an ode to those who write their own paths in life. and there is an aromatic intimacy to this that can only be created when such words are so ten
Nov 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am SO disappointed.

Bee. Sword. Story. Door. Doorknob.
Someone doing something somewhere but loses someone.
Owls. Honey. Sea. Bees.
Swords. Cats. Stories. Fragments.
Smart literary references haha.
Bees. Swords.
The moon.
Clueless boring gay character gets lost, does nothing, stumbles, regrets everything, has no spine. Insta-love - why? He took my hand then lost it.
Sea. Trinkets. Books, ribbons, lost, what, maim someone randomly.
Hate for no reason. Kitchen. What? Swords. The fortune teller’s
Oct 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, 2019
I did not enjoy this at all. Pretentious, confusing and jumping through time to make no sense whatsoever..I feel like I wasted a reading week. All my anticipated releases have been flops this year.

Now what is this book about? Honestly your guess is as good as mine. There was a hint of some love stories but they were so muddled into everything else that was pointless and made no sense so who knows.

The plot got lost, the writing style was so saturated in metaphors and description I got bored and
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
After trying to describe my issues with this book, I have found the best comparison.

There's a video of a raccoon putting cotton candy in water and staring at it as it dissolves... yup, that exactly how I felt. The writing is beautiful but I'm left empty handed and dissatisfied. I'm left wondering if I read the same book as everyone else and, quite frankly, feeling like I'm dumb because I don't get it.

The premise sounded interesting but I was quickly lost and bored. By the end, I was so ready fo
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2019
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.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loveddddd 4.5
Sean Barrs
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This is a review I did not want to write because this is a book I so desperately wanted to love.

The Starless Sea is a book written for true readers. I’m talking about the kind of person who spent their childhood in and out of libraries and bookshops; the kind of person who sits and imagines adventure and an escape from the mundaneness of every single endless day without magic: the kind of person who lives for books and reading.

As such it is totally enchanting to begin with it. It hooks you
Nilufer Ozmekik
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-m-intrigued
I waited the book for months and months, also named myself as Vladimir who is waiting for Godot forever! Of course my request stays at the NetGalley limbo space with other thousands of my requests doing boogie dance together. (I don’t want to visualize them dusted, positioned at the bookshelves kind of purgatory!) So as a patient reading, high five-d myself for releasing day (actually I slapped my nose, I couldn’t do a proper high five for years and always missing the other person’s hand or alwa ...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
Read this as part of my "Giving authors a second/last chance" challenge and...

This is a tough one for me.

I can acknowledge that Morgenstern’s writing is whimsical but after two books by her leaving me confused and unsatisfied, I have to admit her books are simply not for me.

The worlds she creates are fascinating but I don't find myself caring enough about the story in them nor the characters. Frankly, I felt bored.

If you've enjoyed The Night Circus, you'll most likely enjoy this one too. If you
ELLIAS (elliasreads)
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finishes book.

"I'm getting this book tattooed all over my body, mind and soul."

2019 really saved the best for last. 8 years was fucking worth it.




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 |
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading The Starless Sea, I was blown away. I read through stories of pirates and girls in forests, of key holders and sword sellers, Fate, Time, the Moon, and some dude named Zach. The stories were intoxicating, like I was floating around in some hypnotic, dream-like daze, breathing in all of these beautiful short stories. They were beautifully written, imaginative little pieces of art, all smushed together and delicately held in place.

But somewhere in my drunken haze, the magic
Amy Imogene Reads
This is a masterpiece. This is flawless. This is the kind of book that comes along once in a decade. This cracks the foundations.

Imagery: ★★★★★
Concepts: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★

Erin Morgenstern is not for everyone. Her writing is for those who love the story for the sake of the story. The lyrical, meandering, and existential prose is not the standard format, and it takes no prisoners. If it's not for you, it's not for you.

Normally, I try to make some sort of sense in my review. Talk
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2020, lgbtq-rep
Reading an Erin Morgenstern book is like dreaming with your eyes open. There's something so profoundly beautiful about The Starless Sea that I don't quite know how to put into words.

“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.”

This book tells the story of Zachary Ezra Rawlins (I mean, that's already the best name ever), who is an ordinary book nerd like you and I. One day, he stumbles upon a
May 28, 2019 marked it as to-read
I always imagine Erin Morgenstern's books like paintings. She is that good at describing things. ...more
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNFed @ 56%

The writing is so abstract that I couldn't take it anymore! And the problem is I expected that, I wanted that, but it was just SO MUCH!
I'm so sad right now, I really wanted to love this 😭

I feel this was a cheap copy of The Shadow of the Wind, even The Ten Thousand Doors of January to me was similar and better than this.

