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The Starless Sea
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Book Discussion > The Starless Sea

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message 1: by Caroline (last edited Mar 01, 2020 07:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Caroline (carolinerudolph) | 138 comments Our Contemporary/Popular Pick for February 2020 is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

What has motivated you to want to read this novel? Do you have any expectations or assumptions before you've opened it? Have you heard anyone else talking about it? Will you buy the book, or were you lucky enough to put yourself on the library waitlist for it?


Elba (elbamaria) | 51 comments My son gave me The Starless Sea as a Christmas gift. I follow book bloggers on instagram and this book is showing up everywhere. I am very curious about it. I also think the cover art is gorgeous. Erin Morgenstern is very well regarded so I am looking forward to checking out her writing. There is a bit of fantasy and mystery and enough to peak my interest. So glad to be co reading with all of you. Cheers!


Elba (elbamaria) | 51 comments Me again. Erin Morgenstern has an instagram. If you are curious take a peek. She’s so artsy. Her book The Starless Sea is taking off.


Elba (elbamaria) | 51 comments I know, gosh me again! Readingbringsjoy is a book blogger I follow on istagram. She recommends the audio because it was recorded with a full cast. So if you find yourself in a time crunch consider the audio. I am discovering that Erin Morgenstern has a theatre background. Cheers!


Caroline (carolinerudolph) | 138 comments I've also seen this book EVERYWHERE. I feel as if everyone is reading it, and I'm curious to see what the hype is about. I was able to get a copy off of the "Too Hot to Hold" shelf at my library, so I'll need to start reading it stat to finish it before I have to return it in two weeks.

I've listened to her first book, The Night Circus, on audio and it felt a little dry to me. I'm interested to see if my opinion is based on her writing or the fantasy of her writing because the hype on this book is REAL.


message 6: by Eleni (last edited Feb 05, 2020 07:40AM) (new)

Eleni Philippopoulos | 9 comments You guys, I'm sorry, but I can't! I feel like a failure! I got about 6 chapters in and felt like it was a complete waste of time. I've given up!

I've recently told myself that I would stop reading books I wasn't enjoying and that's what I have to do with this one. My co-host and friend Jeffrey wrote a really great article about abandoning books that aren't doing it for you and it's opened my eyes.

I'm really confused as to why I can't get into adult fantasy novels but have no problem devouring YA fantasy novels. What's happening to me?!

FYI - you can read Jeffrey's article here


message 7: by Caroline (last edited Feb 19, 2020 12:20PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Caroline (carolinerudolph) | 138 comments I have about 100 pages left of this book, and I agree that the beginning with the "Sweet Sorrows" introduction threw me off a bit. I'm the opposite where I'm more of a push-through-the-book-to-finish type of person, I consider this my book FOMO.

(I had just finished Serpent and Dove before reading this book and wanted so badly to throw it out, so the article above made me laugh, "Brenda lies!")

I'm seeing that a lot of people either hate or love her writing style, but I've enjoyed the detail. You can tell that she has a theatre background and how that's helped her writing, but I still have no idea what's going on and things are only beginning to tie-in. Anyone else? How many pages do you guys have left? Are you starting to connect the dots or is it somewhat nonsensical?


Elba (elbamaria) | 51 comments I was not a big fan of Night Circus as I do not like circuses or clowns or the cruel exploitation of animals and people. The Starless Sea is really intriguing and I loved the book theme fantasy. I mean a subterranean library is incredulous and very fascinating. The stories with in a story were a nice surprise once I got used to it. Elaborate adult fairy tales. I loved it. A fantastic escape with beautiful prose. I also could not resist and listened to it on audio with a full cast. Such beautiful voices. A book stay-cation.


message 9: by Caroline (last edited Mar 02, 2020 08:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Caroline (carolinerudolph) | 138 comments I finished last night, I'm interested to see what everyone thinks! I really think the last 50 pages were the tie-in that I needed.

I know that we're coming close to the end of the month, but in case anyone is still reading, I want to mark some things as spoilers being that this is our first reading together. Moving forward, I think the last 10 days of the month should be considered spoiler-ridden, enter at your own risk!

Although I still feel that I don't have a firm hold on the book's intention, I think that's the point. To me, the book is saying storytelling is simply telling a story, it doesn't matter if I "get it", stories are all tangled and intertwining and where they stop and start is all a matter of whose perspective or story you're in. I appreciated the Keeper/Mirabel as Time/Fate once the ending hit.

Here are some other points I'd like to hit, for anyone who has thoughts, please pick a few and share what you have an opinion on! If you do not have any particular ideas, that's ok too, tell us what you thought!


Did you enjoy Erin Morgenstern's writing style? Dependent on your answer, could you separate the technical ability of the book from its plot?

There are dice that you need to roll when you first enter the Harbor, and a drink of varying flavor appears which you are allowed to do with what you wish, what is your take on this?

Do you think your dice roll determines which Harbor you're entering?

Do you think all of the Harbors are connected and exist or are destroyed with whatever point of time you're partaking in?

Did Zachary's mom understand and see her son's fate through meeting Mirabel?

What do you think the pirate was a metaphor for?

Upon finishing the book, did you appreciate the Alice in Wonderland, nonsensical-like qualities?

To be able to appreciate this book, did you have to look beyond the technicalities in the world of the Starless Sea and go with the flow? Were you able to?

Were there real-world aspects of this book that you could relate to or did you interpret it as purely allegorical to storytelling?


Amanda (bookmarks_and_dogears) | 15 comments I just finished this today, and wow, there's a lot to unpack. First off, I absolutely loved it...but I'm having a difficult time articulating why. I loved the dreamy, poetic writing style, but I fully acknowledge that I didn't always understand what was going on and that the writing style is certainly not for everyone. I also listened to the audiobook, which was wonderful and perfect for this kind of writing because it gently nudges you along in the story. (Side note: I think the whole cast did a fantastic job, but I could not get over the narrator for the Sweet Sorrows sections! His voice was so soothing, I just loved listening to him. I've already looked at other audiobooks that he's narrated.)

I think that Zachary is the anchor of this book; he's the character voicing the readers' concerns when things get a little too metaphoric. There were so many times when some character said something ethereal and Zachary just said, "What??" There were other times, like after he first reads Sweet Sorrows and he thinks something along the lines of how it seemed like a collection of unconnected stories and he didn't know how they fit together and it exactly mirrored my confusion at that precise moment. There are a number of different instances like this, and I feel like this touches on the "real-life" aspects that Caroline mentioned.

Some of my other thoughts/questions:
- What is the symbolism of Mirabel's Max costume?
- The doors represent opportunities in our own lives that we choose to open or not
- Would you want to be an Acolyte, Keeper, or Guardian?
- Does the story really end? Is the next story really new, or the same one starting over? Is that kind of the point of the book, that all stories of all time are really intertwined?
- Is the Collector's Club a metaphor for us as readers trying to stop a story that we love from ending?

I'm definitely planning to buy a hard copy of this next!


Amanda (bookmarks_and_dogears) | 15 comments Here's a link to my review for The Starless Sea:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 12: by Caroline (last edited Mar 03, 2020 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Caroline (carolinerudolph) | 138 comments I love the analysis of the Collector's Club as a metaphor, clinging to something that is meant to end and the aspect of control and ownership that it entails. Thanks for linking your review!!


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