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The Starless Sea

by Erin Morgenstern

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,548928,070 (4.03)90
"Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a rare 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 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 of honey, 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 beautiful 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 rare book and in his own life"--… (more)
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» See also 90 mentions

English (86)  Dutch (1)  All languages (87)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
This book had me from the start and I only put it down to get my bearings once in awhile. It had the feel of The Night Circus with dreamy descriptions. Loved her personification of objects. Lot's of confusion at times but it felt intentional and I still enjoyed it very much. I felt the same way with the Night Circus, in that, I felt it was the kind of book that needed to be re-read to fully understand. Definitely drinking a Sidecar for this book club meeting. ( )
  Picabol | Aug 4, 2020 |
When I started this book I was entranced by it. I couldn't stop reading because I loved the stories indside of the larger story.
By the time I got to the middle of the book I was over the whole idea of the book.
As I started getting towards the end of the book I count wait for it to be over so I could move on.

Kat's notebook entries were aggravating to read, she seemed like an intelligent young woman until her inner monologue. Then she just seemed like a ditz.

Erin Morgenstern has an amazing way of bringing life and character to inanimate objects. She can give something like the wind a personality that makes you want to be friends with it.

But her actual characters seem kind of generic and bland. They lack personality and dimension.

It's sad that the ginger cat is more memorable than the main character.. or characters.

Who was this story really about? The bees? ( )
  Timault84 | Jul 31, 2020 |
When I first began reading this book, I thought it was a collection of short stories. The first three stories were seemingly unrelated: the first was about an imprisoned pirate awaiting execution visited frequently by an infatuated young maiden; the second, about an acolyte who has just dedicated her life to a secret trove of books lining shelf after shelf in a subterranean sanctuary on the shores of the Starless Sea, and the third about a son of a fortune-teller who fails to try to open a three-dimensional painted door on an alley wall ornamented a realistic door knob. All were sweet stories but I was unsure how these stories related to the book's dust jacket blurb. As I read further I discovered that each of these stories were clues to a larger story, the origin and location of the Starless Sea, which is "hidden from the sun and moon", and filled, not with water, but honey.

These first three stories have been collected in a book called Sweet Sorrows, which one of the novel's protagonists, Zachary Ezra Rawlins, discovers in an university library. No author is noted and it appears that no one has ever checked it out. When Zachary begins to read the novel, he discovers that the third story is about him when as a boy, he took a short cut through the alley. Although the book is misfiled in the fiction section of the library, there appears to be a particular truth behind the stories. This book leads Zachary on a search for the Starless Sea, it secrets requiring Zachary to be confronted by a number of trials and challenges.

Although their is a primary story, the telling is augmented by several stories interspersed within it. The primary plot and fables are beautifully written creating a sense of wonder in this hidden realm on the shores of the Starless Sea. This book doesn't reveal its secrets easily. Like fables, the author uses a number of metaphors. One of the timeless characters draws doors so realistically that they become portals transporting the worthy in and out of this subterranean library. I believed the doors were metaphors for books, which when opened lead the reader on glorious adventures. Although most of these metaphors are not easily grasped, I discovered that these images percolated within me for some time, the book began to reveal its secret. The reader, like Zachary, will find themselves swept on a beautiful journey to the Starless Sea. ( )
  John_Warner | Jul 27, 2020 |
huh??????????????????????????????? ( )
  livmae | Jul 17, 2020 |
I have feelings. I don't know what they all are, but definitely feelings. I'm confused. I'm sad. I'm happy. I'm in love. I'm very confused.

I think this book is beautiful. And very confusing. It's a very slow - very slow - moving work of art. ( )
  jpeterman | Jul 10, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erin Morgensternprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dean, SuzanneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fontana JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Funderburgh, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There is a pirate in the basement.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Book description
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 of 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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