Title: The Starless Sea
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Genre(s): Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
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Far beneath 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 entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.
A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.
I’m not going to lie, the cover and synopsis did pique my interest in this story, but overall I was a bit hesitant to check this one out because I was not the biggest Night Circus fan. Friends, let me tell you why this book was an utter delight.
“A boy at the beginning of a story has no way of knowing that the story has begun.”
It’s been a while since a book was able to captivate me and suck me in as much as the Starless Sea did. I found myself so intrigued by the overall story and plot and was so excited to see how everything was going to develop and loop back together. This is definitely a book I will be revisiting in the future due to how dense the book was and how layered the story was. With all the connections and foreshadowing, I can’t wait to reread this one and see how all the layers add to the overall story.
I really enjoyed how the characters were revealed and how the deeper connections were unveiled. I also liked how the core romance of this story was pretty subtle and the relationship was slowly weaved into the story without taking the focus away from the fantasy plot.
This is one of those books that was clearly written for book lovers and boy was that clear on every page.
“Having a physical reaction to a lack of book is not unusual.”
I don’t have much to say about this book, I really enjoyed this one and I had such a magical time listening to the audiobook. I was sick when I listened to it and was unable to sleep, and I just kept going back to the audiobook and finished it in just two sittings.
Fans of Every Heart a Doorway and The Ten Thousand Doors of January will love the magical portal fantasy. I also think Strange the Dreamer fans will love the lyrical, hypnotizing writing and captivating world!