Luckily for you lot, my klaxon is out of juice. Instead you just have me trying to coherently put together some sort of review that isn’t just incoherent babbling and waving a hardback close enough to knock you out. You have been warned. Right *cracks knuckles* let’s give this review milarkey a shot!
“We are all stardust and stories”
The Starless Sea
My short weird summary: Zachary thinks he’s just taken out a book at his university library. He doesn’t realise, at first, how important this book will become to him, or where it will lead him. To the mystery of the bee, the sword and the key, and to the woman at a literary masquerade…
It’s no secret that I adore The Night Circus. I love it. It’s a completely immersive experience for me and I want to illustrate it and maybe make some of the costumes if I have some free time. So, as you can imagine, I was extremely excited and actually kinda wary when I heard Erin Morgenstern was brining out a second novel. Excited because I love the writing style and wary because of how much I loved the Night Circus. She couldn’t possibly do it again could she? Luckily for me, the answer was both yes and no.
Yes, because The Starless Sea is, quite frankly, amazing. It’s weird and complicated and full of stories and it’s wonderful. I loved Mirabel and Kat especially, I loved Zachary’s ongoing confusion and rolling with it, I loved Rhyme even though she has a small part and I love that she and the Keeper are buds.
No because, luckily, she didn’t try to recreate the Night Circus. Yes, this is another magical place, and I can imagine them existing in the same universe, but the magic was different and I was kinda relieved that we weren’t getting the Night Circus 2.0 or something. It was NEW and it was WEIRD and it was AWESOME.
One of the things I love about this book is that I know I will pick more up when I read it again, that now I know the ending and the middle and the start I can read the little tale chapters outside the main narrative and notice things I hadn’t before. It’s a wonderfully re-readable book! I closed the last page, and I wanted more, I wanted to know what happened to all the characters, to see how Kat fares, to know more. I want to find my door to the Harbour with its stories and art and cats and have my compass and go exploring. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
The first few chapters I found a little hard going and confusing, as I tried to grasp the threads of what was going on and tried to find patterns and puzzles in the first few stories. I suppose we, the reader, are supposed to be like Zachary at the start, because at some point I stopped trying to spot puzzles and just enjoyed the book and felt it unfold around me like the dolls world.
The writing style can be confusing at points, but it’s similarity to fairy tales structure made it easier to follow and I wouldn’t advise reading this while scratchy-eye tired (from experience, trust me) and the short chapters make it easy to dip in and out as needed. Only have a few minutes? That’s a chapter. Maybe two if you’re a fast reader.
This is a book about stories! It’s a whole library-esque world and conspiracies and keys and bees and swords and don’t-call-it-magic. It’s about readers and finding a place and a person with which to belong. This is a story for readers, for seekers, for those who still tap the back of new wardrobes in the hope that Narnia might be lurking there. It’s a special kind of magical.
I highly recommend adding The Starless Sea to your TBR list if it isn’t already! It was beautiful and I can’t wait to reread again to find out even more about this world! I’ve spent a good few days reading this, drawing the book out as long as I can and its been great!