★★★★★ · reviews

The Starless Sea | Review

Title: The Starless Sea

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Publisher: Doubleday Books (Penguin)

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★


The Starless Sea is a literary work of art. All writing is art, but this novel is ART. It is beautiful and captivating and I fell utterly in love with it. I was enchanted by Morgenstern’s wonderful prose, intricate worlds and complex characters, and it is one of my favourite books of all time. It is wonderful, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys lyrical, beautiful writing.

There are so many things that I loved about this book, so I will just name a few or I will end up rambling for days.

Firstly, I loved the humour of this novel. It was such a witty book, full of sarcasm and self-deprecation and I loved it. There were so many moments where Zachary’s character really made me laugh out loud. I don’t want to spoil anything by giving examples, but I loved the sense of humour in this book.

I fell in love with Zachary. He is an adorable, book-obsessed, witty and dysfunctional college student, and he sums up the student life wonderfully. Morgenstern really captures the dysfunction mess of a human in a how-am-I-even-an-actual-adult kind of way and it is amazing. He is so relatable and I love him. He is one of my favourite main characters ever.

The number of cats in this book was also a huge plus for me. There were a lot of cats, and I am yet to find a book that would not and could not be improved by the presence of cats.

The interludes and fantasy stories within this book were equally as incredible as the main plot. It could get a little confusing, alternating between our main characters (mostly Zachary) and a chapter from within another book, but it didn’t take long to get used to the narrative. The stories inside these books were so magical and incredible and so real. Morgenstern can make you care for a character in less than a page, and I became so fully invested in so many of the wonderful characters from these fictional stories within the main narrative.

And obviously I raved about it at the beginning, but I have to mention the writing again. It’s just the best. I wasn’t sure that I loved whimsy and lyrical, elegant prose, but it turns out I do. I really do. This is just a work of art on so many levels, and I want everyone to read it.

There were only a couple of things that I didn’t love quite as much as everything else. For one, I felt this novel lacked an intense battle or action scene. I was craving a fantastical battle and you don’t really get that, which was a little sad, but not the end of the world. Similarly, I started to worry through the last 100 pages that the book wasn’t going where I thought it was going, and I started to panic that I wouldn’t love it, but fortunately Morgenstern pulled through and wrapped everything up beautifully.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I know it gets a lot of mixed reviews, I think due to the writing style and narrative, so it is a bit of a Marmite book. But I loved it, and I’d love recommendations for similar books.

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