The Starless Sea – Review

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern is THE book for bibliophiles and writers. It’s all about stories in a metaphorical intertwinement of mystery, imagination and fate.

Follow the story of Zachary Ezra Rawlins, resident bookworm and college graduate, whose world is kind of flipped and shaken with the discovery of a book containing details from his life he hasn’t disclosed to anyone. The main plot of The Starless Sea follows Zachary’s investigation as the plot thickens and confusion rises with each and every almost-discovery. Within a labyrinth of books, stolen stories from people, Zachary, son of the fortune-teller, is searching for the end to his story.

“Once, very long ago,” the traveler began, “Time fell in love with fate…The stars watched them from the heavens, worrying that the flow of time would be disrupted or the strings of fortune tangled into knots.”

The Starless Sea is a culmination of metaphors within the main plot of self-discovery and the exploration of different types and formats of stories. It’s exciting to see how the author will piece together little actions, motifs and meetings to round the allegory and central message. These were my initial thoughts 1/4 of the way through at page 113.

The literary themed fundraiser was a lovely idea and I’d adore to have a literary themed party – including all of the decor, costumes, food, games! It would be so fun! What would make it even better, is if it was set at an aesthetic place like a mansion. I can just imagine it now. I would dress up as one of my favourite characters: Maybe Kaz Brekker, Nikolai Lantsov, Cordelia Carstairs or Matthew Fairchild?

Bottom line – I just want a fabulous outfit to take photos in and strut around with my friends.

“Poetry, The weather. It’s like a poem. Where each word is more than one thing at once and everything’s a metaphor. The meaning condensed into rhythm and sound and the spaces between sentences. It’s all intense and sharp, like the cold and the wind.”

There is a unique style and structure to Morgenstern’s writing – it keeps the reader engaged with snippets of tales using metaphors within time, fate, dreams and stars. Stories are a central aspect of this book. If you truly love books and everything literary, The Starless Sea will be an enjoyable read to excite and delight the mind.

“This is the rabbit hole. Do you want to know the secret to surviving once you’ve gone down the rabbit hole?

Zachary nods and Mirabel leans forward. Her eyes are ringed with gold.

Be a rabbit, she whispers.”

Morgenstern portrays stories through psychics, key collectors, sculpters, princesses, bees, owl Kings and even fate itself. The motifs follow you along the way and just when you think you understand the story, she flips it and your left bewildered, yet again. It’s a similar feeling to the magical wonder of books such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, and Inkheart.

Morgenstern accentuates the grievances of these disrupted stories and lives with unresolved questions up until the very end. Do not fret, it wraps up nicely right before the end. The use of ‘Sweet Sorrow’ as a book within the book was another addition that I ended up liking. The book is a tale of stories and realities beyond time. I’ll admit, it took me about a hundred pages in to become truly invested and understand where the story was going. I adored how invested Zachary grew and eventually challenged that quota that he was an unwilling individual and a follower. Eventually, he acts instead of reacting all of the time. He was a central player in resolving the complicated variants working against the nature of the Starless Sea itself.

This book was unlike any I’ve read, but it’s reminiscent of the whimsical nature of older fiction that readers have always fawned over. At 334 pages is where it all seems to unravel slowly. The Starless Sea belongs in its own category on my recommendations shelf, along with the wonderful and whimsical favourites of old.

A Wandering Reader