Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern // Or, A Love Letter to Storytelling

★★★★★ | A Love Letter to Storytelling

“Strange, isn’t it? To love a book. When the words on the pages become so precious that they feel like part of your own history because they are. It’s nice to finally have someone read stories I know so intimately.”


Title: The Starless Sea

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Release Date: November 5th 2019

Pages: 487

Genres:  Fantasy / Romance / LGBT / Books about Books


goodreads-add-e1547065951898🐝 stories within stories
🐝 underground setting
🐝 absurdist
🐝 whimsical

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. 


“To seeking!” 

“To finding!”

This is one of the most beautiful, intriguing, intricate stories I’ve ever read.

It felt like a love letter to storytelling and everyone connected to it.

Not only the writers. To everyone who ever loved a story, told a story, kept a story… To everyone whose stories were lost or forgotten. 

To all the people at the margins of society creating something magical if being given the opportunity to just live without the burdens of the outside world.

“It is a sanctuary for storytellers and storykeepers and storylovers. They eat and sleep and dream surrounded by chronicles and histories and myths.”

Do you ever crave for something, somewhere but the feeling is too undefinable to even say it out loud?

Do you ever crave some deeper meaning?

Some feeling.

Some words and some experiences.

Freedom. A sense of belonging. Adventure. 

Passion, perhaps?

“I think people came here for the same reason we came here,” Dorian says. “In search of something. Even if we didn’t know what it was. Something more. Something to wonder at. Someplace to belong. We’re here to wander through other people’s stories, searching for our own.”

The characters loved the stories. Sought out the stories. Spun the stories of their own.

They entered the dance and once they did it they decided not to give up until their feet gave out.

Because being a part of something meaningful is hard to quit.

Because you don’t want to go back to the boring existence after you step into the world of wonders.

“Everyone is a part of a story, what they want is to be part of something worth recording”

But it was also sad and whimsical and passionate, and, sure, a bit pretentious.

And it turned and spun and spun and turned!

And one story blurred into another and another and another until it was all connected but it was both neatly tied together and leaving things unanswered?

“For every tale carved in rock there are more inscribed on autumn leaves or woven into spiderwebs.”

It felt like life and magic and a story.

Like it was living with its own rules but that little universe made sense just for you to listen to its story and its people and its gods and its myths.

“Do you believe in the mystical, the fantastical, the improbable, or the impossible? Do you believe that things others dismiss as dreams and imagination actually exist? Do you believe in fairy tales?”

I usually hate frequent POV changes and get lost between them easily but here this felt like an intricate waltz with partner changes.

I never felt like something was cut mid scene but like one thing brought me into another.

Everything was connected.

Nothing made sense and everything made sense.

“Symbols are for interpretation, not definition.”

It gave me the opposite of the book hangover. I am CRAVING stories. I want to experience it so many times I’ll be able to recite it too.

“Not all stories speak to all listeners, but all listeners can find a story that does, somewhere, sometime. In one form or another.”

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11 thoughts on “Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern // Or, A Love Letter to Storytelling

      1. You’re welcome, awhh thankyou you don’t have too! Ahhh I totally agree they are just amazing. I really need to read the binding at some point apparently it is amazing! They are just pockets of pure magical joy! 😊💜

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m close to the end with it and I like it but not even closely as much as I love The Starless Sea? The writing style and aesthetic is all there but something is missing 😀


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