The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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I loved this book; it was a magical. My favorite books are the ones that introduce a new world, or a new idea that surprises you with its creativity and imagination. The best part of this book is that it was written for book lovers. It brings every book lovers dream to life, a place away from the world, where you can go and spend eternity reading and discovering new stories.

The Starless Sea was written by Erin Morgenstern, the author of The Night Circus. Do you remember when that book came out eight years ago? There was a lot of talk about it. She wrote in during a NaNoWri, and some people loved it while others criticized it’s grammar and style. I read it then, and enjoyed the imaginative story she wrote.

A Story about Stories

This is a story about stories. It starts when Zachary, a college student finds a book in the library. When he gets it back in his room and reads it, he discovers that the book has a chapter about him. It tells the story of when he was a child and found a painted door in the alley. From there the book becomes a journey, as Zachary discovers a hidden world full of adventure danger and friendship.

The Starless Sea is not just the story of Zachary, throughout the book are chapters that tell fairy tales, stories from books, and dreams found on scattered pieces of paper. Some of these are related to Zachary and his new friends, some are supposedly random and have no impact on the story line, and others may be alluding to characters in the book. The purpose of these extra tales is up to the interpretation of the reader. Some people might find these extra chapters unnecessary, they create more questions then they answer, and can lead nowhere. I didn’t mind the side stories even if they didn’t always have a purpose. They created a larger world, they let the reader know that there were other stories beyond the one they were reading just outside of their reach.

We had a cool conversation about overlapping narratives too, and how no single story is never the whole story

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Protecting the Valuable

The Underground Library is accessed by hidden doors around the world

The Starless made me think about how we protect valuable objects. Early museums were only for the wealthy to showcase their rare collections. Then universities began to store valuable objects so they could be studied and learned from. Now, the purpose of a modern museum is to persevere artifacts for future generations, and to educate the public.

In the Starless Sea, some believed that to persevere and protect means to hide it away. Keeping something hidden may protect it from damage, but does an object loose its value when its existence is unknown? If there is no one to admire it, to long for it, to study it, what is its purpose? It mind as well not exist, if it cant educate, and inspire others.

You are here because you wish to sail the starless sea and breathe the haunted air.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Fantasy, Reality and Imagination

Sometimes fantasy books can be believable. They are written so that the fantasy is so interwoven into the real world that we know, that it is easy to imagine the events being true. Think Outlander, a women touches a stone circle and is sent back in time. That sounds impossible, but when you are immersed in the story you don’t question what just happened, it is completely understandable, and unquestionable. The book doesn’t feel like a fantasy, it feels like something unexpected happened in an otherwise historical fiction. But then there are other books, like Alice in Wonderland, where the events are so outlandish and ridiculous that their credibility is immediately questioned. Is she dreaming or insane? You are not able to put yourself in her shoes, and believe the events are actually happening to the character.

The Starless Sea falls somewhere in between. It started off as a journey I could picture myself in. I could relate to the character, and easily pretend for a moment that it could be true. But as the story progressed it became harder to hold on to the illusion that it could be real. There were a few moments where I questioned Zachary’s sanity, or wondered if it was all some elaborate game or dream. It took a real shift somewhere in the middle. It started in a journey of discovery, and lost opportunities, then he went deeper down the rabbit hole, and the mythical and fantastical started to unfold. I felt as lost as Zachary, I didn’t know what was happening, or where he was going, just like him sometimes it felt like the book had no plan. It was like being in a maze, and you keep hitting dead ends and have to circle back and try again. The Starless Sea did eventually come to a end, and I found it a satisfying conclusion to the whole adventure. The journey was worth it, and I don’t regretting reading the book at all.

You want a place to be like it was in the book, but it’s not a place in a book its just words. The place in your imagination is where you want to go and that place is imaginary.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


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