This is a book that has been on my TBR since early 2019 and I just kept putting it off. I was scared to see if this lived up to the hype of The Night Circus. Well, I finally did it! I finally read it!
Title: The Starless Sea
Author: Erin Morganstern
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, LGBTQ+
I’m honestly not sure what I just read. I didn’t like it. I didn’t dislike it, which is why I finished it. But I can’t say I “liked” it, which is why its only getting 2 stars. I was curious to see where this story went.
I’ve read The Night Circus and that also took me on a journey that I didn’t understand until the very last page, but once I did, I immediately wanted to turn back to the beginning and start it all over again because everything finally made sense! I had hopes The Starless Sea would do that too but alas, it did not.
This reads more like a stream of consciousness than a novel – what is the plot? I honestly couldn’t tell you. It’s a story, its a journey, but there really is no “conflict” and therefore no resolution to be had or found. It is an interesting journey to be taken on, but I was just as confused as our MC Zachary most of the time. The Starless Sea gave me Alice in Wonderland vibes in the sense of chasing a white rabbit (yes, there is a “rabbit” in this story) and fairytales and things that are nonsense, but while Alice wanted to get home, Zachary never felt that urgency to return.
I listened to this as an audiobook and I loved the various narrators for different aspects/tales of this book. There are multiple story lines that all lead into the main storyline of Zachary. I found that interesting and intriguing but I wish it actually led somewhere. Just like the painted doors, sometimes it leads you to the Starless Sea and sometimes it leads you to somewhere else.
I knew going into this it was going to be a very weird book and I was proven correct. The writing is beautiful, I just wish I appreciated or followed along better. I can see why some people love this and why others hate this.
Apparently there is romance in this book? But you could’ve fooled me… I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it even if I squinted!
I’m proud of myself for FINALLY reading this book and being able to say I have read it.
Truthfully, I think I’m done with Erin Morgenstern’s writing. It’s just not for me as a reader.
As mentioned above, I really enjoyed the various narrators this book had for different aspects/tales of this book. There are multiple story lines that all lead into the main storyline of Zachary. I found that interesting and intriguing but I wish it actually led somewhere. I am glad I listened to it though as I feel like that added another element to the story.
I’m giving this a 2.5 and rounding down to 2 on Goodreads. With The Night Circus, I was confused the entire time I read it but when I was finished, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and wanted to immediately reread it. I didn’t feel that with The Starless Sea. If you’re an Erin Morganstern fan you’ve probably already read this (I’m 2 years late to the part) – but truthfully, I wouldn’t recommend this one. If you’re a fan of magical realism maybe you’ll enjoy this more than I did!