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Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to the final day of November. Wow, my monthly wrap-up will be coming tomorrow, and then starts the fun of trying to get back on schedule with my blog. I do still have a bunch of reviews and such that I need to write up…so I might end up trying to do a few bonus posts in December. I’d like to start 2020 off as caught up on my post backlog as possible. But we’ll see what happens.

Anyway, today I have a review for a book that I have been highly anticipating for years. I just kept looking around and waiting and watching for any news about a new Erin Morgenstern book. And then after it was announced I was both excited and nervous. I absolutely adore The Night Circus, so I worried that a new book wouldn’t give me the same feelings of magic and wonderment when I read it.

So how did The Starless Sea measure up in my mind? Well, let’s actually jump in the review and I’ll tell you.

The Starless Sea


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world–a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

What I can absolutely say right now is that I will definitely need to read this book again to be able to fully absorb everything. It’s something I did with Morgenstern’s first book as well. And honestly, I still find myself discovering new things with each re-read of her book, so I’m sure that will be the case with this one as well.

I definitely was swept away into this story about stories. There were so many different tales being told and they wove together in such fascinating ways. I thought it was done quite well, but again, I’m sure I missed out on a lot of smaller details and connections. The characters were quirky and interesting, and the setting was so intriguing to me. Like, where’s my doorway? I want to go.

Also, I know that again this is another standalone story, but I would be fine if there ended up being another book in this world in a few years.

Stories are definitely the main focus here, and we get to see one large and complex tale being told through the use of several smaller stories. We also go in and out of time. There are chapters that take place in our modern world and time, and some that take place a decade before, and then some of the stories being read from books take place around the Starless Sea, but also sometimes in our world in times of the past. Honestly I’m still trying to process and unravel it all.

But that’s what I absolutely love about Erin Morgenstern’s writing. It is so beautiful and magical and whimsical. Her wording and her descriptions transport me away from my day-to-day existence, but there is so much depth and detail that it makes me read the book over and over, because I need to. I need the beautiful escape a little longer. I need to unravel the tale a little more. I need to discover more of the connections and piece more of the puzzle together.

I absolutely adored this book. I tried to read it slowly, mostly only on my breaks at work, so it ended up taking me almost two weeks to read it, but honestly, it was so worth it. Depending on how I do with my planned December reads, I might try to binge read this one again, and instead of taking my time, I’ll devour the book in a day. We’ll see what happens.

Where to Get a Copy

You can get your own copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore.

You can also check with your local library.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern”

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