“Not all stories speak to all listeners, but all listeners can find a story that does, somewhere, sometimes. In one form or another.”
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.
Morgenstern manages to capture imagination in a way unlike other writers. I always feel transported by her writing and the whole experience feels magical. It’s not often you find books that make you feel like this so when you do you savour them. You read them slowly so that they seep into your mind and soul. It’s only with poorly worded metaphors that I get across how I feel about Morgenstern’s writing.
After reading The Night Circus I knew the next book she writes would be a book I would be anticpating. 5 years later we recieved The Starless Sea. What a beautiul follow up to The Night Circus.
I should note. Each book is a standalone and you can read one without reading the other. But you should read both because both are wonderful.
My favourite aspect of The Starless Sea was the atmosphere. Originally I was expecting a book set in a historical setting (not sure why) so when I started reading and realized the character was not only my age but set in this time period I had to readjust my mind frame. After that it was smooth sailing. I loved the rich texture in the writing, the beautiful quotes and the imaginative stories.
It’s no wonder I loved The Starless Sea. Books about books always hold a special place on my shelves. Stories within stories are the most magical of tellings. Erin mentions Shadow of the Wind, one of my favourite books ever. As soon as that happened I knew this book was going to be special.
Zachary Rawlings steps into a world of magic. A world of mystery. A world he couldn’t even image. This story follows Zachary as he’s discovering what time and fate and books and magic have in store for him, for us, for the world. I loved how mysterious this book was and loved that we discovered Zachary’s path along with him. I don’t even have words to convey how beautiful this book is. All I can say is pick up a copy to be transported into a magical story.
Thank you Doubleday Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I can’t wait to see where Morgenstern’s imagination take us next.