Friday, May 1, 2020

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern Review


Title: The Starless Sea
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

                I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

                I’ll start off this review by being honest: This is the first book I’ve ever read by Erin Morgenstern, and days later, I’m still completely in awe of her talent! This book was such a delicious puzzle box and treasure trove, of stories told within stories; I’m already itching to get a copy for my own collection. Unfortunately, when I finished it, I had to let it marinate in my thoughts, because my thoughts of this book were so tangled. This book is easily one of my favorite books of 2019; I have a feeling that this book is one that you have to return to again and again to fully absorb it. This gorgeous, beautifully written book had me stumped at first, and I’ll admit that there were several times that I put it down, uncertain if I would really give it a go. But I’d been waiting to read this forever, so I buckled down and read, and oh my goodness; I literally had to make sure that I went slowly so I wouldn’t devour it within three days. This book is a portal fantasy unlike any I’ve ever read, possibly one of the deepest and most complex books I’ve ever read in my life! Gorgeous, surprising, empathetic and spellbinding, I loved it so much! (In fact, I loved it so much that I asked my husband to buy her debut novel, The Night Circus, the same day I finished it!)

                There are myths and legends aplenty, but one of the most enduring is The Starless Sea, and on its shores lies a labyrinth of stories, in tunnels and on beaches and on forest floors and within cities. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for one such door, though he does not know it consciously. When he finds a mysterious book in his campus library, he finds himself on a quest for something so much bigger than secrets doors to hidden worlds: himself. The story drives him to follow his curiosity for the first time in years. Guided by several mysterious strangers, the strange, compelling Dorian and mysterious Mirabel, with constantly color-changing hair and more secrets than she can even hope to hide, Zachary finds that the journey and adventure that he’s been chasing his whole life. But The Starless Sea, and all the doors beyond it, are at risk of being eradicated entirely, at the center of a war that has lasted as long as time. There are some that believe that The Starless Sea should be kept secret, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep it hidden. Zachary Ezra Rawlins has always wanted an adventure straight out of one of his beloved books, but will he make it back to his world unchanged?

                I loved, loved, loved this book; this is Erin Morgenstern’s second novel, and the first I’ve ever read by her. I will never forget this beautiful, finely wrought tale, and the collection of stories that made up the narrative. There were several times when I wasn’t sure what I was reading; I often had to go back and reread to really figure out what was happening. This book was just so big and complex; I have a feeling it’s one of those books you have to reread over and over in order to get the full gist of it. But I loved how this book challenged me, how it brought up important aspects, especially on accessibility. This story was like the best childhood treat, something to be savored slowly, in little bites. It reminded me of all those times as a child that I took books with me on outings, waiting impatiently for the next free moment so I could escape within its pages. This book challenged me, made me laugh, weep, and cheer. It is one of my favorite books of 2019 and quite possibly all time! I can’t wait to read The Night Circus! The bottom line: As rich and sweet and smoky as honey, I loved The Starless Sea! Definitely one of my favorite books I’ve read recently! Next on deck: Slayer by Kiersten White!

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