The Starless Sea
Books | Fiction / Women
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the 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 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.
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Community ReviewsSee all
"I don't know where to start. This was beautifully done (some might argue pretentious). Even more layered than The Night Circus! I'm warry I might turn someone off this book by over hyping it because of my own love for it. So Im gonna try not to do that and not give anything away: This is a very slow book. It is surreal and does not really come together until the end. It is not told chronologically, but all characters do tell their stories chronologically, so I found it easy to follow and delightful for connecting the dots. My husband was getting a synopsis of each chapter from me as I read, and he couldn't grasp what the story was about or why the characters did anything at all and for once I cant blame my retelling. But I think this is a book about storytelling. A love letter to libraries and the spaces between the printed words in our books. This is not a book I would recommend for someone who only gets through a few books a year. But I think it's a very fun change from traditional narratives if you find yourself wanting something a little lost and you liked The Night Circus. Or bees. Gosh, I'm a sucker for bees in books..."
"Way below 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 doors to get to the Starless Sea are often hidden. They can be found on forest floors, in private homes, or even in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them. Zachary is searching for the door that is his, he just doesn’t know it yet. He follows a siren song it draws him like he is meant for another place, another time. One day while looking through books at a library, he discovers a mysterious book, he begins to read and is drawn in by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. He flips the next page in the book and suddenly it brings Zachary to a story of his own life written in a book that is way older than he is. A bee, a key, and a sword depicted on a book lead Zachary to two strangers that would change his life forever. One being Maribel, a fierce painter, and Dorian, a handsome mystical man where his name may not even be Dorian. This two people guide Zachary through a parties and the back doors of secret societies. Here doorknobs hang from ribbons and he sees the door he has always yearned to find. Through many dastardly tales, Zachary falls into a world dripping in mystery and romance. He doesn’t know it when he arrives but there is question as to what will become of this place, will it be protected or is it fated to be destroyed? The three unlikely partners delve deeper to uncover the histories, myths and answers. This is probably the most trippy book I’ve ever read. This makes you question time and space. Behind each door is a new life, time doesn’t move the same within the story. And who you think you are and who you think you know, may just be another figment of your imagination. Often times I had to stop because it’s like piecing together a puzzle! I could read this ten times and still miss something. The writing is very lyrical and descriptive. At times I did have to slow it down and try to make sure I was getting the deeper meaning because it is like a story inside of a story. This book is definitely different and interesting though. It was very much worth the read, but my brain did have to work out the meaning. It’s kinda like “Inception”"
"This is the type of book that is not everyone's cup of tea. I love the style of writing. But it’s a confusing mystery with ups and downs and you'll be asking yourself the entire time, “where is the story going?” or if it even has a plot. I give it around 3.5 stars.<br/><br/>Update: Honestly, this book has grown on me. I take it back. 4 Stars."