I'm gonna crawl into a hole and cry myself to sleep now!
Charlotte May
Am I confused as heck? Yes.

But was this book the most incredibly magical, moving, imaginative and absolutely immersive gem I’ve read in a long time? Also yes.

I enjoyed this so much more than The Night Circus!

"We are all stardust and stories."

Ok, where do I begin? I can honestly say I've never read anything like this book before.
Zachary Ezra Rawlings finds a book in the library that isn't catalogued and becomes curious. Once he begins reading 'Sweet Sorrows' he discovers a world beyond his w
Lala BooksandLala
why can't I just like things. ...more
Melissa ~ Bantering Books
Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews.

How I wish I could visit the Starless Sea.

I wish I had my own magical door; one that would allow entrance to the labyrinthine libraries of this magical underground world that Erin Morgenstern has created, where I could wander aimlessly for a time and be surrounded by books, secret rooms, riddles, and CATS. Lots and lots of cats.

It would be such a wonderful escape. And then once satiated, I could return to my beloved normal life and
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m so sad to have not liked this book. I’ve read so many amazing reviews of it and had such high hopes. But alas, this was not my cup of tea. Swords. Bees. Books. Keys. Painted doors. Sea of honey. Owl king. Fate. The moon. Fortune Tellers. Cats. Is it an alternate reality? Is it the inside of a book? Is it the inside of a crazed mind? Is it magic? Is it aliens? I. Don’t. Know. 🤦🏼‍♀️ I held out hope all the way through that something would finally click for me... that I’d have a mind blown mome ...more
Meghna Agrawal (On a Review-Writing Break!)
A mandatory Warning- If you are a “The Starless Sea” enthusiast, immediately exit the review, as I can’t help but rant, to realign back my braincells:-/

Beleaguered and with insuperable reluctance, I take total responsibility of all the ranting, raving and griping below (while citing examples from the text!).

Erin Morgenstern, is a craftswoman of enamouring captivating words! But just catapulting a mountain of lurid words, with no solid rhyme-or-reason, is definitely not sufficient to redeem a boo
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
”Far beneath the surface of the earth, hidden from the sun and the moon, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories.”

There are stories that leave you with thousands of questions,
that cause you to topple under the sheer weight of their words.
And then there are stories that leave you with a million questions more,
but each and every single one of them feels like a soft caress.
Like a tender kiss on your longing skin. Like a shive
Era ➴
I had no idea what was happening for 90% of this book, but guess what? I did not give a fuck. I knew something was going to lead to something else, and I knew the story would have gorgeous lyrical writing, and I knew there would be a gay romance. That’s enough for me.

Honestly, I really considered putting this book off for a while because I had made no progress whatsoever. It took me about three weeks to read this book and it put me in a reading slump - hence the reason I took off one star, beca
3 stars

Time for those who have read my reviews before to see a bit of deja vu. I have from time to time mentioned books that are artsy for the sake of moving along the story in a unique fashion and they are wonderful. But, on the other side, there are books that are artsy for the sake of being artsy. Books where the weird and fantastic plot points feel forced in order to make the book seem edgy and trendy. This is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, so you may not feel the same about this as
elena ❀
“Which way is the Starless Sea?”

I envy everyone who enjoyed the journey to the Starless Sea, because I sure didn’t.

I'm still debating whether I want to rate this 1 or 2 stars. I didn't hate it, but I didn't enjoy most of it.

The Starless Sea follows Zachary Ezra Rawlins as he finds a mysterious book in his school's library. What frightens him the most is how the book features him in it, and Zach slowly becomes a part of the mystery surrounding the book he picked up, thrown into an e
No rating yet, because I am still processing. I liked it, but I also didn't? Better review is coming. Those of you who have gotten around to it- what do you think? ...more
Emily May
Apr 22, 2019 marked it as lost-interest  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fantasy

ARC provided in exchange for honest review 🌊
Kai Spellmeier
Nov 09, 2018 marked it as to-read
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Erin Morgenstern is the author of The Night Circus, a number-one national best seller that has been sold around the world and translated into thirty-seven languages. She has a degree in theater from Smith College and lives in Massachusetts.

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Here at Goodreads World Headquarters, we're always on alert for any shifts in readerly attention that we can spot. Recently we've noticed a...
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“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.” 806 likes
“We are all stardust and stories.” 755 likes
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