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review: the starless sea by erin morgenstern

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

Published on: November 2019

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Format: Paperback

Language: English

My Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

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.

My thoughts:

As expected, the writing was beautiful and atmospheric. In fact, this whole book screams fall to me. It’s the perfect cozy autumnal read.

All of the characters are great, but Zac is my favorite. He’s such a relatable character, and I absolutely loved that he’s in his early-to-mid twenties. I feel like we barely ever get main characters that fall into this age category and it’s such a shame, because it’s a joy to read about it.

Because the plot centers around books and storytelling, we got to see many stories being told throughout this book and it was such a magical experience. It felt like I was reading multiple books, all at once, and they all were interconnected to one another. It made for an incredibly immersive experience because we got to discover these new tales along with Zac.

Despite being a slow-moving story, it didn’t feel slow-paced. There’s a lot going on at all times, which can actually be a bit confusing. I loved taking my time with this book and slowly absorbing everything that was presented on the page.

From around page 300, I just couldn’t put this book down. All I wanted to do was to keep reading and unraveling all the stories. Considering it’s a 500 pages book, that’s almost half of it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong urge to annotate a book before. While reading this, I put together my first annotating pouch, and since then I’ve been using it so much.

A very small and specific thing that made me super happy: the emerging media & storytelling discussion at the very beginning of the book. It reminds me so much of my own uni experience and my dissertation, it made me squeal with joy while simultaneously missing uni so much.

If I had to describe this book in one word, it’d be whimsical.

Have you read The Starless Sea? Did you enjoy it?

Until next time,

One thought on “review: the starless sea by erin morgenstern

  1. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I agree, her books are not necessarily slow like not in a boring way but her writing is just so perfectly savoury! Its like you have to read it slow and steady to just take in the beauty of her stories I LOVE her books 💕

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