Chaima ✨ شيماء 's Reviews > The Starless Sea

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
42130592
's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019-releases, fantasy, fiction, adult, arc, boys-love-boys, lgbtqia-rep, poc-rep, read-in-2019

It’s a profoundly strange thing—to feel as though you are wading through mildly entertaining novels that pass through you like falling smoke, always searching for the one that reaches into the back alleys of your soul and settles to the bottom of you like fallen leaves.

And then there it is, like a faint spark bobbing on a dark sea, calling you, beckoning.

The dark-throated bliss of it is like what all the books you’ve ever read have been aspiring to be, the scales of what is good, great, and transcendent recalibrating in your head. The story that is a door creaking open in your chest, pouring light into that unyielding hollowness. A secret burning like a lantern in the center of you. Something you could crawl into if only you believed it hard enough.

To borrow some of Morgenstern’s words, “books are always better when read rather than explained.” Words fall short of this marvel, but I want you to read this book, so I had to try.

“For those who feel homesick for a place they’ve never been to. Those who seek even if they do not know what (or where) it is that they are seeking. Those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.”


A subterranean library where reality can be shuffled like a deck of cards—a drunken mangle of past and present. Stories that wander off the edge of the page, filled with teeth and armored with immortality. People who wander off the edge of the map,  perilously and fathomlessly free, unbounded, the unnameable future ahead of them—endless reams of blank paper. And the secret society undoing it all, unwinding the Starless Sea thread by thread, until it falls away.

And in the center of it all: Zachary Ezra Rawlins.

This is Erin Morgernstern’s much-anticipated second novel. The basics, at least. The bones. But stories—as stories often do—grow in the telling:

Zachary Ezra Rawlins stumbled across an authorless book in the library, and in the deepest, most unshakable part of himself where reason was useless, he knew—incontrovertibly, without a doubt—that it was narrating a long-ago event of his childhood. Back when 11-year-old Zachary found a painted door, unknowingly teetering on the invisible edge of a great cliff, but held himself back from the seething, teeming sea below. The door (and the unspoken invitation) was gone the next day, like a wave washing clean over sand.

But here was a second chance, a do-over, and Zachary clung to it with the self-propelling recklessness of hope's last effort. The scattered uncertainties of his youth fell away. This was the unwritten story, still swelling in its hollows, breathing tendrils of magic into the air. But there’s a strange darkening, something nameless hanging on the horizon. Soon, dreams and nightmares start borrowing each other’s faces, and Zachary’s time is as sands running through an hourglass grain by grain.

“I think people came here for the same reason we came here,” Dorian says. “In search of something. Even if we didn’t know what it was. Something more. Something to wonder at. Someplace to belong. We’re here to wander through other people’s stories, searching for our own.”


The Starless Sea is a love letter to those of us dogged with the invisible burden of unbelonging that stirs us from the stillness and sends us out into the page in search of solace, those of us who carry stories like a secret talisman in our pockets and rub words for comfort until they are worn smooth as creek stones, those of us who once turned away from our own painted doors before we took courage and learned to feel the surge of fear and stifle it.

Emerging after 8 years—like a glittering literary cicada—with a remarkably powerful novel, Morgenstern holds our gaze for the space of a few hundred pages and fills it with what she wills.

The author’s imagination is keener than almost anyone's. Her pen has a heart inside and warmth as fire does, and it plucked a string in me, every line coming forth like a note of music—drenched with meaning, spangled and thundering with it. Hers is prose that lingers in the blood, lit like a coal in your belly. A story that attaches itself, ravenously, to its readers, long after the words have run out.

With exacting precision while giving the impression of effortlessness, Morgenstern engineers a recklessly splendid plot, gliding through a series of high notes that trembles exquisitely almost without break, inviting the reader to wonder at the opulence of her craft. There are tales layered upon tales and characters free to wander, leaving their books to taste life in other stories. It all meshes together quite immaculately. The multiples narratives are connected by crisscrossing threads of character and plot, and Morgenstern balances upon them like a tightrope walker, dashing from page to page. As dizzying as it gets, she never once slips.

Morgenstern has invented her own brand of page-turner. As much as I wanted to sit back and luxuriate over the sumptuously varnished prose, I kept going, going, going, chasing after every sentence as if the words themselves were on horseback, wild and furious, racing after the riddles of Fate and Time, of pirates and tongueless acolytes, of weary travelers and wearier lovers, of foretelling sculptors and all-seeing Owls, before getting swept out by a rogue wave to the Starless Sea, swimming against riptides, finally staggering ashore to a landscape you couldn’t begin to make sense of yet still as familiar as the remembrance of a touch.

