Get Your Free Audiobook

The Starless Sea

Length: 18 hrs and 37 mins
4 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

Non-member price: $39.50

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. 

The magical new novel from the best-selling 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.

©2018 Erin Morgenstern (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    39
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not smoking what she’s smoking.

I was so excited about this book having loved The Night Circus. Some of the characters were interesting and likable and the story had some great elements, however I found myself losing interest as the story drifted along labyrinthine paths. It was a bit like listening to someone else describe a very long (and fascinating to them) dream.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Was waiting for ... so much more

Highly psychedelic. 18 hours and 37 minutes of world building and character introductions.
Loved Night Circus! So was waiting for… so much more.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

i really wanted to like this but...

i love the nightcircus so much. and this book has many of the same loveliness, the ideas and beautifully drawn settings. but the story never pulls together into a whole. it’s fragmented and doesn’t ever gain momentum. the ending makes little sense. sad, because i really really was hoping for something special.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully enchanting

Although I loved "The Night Circus" a teeny bit more, I thoroughly enjoyed this latest offering from Erin Morgenstern. Beautifully written, with enchanting imagery, curiously interesting characters, and a storyline that kept me enthralled throughout.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Acid trip without the acid

I was a big fan of the Nigh Circus and tried really hard to keep going with this book, but with only a few chapters left till the end, I finally gave up. The book is made up of a series of vignettes held together by the central premise relating to stories. Morgenstern attempts to manufacture her own mythology, but there is nothing cohesive in the tale.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just beautiful

I'm a sucker for a bit of Magic and this was truly magical. The tale had me hooked from the get go, the incredible readers transported me backwards and forwards in time. The story unfurled Seamlessly.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nichola Millen
  • Nichola Millen
  • 20-03-2020

Poor choice on my part

Some stories are meant for you and some are not. This book was not for me. I had to actively push through this narrative and it almost put me into a reading slump 3 times. I can appreciate this beauty and its honouring of stories. But I think I need to walk way from Morgenstern and keep walking.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Liesl
  • Liesl
  • 15-01-2020

More than one story woven into one

The story is a multitude of separate stories, which also happens to be one story. These stories are woven into one and you are left at the shores of the Starless Sea and the habour to wonder what other adventures await the characters you were introduced to. This story reminds one to open new doors and to go exploring, wondering, meandering, and experience life to its fullest.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for michael potts
  • michael potts
  • 03-12-2019

Ruined by Dominic Hoffman

The story has moments of brilliance, but as an audio book is unfortunately by Dominic Hoffman's drawl, repeated miss pronunciations, clumsy rhythm, and painful, monotone drone.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 25-11-2019

A Love Letter to Storytelling

This book is stunning. It is beautiful, lyrical and so atmospheric. It pulls you in and doesn’t let go. It makes you believe in fairytales again.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for T. Komorowska
  • T. Komorowska
  • 05-11-2019

Perfect.

I’ve waited 9 years for this book, anticipating another novel as enchanting as The Night Circus. That being said, I dove into this book with high expectations and major worries it wouldn’t live up to Morgenstern’s debut. I didn’t need to worry. Drawn in as soon as the first words began, Erin managed to instantly transport me away from my life, worries, mundanities. She creates worlds in a way that it becomes real for you too.

The narrators were perfectly chosen. I worried that multiple narrators would spoil the flow for me, instead it added to the submersion of Erin’s stunning prose.

It you are contemplating buying this book, I simply can’t recommend it enough. No words I could ever produce would do it justice.

Jump. Jump in to this book, and the world it weaves around you. You won’t be sorry.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Inge
  • Inge
  • 18-12-2019

It just goes on and on. Beautiful but aimless.

It seems to be a beautiful story, beautifully told. I have listened to nearly 7 hours of it. But it does not seem to have a goal, purpose or plot. I have given up.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Colin Dente
  • Colin Dente
  • 11-11-2019

Wonderful

It's been a long wait since The Night Circus, but oh, so worth it!

A truly captivating story, and an excellently produced audiobook.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 31-01-2020

terrible!

It is impossible to get into this book or care about any of the characters!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Neil
  • Neil
  • 14-01-2020

An astounding journey

This was something special, something different. The narration, calm, level and measured, the pace slow but steady. If you are sleepy when listening don't be surprised if it lulls you into dreams and you end up rewinding over half remembered pages
But don't let that make you think this is boring or tedious. The story is woven through with sub stories and plots that pull you ever in. You do not realise you have gone anywhere, know that anything much has come to pass until you think back over the action. I adored this production. I've not read the authors previous novel but I will now. The characters are both deep and elusive they are more emotion than substance for the most part.

A brilliant concept wonderfully executed.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jennifer Allan
  • Jennifer Allan
  • 25-01-2020

style over substance

promised much with beautiful descriptions and great writing, but the plot was convoluted and got bogged down in endless cats and stars and ribbons. got fed up halfway in

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Marion M.
  • Marion M.
  • 24-01-2020

Hard going

I love stories but this for me to random & so over the place it was so hard to follow I was great full when it ended
I was hoping it would get better but it didn’t

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for an amazon customer
  • an amazon customer
  • 17-01-2020

So disappointing

How can a book with so much promise fail to deliver so miserably? I loved The Night Circus - it was one of my favourite books from the time. This book had a good premise, and some nice lyrical passages, but I was overall just so disappointed. The characterisation was pretty much non-existent, there was no narrative drive, it was confusing, long, repetitive. I'm sorry but I really wanted to love this book. The performance was fine, but could not salvage it for me, I'm afraid. This book in no way lived up to the huge hype surrounding it, and that is a shame.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lubsy1
  • Lubsy1
  • 14-01-2020

A Chaotic Story

From the moment I embarked upon this story (I listened to it on Audible) I was confused and thrown into chaos. There was no consistency, logic or sense to the storyline. The only reason I even allowed myself to listen to the entire story was so that I didn't have to lie when I marked it as read. It was far too long and rambled on and on. Another reason I think I listened to it all was because the narrations were so soothing and lulled me into a kind of oblivion. I loved Erin Morgenstein's Night Circus. This in comparison, was a dismal, depressing failure.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bob
  • Bob
  • 30-11-2019

Very like Myst

Very well narrated and performed. I think, as an ensemble, this team is the best I have heard.

I enjoyed this tale which is substantially different from The Night Circus. There are many fewer characters and the locales are more proscribed.

Many times I was reminded of the computer game Myst. There were similar puzzles and hidden passages. Mysterious rooms with strange devices and surreal pictures which were part of the puzzle. Bookshop with clues and a succession of movable objects, or tokens which triggered progress into further rooms.

All this entranced me although I recognise that this style may not be to everyone's taste. Morgenstern's environment has a sense of distressed gentility. Almost louche.

Characterisation is fine and in fact some cases mysterious. Dialogue progresses the story but seems to become directed at cats much of the time. Fine with me.

All round I liked this book.

1 person found this helpful