Starless sea by Erin Morgenstern
Updated: Feb 8
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.
I think I finally found my book.
This novel was such a ride and I am still trying to figure out the journey cause the pages were made of marvellous complexity.
Erin Morgenstern had a pretty good excuse to "waste" nine years writing this book. I mean this is the type of work that I aspire to write. For real this is my cup of tea in every sense.
This is the lost story that I never knew that I was looking for.
If you haven´t yet read this book you will need to stop whatever you are reading and give this one a try.
But be ware that this is one of those books that you will need to push through the first few pages.
After that you will be so much in love with it that you will gravitate towards it naturally. At least that is what happen to me.
SPOILERS ahead, be warned that this is a spoilery review.
I will try my best to analyse this novel in an un-biased way but I will mostly lose my sh*t since this is my favourite book. Ever. And also, because I do not believe that you can discuss the full story without a second read ,or a third for that matter.
This was an extremely complex book. I do admit that I struggled to read it at first. I took a long time to get into the rhythm of it. The pacing is not the best, in my opinion, but it in this case I don´t even think after the first fours chapters you will even be thinking about pacing.
Look I am not the most adept fan of writing full of description but I now think that this is because I had never found a book that forced me to actually read it. I will be honest here and said that I used to never fully read descriptions and just pass ahead to dialogue or something else, I read it but not really.
I never actually absorbed it because for me it wasn't that important.
But this book finally taught me how precious descriptions can be.
Erin's writing is very beautiful and for people that like straight to point writing this is not the best books for you. But for me, it actually changed my opinion of it! Without descriptions this novel would be 50% less both in story as in experience. Just read it!
Zachary is our main character, I think. Although there are other characters that could also fit that role quite easily. and I loved him. Mostly because he felt real and in the room with me.
“We are all stardust and stories.”
All of the characters felt this way and that is because this book was stories in stories and I also felt as a story by the end of it and so I was in the same level with all of them. Like I could also sink away into the Starless Sea.
I am truly lost of words for this review because I do not know how to explain the way I felt while reading this book. I am lost in time because of it and weirdly even that seems possible. Because:
"life is weird sometimes".
I love the romance, and I am not even that big of a fan of boy on boy romance simply because I can't relate to it. But here? It was so pure and so reasonable, like they were actually people in a busy lifestyle and love was just a casual rolling of waves. I was amazed at how I also fell in love with them both. It was slow but also fast! AH I can´t describe it.
And don´t get me started on the atmosphere of the book, the immersion. If I loved Gods of Jade and Shadow (REVIEW HERE) because of how immersed I was, the Starless Sea its 10000% times better. It is the grandfather of immersion. I think I can still get the feeling that I am drowning in a honey sea or the chills when Dorian tells Z that story at the party.
OH, there are SO MANY GOOD scenes. I just can´t share them all here.
I really need someone to talk to about this book. My life feels empty now that it is over.
The novel is seperated into a lot of different stories which makes it a bit hard to get into, it took me two weeks to get really into the story (or stories). It is a bit discouraging because in the start you are bombarded by so many information and none of it makes sense until it does and when it does, oh when it does it is so good!
There quite a few characters as well, maybe not too many once you figure out that fate is Mirabel and that time is the Keeper and that Allegra is the painter but until that point it is a lot of people and some aren't even people they are just entities like the moon. YES THE MOON!
But what made me feel like this was my book is when I had the realisation that the book in itself is the story created to hide Fate's heart and that the story sculptor is not only Fate but also the author, Erin Morgenstern.
There is a story in the book that is refereeing to the actual book and there is so many more little things that I am sure that I missed that are related to reality and that makes it all possible.
That is why I love it. Because it felt possible.
The complexity of these connections are everywhere! There is a scene where a man lost in time is found in a temple where there are these statues and in these statues there are so many strings and those strings are the story. The book. The book is the story and it is like the story finally has life of its own. We are not following the characters but the story.
And it is just amazing, how it is done. It gives me chills. It really does.
How the ice statue makes him a key but he was always been a key and how that connects to Kat's video game and with Fate only building doors and choices which is just as real as it is metaphorical because Mirabel is the one that paints the doors....
"Everyone wishes to grasp that which exists out of reach. To hold the extraordinary in their hands and keep the remarkable in their pockets".
It just goes full circle. For some bits of the book the characters are you and your are them. You can almost exchange places because ,I don't even know, but that is what I felt!
There is time travelling and forgotten realms and magic and cats and books everywhere there is a villain that it isn't a villain in the end and there is so much human connection and love and just raw storytelling. it honestly made me fell in love with writing and reading all over again.
This book is what I want to do. It is the definition of why I am a storyteller.
It is poetic and lyrical and hard to get into yes, but pass that and the meaning is so grand. It is beyond myself and everyone because it is the essence of what being a storyteller is.
And there are things that in the end I was super confused about and still am, but that is why I have to re-read it because I am convinced that the answers to those questions are somewhere there in the page ,with me.
"You have been given everything you need to know".
Most people will dnf this book at the 30% mark and it is sad but I understand it. Because that was one of my thoughts around that time. But push through because it is way more than poetic or whimsical.
I loved the ending as well. Because of its simplistic way of making it a new begging and an ending all at once. We will never know what will happen with Kat after she opens that door because this is not that story. This story had an ending with Z dying.
This book is just a real story looking for its end. Like a fuc*ed up way of telling us that there is always and ending.
I love it so much.
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