A book like The Starless Sea, which has stories within stories within stories so deftly woven together, shows that all writers have vivid imaginations in order to create. Erin Morgenstern is well-known for her fantasy novels, and in her second one, she adds a dash of romance to the genre’s familiar fantasy elements.
After finding an intriguing-looking book in the library at Vermont University, Zachary Ezra Rawlins has no idea how much his life will be transformed. A story from his own childhood can be found within the pages of this enigmatic book.
On a journey together with Zachary, the reader discovers how Zachary’s story came to be included in the book and who wrote it. Taking us deep into the earth’s crust to an ancient library, we meet some remarkable characters who are working to protect this archive.
The following list of books like The Starless Sea is perfect for readers looking for a little extra imagination in their reading.
Books like The Starless Sea
Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke
Piranesi, Susanna Clarke’s second novel, is the first book in this list of imaginative books like The Starless Sea that we’ll feature.
The House is where Piranesi, the eponymous protagonist, calls home. Unlike a typical house, the House consists of infinite rooms, endless corridors, as well as thousands and thousands of statues depicting a variety of different subjects, all of which are not present in the House. In the House, Piranesi and another human, whom he refers to as The Other, are the only inhabitants.
A Great and Secret Knowledge’ is supposedly hidden somewhere in the House of Piranesi. Piranesi’s search reveals that they aren’t alone in the house, but it also causes him to reassess his entire worldview.
Piranesi, Clarke’s follow-up to her acclaimed debut novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, was 16 years in the making, but it was well worth the wait.
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a must-read if you’re a fan of dystopian literature like The Starless Sea or other imagined alternate universes.
Guy Montag, a firefighter in an imagined dystopian future, is introduced to the audience. Here, books have become an illegal commodity, and Montag’s job is to set fire to any books he comes across, as well as the houses they’re found in. It wasn’t until he met Clarisse, a young girl, that Montag began to doubt his calling or the consequences of his raging actions.
Clarisse recalls a time before television and other forms of digital stimulation dominated our lives. In the course of their walks together, Clarisse infects Montag’s mind with her subversive thoughts, making him eagerly anticipate their discussions. However, Clarisse soon leaves, leaving Montag to wonder about everything.
Sixty years after its publication, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury remains a seminal piece of literature that is still relevant and relevant today.
Is this a book you’ve already read? We’ve compiled a list of books that are similar to Fahrenheit 451!
Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield
For the third time, Diane Setterfield has created an atmospheric and multi-layered read that is full of mystery and folklore.
Folk tales are being shared in an old inn on a dreary night on the Thames in the novel’s opening scene. Someone carrying a drowned child’s corpse bursts into their stories, injuring the stranger who had been standing outside the doors.
It’s been a long time since the girl woke up, but how did she do it? When we’re reading the book, we get sucked into the story’s mysteries just like the characters, and we’re eager to learn more about the river’s secrets and mysteries.
You’ll enjoy Once Upon a River’s gothic influences if you enjoy The Starless Sea’s rich combination of narratives as well.
Gingerbread, by Helen Oyeyemi
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi, the author of The Starless Sea, draws inspiration from the classic children’s book about gingerbread and its place in the canon of children’s literature.
Perdita Lee and her mother Harriet seem like any other adolescent daughter and hardworking mom. However, hidden away on the seventh floor of their gold-painted flat is an intriguing family legacy: a recipe for gingerbread.
Gretel Kerchaval, one of Harriet’s childhood friends who has been responsible for a lot of the good and bad things that have happened to her since they met, is a big fan of the Lee gingerbread. Perdita sets out to meet Gretel on a whim, not realizing that she’ll learn far more about her family’s past than she bargained for along the way.
Gingerbread is described as enchanting, delightful, surprising, and oh so satisfying.
Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami
In Haruki Murakami’s 2017 novel Killing Commendatore, a perfect example of the author’s extraordinary imagination at work, events occur simultaneously in this world and others.
The novel’s protagonist, a portrait painter, is recently dumped by his wife and takes a road trip that leads him to the mountain home of another famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. A painting called Killing Commendatore depicting a scene from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni is discovered in the attic, which had never been seen before.
To put an end to the strange events that follow the discovery of the painting, the characters travel to the underworld where they meet a two-foot flesh and blood Commendatore from the painting and go on an adventure to the underworld to stop the cycle of weirdness once and for all.
Readers who have read The Starless Sea and other works by Murakami will appreciate Killing Commendatore’s big ideas despite the novel’s lengthy reading time because of its focus on loneliness, art, and war.
The Binding, by Bridget Collins
As we have seen, some authors, like Bridget Collins, the author of our next book similar to The Starless Sea, draw inspiration from old stories to help form their narratives.
When Emmett Farmer, a former farm worker who was hired as a bookbinder’s apprentice, goes missing, the mystery of The Binding slowly unravels. Even though the bookbinders in this novel bind unique leather-bound volumes, the deepest dark secrets of the beholder can be found within each book.
In order to erase their most painful and shameful memories, people visit bookbinders to have their most traumatic events written down and bound. It’s not until Emmett comes across a book that has his name on it that he begins to remember what he’d been forced to forget.
The combination of a gothic setting, believable characters, and a startling plot make The Binding an engaging and evocative read.
Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
Erin Morgenstern is frequently compared to Neil Gaiman, a fellow fantasy author. There are countless books by this author that would fit on this list, but I chose Stardust because of the many characters our hero encounters on his journey to find love.
Located in the walled village of Wall, Tristran Thorn is shielded from the Faerie’s strange and wonderful inhabitants by the protective walls of the village.. Only when a magical market comes to town every nine years do people dare to cross the wall.
Tristran sets out to catch a falling star on its way to Faerie in order to win the admiration of Victoria Forester. Many people in Faerie, including a coven of witches and three rival brothers vying to be the next king, had no idea how valuable stars were.
If you want to be whisked away to another world, then pick up a copy of the hilarious and imaginative Stardust.
The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
A novel can be fantastical and otherworldly, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’ first piece of fiction succeeds in accomplishing both goals. In 2019, he published the breathtakingly beautiful The Water Dancer.
His mother was sold at the tender age of six when Hiram was born, but Hiram has a photographic memory and remembers her. Hiram possesses a second ability, which he calls “conduction,” which allows him to traverse vast distances by water.
Hiram is filled with a sense of urgency and purpose as a result of conduction. We follow his journey from Virginia’s plantations to Philadelphia, where he meets up with other abolitionists like Jarm Lodge and Harriet Tubman, as well as the Underground Railroad.
Insightful and inventive storytelling make The Water Dancer a must-read for anyone looking for a new book, as well as a fitting conclusion to this list of books like The Starless Sea.
There are eight books like The Starless Sea in this collection. For those of you who are looking for a creative and fun way to spend your remaining summer days, these are some of the best choices.