Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Starless Sea

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Genre: fantasy, modern fairy-tale

Source: Library (and then Target)

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Zachary Ezra Rawlins, son of a fortune-teller, finds a door. It’s beautiful and entrancing and calls to him. Unfortunately, it’s painted on a wall, so he doesn’t try to open it. But the memory stays with him right up to the moment he finds that memory written in a strange book he finds in his university library. Most intriguing is the mention of the Starless Sea that he didn’t find. Not yet.

Now, Zachary is obsessed with finding another entrance to the Starless Sea and the vast library it holds. All he has to go on is his book and the symbols of a bee, a key, and a sword. These symbols lead him to the intriguing characters of Mirabel, a pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome storyteller. Together, they will venture into the Harbor where Zachary will find wonders he never dreamed. But there is a dark force trying to stop him, stop them. Will he find the answers he searching for? Or is he too late?

OMG, this book was amazing. From beginning to end, it envelops you in a magical world that’s just so fantastical. This is a fairy tale of the best sort. The characters are real, but at the same time, they’re tinged in fantasy. The whole book has a dreamy feel which sometimes made it hard to concentrate on, but it’s just wonderful the way it pulls you in.

I don’t have much to say other than to gush. I will give a bit of advice if you read it: tab the stories. Every other chapter in this book is a story from a book that a character owns. These stories are very important and are referred to throughout the story. I found that I forgot the gist of some of the stories as I read and needed to flip back frequently. When I reread, I plan to tab the stories with sticky notes so I can go back and reread them when I stumble across the references in the main narrative.

I loved the way the stories intertwined and came back. Little insignificant things become very important, and that was amazing.

The characters were great, too. My favorite was the hero, Zachary, who was romantic and searching, smart and strong, and well developed. My second favorite was Dorian, who I wish we could have gotten to know a bit better. He was a well of mysteries, and even when they were somewhat explained, there were depths there that I wish could have been explored more. But that would have added a whole other five hundred pages to the narrative, so I get why he remains shrouded.

I didn’t see the ending coming. I had no idea what the narrative thrust was until the last quarter of the book, and that was great. It kept me guessing, kept me reading, and kept me enthralled. The language was beautiful and lyrical and there were a few lines that I want to have framed just so I can read and ponder them and be inspired them daily.

YES!! If you haven’t read it yet, go get it and read it ASAP. You won’t regret it. It’s the perfect escape for right now.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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