Have you ever read a book so enchanting that you don’t want to finish it? That part of you wants to postpone the end of the tale and keep the magic alive for a bit longer?
That is how I felt about The Starless Sea.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern is a fantasy story following Zachary Ezra Rawlins. Zachary is a nerdy University student with a passion for video games and reading. One day while browsing books at his campus library, he finds a book older than he is that describes an event from his childhood.
Soon, guided only by three symbols, A bee, a key, and a sword Zachary finds himself on an adventure in a hidden world full of stories, secrets and surprises.
I have read Morgenstern’s prior book, The Night Circus, and if you have read that rant of mine, you will remember how much I adored that book. So when I finally got my hands on her newest book, I had lofty expectations for it.
The Starless Sea, pun intended, blew those expectations out of the water.
Once again, Morgenstern’s spellbinding writing style brought a world filled with magic to life. Yet again, creating a fantastical place I would sell my soul to go to. I could rant about that for hours but I am biting my tongue as I do not want to spoil anything. All I will say is I would love to live there.
Zachary is such a likeable character. As a gamer and avid reader myself, I saw a lot of myself in him. He is kind, intelligent and way in over his head. The poor guy is constantly being thrown through a loop.
Zachary is not alone. During his journey, he meets a rather interesting cast of characters. Namely, Mirabel and Dorian. Oh, and cats, there are a fair amount of cats.
Mirabel is a fierce and bold woman who serves as a guide of sorts. Dorian, well he seems to be changing teams. Both of them have their secrets and are more than just pretty faces as Zachary will come to find out.
There are several in-universe stories we get to read that flesh out the worldbuilding and mystery. First, from Sweet Sorrows, the book Zachary finds that mentions him. As The Starless Sea continues these stories start to click together into a bigger picture.
I will say, I think I prefer the romance in The Starless Sea over The Night Circus. I think this time around it is a bit more fleshed out and compelling. I normally hate romance so the fact I was invested in this love story is a testament to Morgenstern’s writing.
In fact, after a bit of soul searching after finishing this book, I think I prefer it over The Night Circus. In fairness, only a smidge more since I still adore both books. I found the newer book connected with me more.
The Starless Sea is a love letter to reading. I will be so bold as to say it is also a love letter to escapism, in general, considering how gaming is shown in a positive light.
It celebrates the power of storytelling. How a wonderful story can impact those who read it. It might just be my favourite book I’ve read this year so far.
Needless to say, I love this book. I don’t tend to reread books, there are only a select few that I do. I already know that The Starless Sea is one of them. Frankly, as soon as I finished it a part of me wanted to reread it again right then and there.
If you love fantasy, books about the magic of books and sweet romance then you will adore The Starless Sea.
The Starless Sea is truly magical in every sense of the word. It leaves you with a sweet taste in your mouth and craving more.