Review – The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s been a while since I have written a blog post, and what better way to start than during self-isolation? This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, so if you have managed to find yourself reading this I hope you are well, and I offer my support to you. 

I have to say that reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern managed to both completely remove me from reality, and bring me crashing back down. For those of you who have not read either of Erin Morgenstern’s books – The Night Circus or The Starless Sea, she is masterful at whisking the reader away on a fantastical adventure, which to be honest most of the time is relatively confusing. However, I can say just as I felt upon finishing The Night Circus, The Starless Sea was a beautiful book. 

It is difficult to sum up my reading experience, and the best way I can describe following the story was like trying to grab something which keeps slipping through your hands like smoke. The book is built upon imagery and symbolism which the reader can take and mould to their own devices. While some people find this lack of definitiveness difficult to follow, I greatly enjoyed the journey and the book leaves many open ends to which you can make your own deductions. 

The world building and atmosphere that Morgenstern creates is uniquely vivid, one of the best aspects of her writing. As with The Night Circus, a lot of the narrative is built upon exploration of a fantastical new environments – Morgenstern creates enchanting scenes with great depth of texture. In The Starless Sea we follow Zachary Rawlins as he navigates through the mystery surrounding a book he found in a library containing one of his own memories. One of my favourite aspects of the books is the intercalation of the stories Zachary is reading between chapters. The complicated weave of the story between chapters creates mystery and drove me to continuously try to make links and solve things myself. The character development is great, but the beauty of the story comes from the symbolic elements and creation of almost whimsical landscapes. In order to fully grasp the story I think I would need to read the story again. It is definitely a novel that upon reading again I will see in a different light (due to already understanding some of the weaving story lines Morgenstern creates during the story).

Honestly, I don’t think I can properly articulate the feat of writing that is achieved by Morgenstern. The book covers both light and dark themes, and as always Morgenstern has managed to blow me away with her imagination. 

If you enjoy fantastical adventures that fully immerse you, and beautiful writing, then I highly recommend this book. 

“A boy at the beginning of a story has no way of knowing that the story has begun”

“Everyone wants the stars. Everyone wishes to grasp that which exists out of reach. To hold the extraordinary in their hands and keep the remarkable in their pockets.”

The Starless Sea – by Erin Morgenstern

Age Range/Genre: Adult fantasy
Publisher: Harville Secker
ISBN: 9780385541213

As a side note, I have decided this start my blog back up as this period of self-isolation has given me the time and the drive to do what I enjoy – reading books. I can’t promise I’ll have any regular schedule, but I plan to post many more reviews on a wide genre of books.

Happy reading,

Lily xxx

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