- Read Date: January 16, 2020
- Rating: 3/5
- Format: Print Book
The Night Circus author Erin Morgenstern returns with with another fantastic (double meaning!) novel that beautifully exhibits her knack for creating dreamy, twisty, quasi-steampunky worlds in The Starless Sea.
When Zachary Ezra Rawlins checks out an antique, authorless, mysterious book from his university library, he discovers in its pages things that will change his life forever. A character- and atmosphere-driven piece, The Starless Sea follows a cast of complex and mysterious characters through underground literary societies and networks; the novel is rife with delicious literary references and incredibly intricate detail and world building. Much like The Night Circus, the reader can very clearly imagine the Starless Sea and its harbors. So many elements of this book are delights for true bookworms; from a literary themed masked ball and beyond, each reference to reading and writing and poetry and words is a gratifying little Easter egg.
The story’s strength certainly lies in its atmosphere and ambiance. I am again so impressed by Morgenstern’s ability to create such a vivid aesthetic and fantastical place, just as I was when reading The Night Circus. However, The Starless Sea loses me in a similar way that The Night Circus did, in that the pacing is really quite challenging. At times it is easy to get swept up in the magic and labyrinthine descriptions she uses– which is certainly not a bad thing– but for folks like me who are drawn to plot-driven novels, the slow connection of the myriad of intermingled dots will prove a bit trying.
All in all, Morgenstern has very successfully crafted a novel that typifies her writing style, which is, largely, lovely. Whether that style is everyone’s cup of tea is a different matter, and is ultimately where a struggle presented itself for me. There was a *little* too much metaphor and not enough action for my taste, but I’m glad that I powered through and got to experience what secrets await.
Did you read The Starless Sea? Do you love or hate a character piece? Tell me all your thoughts below!
Find The Starless Sea here or at your local library and, as always, happy reading!