The Starless Sea

Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea
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The Starless Sea

Erin Morgenstern

Are you lost or are you exploring?

When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a strange book hidden in his university library it leads him on a quest unlike any other. Its pages entrance him with their tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities and nameless acolytes, but they also contain something impossible - a recollection from his own childhood.

Determined to solve the puzzle of the book, Zachary follows the clues he finds on the cover - a bee, a key and a sword. They guide him to a masquerade ball, to a dangerous secret club, and finally through a magical doorway created by the fierce and mysterious Mirabel. This door leads to a subterranean labyrinth filled with stories, hidden far beneath the surface of the earth.

When the labyrinth is threatened, Zachary must race with Mirabel, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, through its twisting tunnels and crowded ballrooms, searching for the end of his story.

You are invited to join Zachary on the starless sea - the home of storytellers, story-lovers and those who will protect our stories at all costs.     

Review

Erin Morgenstern’s award-winning debut novel The Night Circus is one of those wonderful books that swallows you whole, rendering the world of a magical carnival in such vivid prose that you can almost taste the caramel corn. Eight years after its publication, Morgenstern has finally returned to our shelves with the release of a new novel far more ambitious in scope, but every bit as absorbing as its predecessor.

The Starless Sea begins with several snippets of story: a pirate waiting for death, an acolyte who trades her voice for a secret, and the son of a fortune teller who finds a mysterious door … and doesn’t pass through it. The last is Zachary Rawlins, a shy university student who is astonished to find one of his memories – one that he’s never shared with anyone – written within the pages of a book. Determined to uncover the truth behind the uncanny coincidence, Zachary finds himself on a journey that takes him to a vast subterranean library that’s such a jealously guarded secret that it is falling into oblivion. Along the way, he meets the enigmatic Mirabel and the captivating Dorian, both members of a shadowy organisation tasked with protecting the world of the Starless Sea.

At nearly five hundred pages, The Starless Sea is a dense read that weaves Zachary’s story with an array of seemingly disparate fairytales, fables, memories, and journal entries. As the book continues it becomes clear that the texts are linked, and gradually a single powerful narrative emerges. An ode to reading, to stories, to books, to memory, to secrets, missed opportunities, second chances, fate, love, and hope, The Starless Sea is a beautiful tale that rewards patient readers with a magical world from which they’ll emerge, blinking, into the light.


Lian Hingee is the digital marketing manager for Readings (currently on maternity leave).

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