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Fantasy Friday: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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.

Amazon Link: The Starless Sea
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Portal Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars

I loved The Night Circus in many ways, although I felt the relationship at the core was a little hollow. But I was definitely curious to see if the author could pull off the beautiful descriptions and magical worldbuilding in a second book. The Starless Sea blows away everything that The Night Circus did and becomes an instant classic.


This book is amazing in a way that’s hard to describe with words. There are so many amazing stories and vivid worlds. I loved the hidden library, and I felt the sorrow that it was dying. I was so worried that it wasn’t going to have a happy ending (spoiler alert), but it brought everything to a satisfying conclusion and made it even more awesome. The mysteries and questions had just enough answers while leaving more to the imagination.

And the sweet, tragic romance between the gay couple was well done. The author likes epic, star-crossed relationships and she treated the queer couple the same as any other she’s written about. So lovely to see a gay fairy tale in an original way. And they also had a happy ending!

I lived and breathed this book for days and I can’t stop thinking about it now that it’s over. I already know that it will be a favorite that I can come back to and probably find new things when I reread it.

LGBT representation: gay protagonist gets a queer relationship with a happy ending

Here it is in my reading journal:

The Starless Sea


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.