But this novel is, above all, a love story—one that shone like light upon the waves of the Starless Sea, dazzling to blindness. Zachary and Dorian’s love tale was sometimes as fierce as joy, and sometimes like a knife blade pressed to my flesh. A held gaze in a sea of stares sliding past you as though you didn’t exist and you two are the only fixed points in a universe of motion. His voice like a phantom feather over skin—a storyteller’s voice—and his presence like a rope thrown into a churning sea. This person that is “a place you could lose yourself in, and never wish to be found,” as familiar as one's own skin. This frenzied, fevered need to know one another. A love story you’ll want a return ticket to.

“And no story ever truly ends as long as it is told.”


Reader, The Starless Sea is a door standing open before you—step into it and let it step into you.

wishlistblogtwittertumblr
1560 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Starless Sea.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

November 8, 2018 – Shelved
August 10, 2019 – Started Reading
August 10, 2019 –
3.0% "”A reading major, that’s what he wants. No response papers, no exams, no analysis, just the reading.”

t-this speaks to the deepest layers of my soul"
August 11, 2019 –
20.0% "why Zachary is my actual soulmate:

• he’s a ravenclaw & a pisces
• hangs out in libraries, rarely leaves his room otherwise
• thinks reading until 3 am is a normal occurrence
• instinctively thinks “no” when asked to interact with other human beings
• wishes he were rich so he could fix the library's lightbulbs
• flinches when handing over his credit card
• would follow a handsome stranger in the dark
• gay af"
August 14, 2019 –
80.0% "THIS OTP IS GOING TO ACTUALLY BE THE CAUSE OF MY DEATH!!!! ERIN MORGENSTERN SAID I’M GIVING THE GAYS EVERYTHING THEY EVER ASKED FOR 😭🌈 GOD BLESS"
August 17, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 85 (85 new)


message 1: by Taiwo (new)

Taiwo | A Lifestyle Nerd 😂😂


Chaima ✨ شيماء Taiwo wrote: "😂😂"

it's literally a year from now I WANT TO SCREAM


Diane Excited yet impatient here! This book sounds AMAZING! Having to wait an entire year is going to be painful!


Damien "Oh it just came out this month!" I thought, before I realised to my horror that the year of release is 2019.


Dorie  - Cats&Books :) I ran up to my computer to order this until the date finally sunk in :( so long away


message 6: by Tucker (new) - added it

Tucker Wait, they're not giving out physical ARCs?
*Hyperventilat es*


Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐ I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS OMGGGGG


Chaima ✨ شيماء Diane wrote: "Excited yet impatient here! This book sounds AMAZING! Having to wait an entire year is going to be painful!"

omg same!!!


Chaima ✨ شيماء Damien wrote: ""Oh it just came out this month!" I thought, before I realised to my horror that the year of release is 2019."

oof I can't say this hasn't happened to me before, the disappointment is REAL


Chaima ✨ شيماء Dorie - Traveling Sister :) wrote: "I ran up to my computer to order this until the date finally sunk in :( so long away"

i knooow :(((


Chaima ✨ شيماء Tucker wrote: "Wait, they're not giving out physical ARCs?
*Hyperventilat es*"


nope rip


Chaima ✨ شيماء Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐ wrote: "I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS OMGGGGG"

SAAAME


message 13: by LydiaMae (new) - added it

LydiaMae The synopsis sounds amazing as welL!
OMG WHY NOT JUST STARVE ME AND HANG FOOD IN FRONT OF MY FACE. That'd actually BE better than having to wait for this ;-;


Chaima ✨ شيماء LydiaMae wrote: "The synopsis sounds amazing as welL!
OMG WHY NOT JUST STARVE ME AND HANG FOOD IN FRONT OF MY FACE. That'd actually BE better than having to wait for this ;-;"


MOOD! It already sounds so good omg


Aoife - Bookish_Babbling Stunning cover 😍


Chaima ✨ شيماء Aoife wrote: "Stunning cover 😍"

aaahh right???


message 17: by e ll a (new) - added it

e ll a ✨ my hand now iTCHES to preorder 2 more editions, Chaima what have u done


message 18: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily Schwartz What Genre is this considered?


