Bookshelf Finds: ‘The Starless Sea’ by Erin Morgenstern


For a lot of readers out there, you will understand the torment of a giant To Be Read pile that just never seems to go down. Whether it’s a timing issue or the habit of buying too many books, you and I both know that most of those purchases are going to go on the TBR pile and will stay there for a very long time.

This is what has happened to our TBR piles since 2015, and we are now digging through it to unearth some old popular reads that have been steadily gathering dust to review them in what will be an ongoing series. The first book in our new series is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

The Starless Sea first came out November 2019 and was instantly a feature on Bookstagram, as Morgenstern’s first book, The Night Circus, had been a fan favorite. So it was only natural for everyone to rush and buy the second book.

The Starless Sea features Zachary Ezra Rawlins, a university student who enjoys novels and video games and found a magic door when he was a child but didn’t open it. Years later, he finds a book in the library that depicts the moment he found the door and wonders how a moment in his life could be in a book. His curiosity leads him on an extremely surreal adventure, full of whimsy and danger.

The Starless Sea is not at all like The Night Circus. Whilst both books are heavy on whimsy and magic, The Starless Sea asks the reader to put all logic aside and believe in the impossible. There are multiple tales within the book, going back and forward, and you have to pay close attention on how every story finally fits together. It really is like going down a deep dark rabbit hole. Since the book is almost twice the size of The Night Circus, you really do need to be invested to keep up.

The best part about The Starless Sea is that there is no fixed genre. Fantasy, romance, and adventure are all mixed up together and it keeps the story fresh. The detail of the surroundings is especially beautiful. What book nerd wouldn’t want to read about an underground world specifically for book lovers? Morgenstern has created a space we have all dreamed about, a space filled with books and candles and copious amounts of tea and cake, with cats sleeping in armchairs and reading nooks hidden away in every corner. The setting itself is what made the book so enjoyable, although I loved the characters just as much.

Erin Morgenstern is definitely an author with a unique and imaginative voice and this really stands out in her novels. I look forward to any other books she writes.

What did you think of The Starless Sea? Did you like it as much as The Night Circus? Let us know in the comments! If you are a fan of Erin Morgenstern, you can keep up to date with her projects by following her on Twitter he re.

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