BOOK REVIEW: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Starless Sea
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publication: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 487

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.


I recently within the last few months read this author’s first book Night Circus.  I loved the book and fell in love with the author’s writing style and how she weaves a story. I have recommended the story to several people and have even loaned my book out to someone.  So when Fantasy/Science Fiction won for my books clubs genre, I immediately suggested her next book, The Starless Sea as the next book.  Imagine my giddiness when it won.  I couldn’t wait to start the book.  

Zachary checks a book out from the library.  Within it is a story that he is the main character.  He becomes obsessed with the book and finding out about it.  On the back cover under the library barcode, he finds three little pictures. A key, a sword, and a bee.  The journey that Zachary goes on from there is one in a million.  First off, when I first started this book, I really didn’t like the fact that it has no chapters.  It’s one book but within it are 6 books.  Then each book in my mind is broken up by the story and the telling of the book that it is. Once I got past that and figured out how it was written, it flowed smoothly.  I absolutely loved this book.  I loved each of the characters and how they developed over time.  The author slowly added new levels to them as she wove an absolutely amazing story around them.  

More than once I was left with my jaw hanging open as she wove another piece of her story and attached it to another character.  The author wrote a lot of metaphors into the story that left me with a lot of deep thoughts as to each of our life stories.  My only qualm with the story and it’s not even enough to knock a star off is that the way that it ended.  I wanted to know if Zachary ever went back home to his mother and if his friend Kat ever found him.  I was left with those two questions at the end of the book.  In my mind, I wrote my own ending which is maybe what the author was going for.  The story is sweeping and each of the books have their own amazing worlds that I got sucked into and was upset when the book ended because I wanted more.  I fell in love with each of the characters and wanted more of the story as it ended. I can’t wait to read more by this author.  If you read one fantasy book this year this needs to be it.  I have already recommended it to multiple people.  Go out and buy it now!!!


Pick up your copy of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. You can check out more from author Erin Morgenstern on her website HERE.

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