Chaima ✨ شيماء e ll a wrote: "my hand now iTCHES to preorder 2 more editions, Chaima what have u done"

listen that’s exactly how I feel I AM SUFFERING


Chaima ✨ شيماء Emily wrote: "What Genre is this considered?"

it’s adult fantasy!


message 21: by Gyuri (new) - added it

Gyuri What. Is the main character gay?! Why isn't this mentioned anywhere in the blurb? Now I NEED it rn


Kisses♡•• Oh i think i need it so bad rn, it sounds so good and interesting! I cant wait


Chaima ✨ شيماء Gyuri wrote: "What. Is the main character gay?! Why isn't this mentioned anywhere in the blurb? Now I NEED it rn"

HE SURE IS! I didn’t know either until it was casually mentioned and I nearly breathed out my kidneys....we love to win!


Chaima ✨ شيماء Kisses A wrote: "Oh i think i need it so bad rn, it sounds so good and interesting! I cant wait"

I hope you love it!!!!


Sahib Singh I hope the book he finds is written by Widge


Sahib Singh Oh and her books aren't YA but still sooooo enjoyable and make you feel better is the best thing ever. You don't need to be 17 to live life. I think I'll read Night Circus more than Harry Potter now. Hopefully this one will outshine Night Circus


message 27: by Lance (new) - added it

Lance WAIT SO THERE'S A GAY ROMANCE AT THE CENTER OF THIS??? IT'S OVER, IM READY NOW


Armalite You're just torturing me now.


message 29: by Eden (new) - added it

Eden I’m beyond excited to read this book! Thanks for teasing us. 😭😭


Tayler Rickstrew This is my most anticipated read of this year and no way in hell am I ready 😭😭😭


message 31: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat I need this so terribly. It feels like I have waited since the dawn of time. Her writing is one of a kind. I also kind of fear reading this because when it's ended I know I won't know what to do with myself because I'll be back to waiting in anticipation of her next novel and it's just the worst feeling ever.


kelly I didn't really enjoy the Night Circus, will I enjoy this or should I not bother? 🖤


Sahib Singh Waiting and waiting and waiting


message 34: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle Gay?!?! Awesome!! Can’t wait!💗😍


message 35: by AM (new) - rated it 5 stars

AM Okay now my hopes are way way high


Chaima ✨ شيماء Sahib wrote: "I hope the book he finds is written by Widge"

OHH


Chaima ✨ شيماء Sahib wrote: "Oh and her books aren't YA but still sooooo enjoyable and make you feel better is the best thing ever. You don't need to be 17 to live life. I think I'll read Night Circus more than Harry Potter no..."

I absolutely adored The Night Circus but The Starless Sea snagged at my heart the most and I can't wait to read it again and again!


Chaima ✨ شيماء Lance wrote: "WAIT SO THERE'S A GAY ROMANCE AT THE CENTER OF THIS??? IT'S OVER, IM READY NOW"

HELL YEAH


Chaima ✨ شيماء Armalite wrote: "You're just torturing me now."

ITS WORTH THE PAIN I PROMISE


Chaima ✨ شيماء Eden wrote: "I’m beyond excited to read this book! Thanks for teasing us. 😭😭"

i HOPE YOU LOVE IT <3


Kisses♡•• November cant come faster :(
But its the actual worst to think about the book hangover i most likely will have after reading ;)


message 42: by Cæcilie (new) - added it

Cæcilie I can't wait to read it! <3


message 43: by Anika (new) - added it

Anika Oh my goodness, I am counting down the daaaaaaays


message 44: by Sylvie (new) - added it

Sylvie I didn't know this was queer! I was excited before but now I am counting down the days to it's release 😭


message 45: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Breitfeller I loved Night Circus but very sad to hear this has a gay theme. This is not in tune with my beliefs. Very disappointed as I was looking so forward to another book from this author. Oh well there are other good books I will enjoy.


Enae Moana This. I wasn't sure about this book (I have so much to read so if I can -not- put a book on my TBR, I'm happy) but I didn't know this was gay! So of course I'm buying it and I'll gladly put it one my TBR (knowing it's non ya is also a plus) :D


message 47: by Isaac (last edited Nov 04, 2019 06:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Isaac Jones Catherine wrote: "I loved Night Circus but very sad to hear this has a gay theme. This is not in tune with my beliefs. Very disappointed as I was looking so forward to another book from this author. Oh well there ar..."

There was literally already a major lesbian character in the Night Circus.


message 48: by Jose (new)

Jose Bautista Tomorrow!!!


message 49: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Dailey Can't wait to read it!


message 50: by Heather (new) - added it

Heather Ultsch My GOD what a review! You, Chaima, are a wizard of words yourself! I can’t wait to read this book thanks in part to your delicious review!


« previous 1
back to top