Books: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

I remember reading The Night Circus quite a fair bit of time ago and thinking back to that first reading experience of Erin Morgenstern’s work, I can recall the spectacular, magical, ethereal qualities that formed the vivid literary world within the story. In her most recent (and only second) piece of literature, Morgenstern achieves that same mystical whimsicalness in her writing, that leaves the reader encapsulated by the weird and wonderful. Just as with The Night Circus, I was left entranced by the story I’d consumed while also oddly perplexed at its conclusion.

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Publication Date: November 5th 2019
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Format: Trade Paperback
Buy the book: Exclusive Books|Takealot|Amazon.co.uk

Are you lost or are you exploring?
When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a strange book hidden in his university library it leads him on a quest unlike any other. Its pages entrance him with their tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities and nameless acolytes, but they also contain something impossible: a recollection from his own childhood. Determined to solve the puzzle of the book, Zachary follows the clues he finds on the cover – a bee, a key and a sword. They guide him to a masquerade ball, to a dangerous secret club, and finally through a magical doorway created by the fierce and mysterious Mirabel. This door leads to a subterranean labyrinth filled with stories, hidden far beneath the surface of the earth. When the labyrinth is threatened, Zachary must race with Mirabel, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, through its twisting tunnels and crowded ballrooms, searching for the end of his story. 
You are invited to join Zachary on the starless sea: the home of storytellers, story-lovers and those who will protect our stories at all costs. Goodreads

 

In terms of character journey and development, my personal standout is that of Mirabel. Something of an enigma, I found myself questioning her motives throughout Zacherary’s journey (after all, she is the reason for our intrepid adventurer finding himself navigating the labyrinthine library). However, after some prolific discoveries, I felt that she redeems herself at the moment that matters most.

Surprisingly enough, I found our main character, Zachary Rawlins to be a rather dull young man through most of his story. As a son of a fortune teller, I was hoping he’d have a stronger sense of adventure but ultimately he’s just a scared little wimp trudging around and seeming only mildly perplexed at the situations he finds himself in.

The Starless Sea is a story about the love of stories and one aspect I thoroughly enjoyed was the addition of smaller stories that made up the larger tale at play. In part, I found myself being more entertained by the short fables and snippets of fantastical tales that help craft together what’s really happening around our main characters.

At the heart of it all, this is a book that I’ll probably have to revisit one day in order to truly grasp all of the hidden meanings and easter eggs (if you will). I didn’t find it easy bedtime reading purely due to theses such intricacies but, then again, I remember having similar sentiments about The Night Circus, way back when.

The Starless Sea: a good mystical, fantasy, escapism book for absolute lovers of stories and beautifully crafted literary worlds.

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