The Starless Sea

By Erin Morgenstern

The Short Take:

This mesmerizing tale skillfully weaves various plot lines in a fairy tale of a novel rich in evocative imagery. Morgenstern proved her mastery of imaginative description in The Night Circus. In this outing the complexity of the plot also shines.

Why?

Fair warning: I’m a sucker for books with secret/magical libraries and this one offered up a lulu. It also had a more consistently cohesive plot than her first novel, which went a bit wonky in the final third.

Part mystery story, part love story, part hero’s quest–there’s a lot going on in this book. And its many threads tangle in surprising ways.

Morgenstern also includes interesting musings on the nature of story telling, video games, books, and how they could be enhanced (the protagonist is an avid reader getting his masters in gaming). I found these discussions and insights exciting in their possibilities.

But ultimately, it is the visions Morgenstern crafts, both enchanting and frightening, that give this book its incredible appeal. And the magical library, of course.

A Little Plot:

As a child Zachary Ezra Rawlins comes across an intriguing door that wasn’t there the day before but he does not enter. When he finds a book that exactly describes this experience he begins searching for clues. This mysterious book also includes other tales which–like his experience–need to continue. Adventures ensue that encompass everything.

For more about Erin Morgenstern and her work click here. I was particularly interested in her list of favorite books. We hold a lot in common.

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