Title: The Starless Sea
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Series: Nope – standalone novel
Blurb: 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.
Review: To say that this was one of my most anticipated reads for this year would be an understatement. I remember when this book was first announced and I was SO EXCITED!!! The Night Circus is literally one of my all-time favorite books and I was looking forward to finally getting a new story from this author.
And then the reading slump hit. Which is why it took me two months to finish this book.
To be fair, it is a bit long, almost 500 pages. And there is a LOT going on. One thing I love about Morgenstern’s writing is how she weaves together complex plots and ideas along with simple stories and by doing so, creates something that is otherworldy. You feel transported when you read her work. I honestly wish I had been in a better head space when I read this because I am sure I missed a lot of things. It is definitely one of the most beautiful pieces of writing that I think I’ve ever read, as you can probably tell from the many Teaser Tuesdays I’ve shared with quotes from it. Morgenstern’s writing is like nothing else I’ve ever read and that’s one of the many reasons why I love her books and I am so glad I finally read this.
It also doesn’t hurt that one of my favorite fantasy tropes is magic hidden libraries, especially if they are also filled with cats that wander around. I was destined to love this book. And I did love it, as I inched my way through it. Did I love it as much as The Night Circus? I honestly don’t know. I am looking forward to re-reading this one sometime down the road when my head is a bit clearer. It’s hard for me to even go into plot details and such because I really feel like A). the blurb shares just enough, and B). this is a book that needs to be purely experienced. It is exquisite.
GoodReads rating: 5 stars all the way.
EDIT: I keep forgetting to mention this, but this is the second book that I have finished for the #StartOnYourShelfathon over at The Quiet Pond. 28 more to go!
Categories: Books I've Read