• Noha Badawi

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

"I'm getting this book tattooed all over my body, mind and soul."

Those were my exact thoughts upon finishing this magical read by #ErinMorgenstern.

#TheStarlessSea takes you upon a dreaming journey, down the rabbit hole - it give off a lot of #AliceInWonderland vibes - and into a place where shelves cover all the walls, stories are spoken within the waves of air, words are magic and storytellers are the heroes.

I wanted so, so bad to jump into the book ! It felt like an ache within me, to join our characters, to be part of the story, to go upon an adventure across the starless sea. But I guess as a read, I was - still am - part of the story.

“Not all stories speak to all listeners, but all listeners can find a story that does, somewhere, sometime. In one form or another.”

The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern, Doubleday Books, Penguin Random House International, November 5th 2011,  ISBN: 9780385541213, Hardcover, Rating: ★★★★★, 498 pages

How can I not fall madly in love with Morgenstern's words? It's completely impossible. Her words are like magic, taking you upon adventures you never even dreamed to be possible. We waited 8 years. Eight freaking long years and it was so worth it.

"A timeless love story set in a secret underground world--a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea."

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues--a bee, a key, and a sword--that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

“These doors will sing. Silent siren songs for those who seek what lies behind them. 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.”

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians--it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose--in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

The story begins with our main character Zachary stumbling upon a book without a title and no author name in the library and then it all starts. This book might not be for everyone, it's dense and slow - in a very dreamy and magical way - but if you love the evocative imagery, poetic and dreamy writing with the dash of magical narration, it's a definitely a book that you need to pick up. It takes you from one adventure to another, one bookcase to another, stories bursting from between the lines, books about fairytales that never existed and magic you thought not possible.

“A reading major, that's what he wants. No response papers, no exams, no analysis, just the reading.”

Our main character is an avid reader who'd do anything to spend the day folded between the arms of a good book and oh boy are you going to relate to him so much. His passion for stories, the devotion with which he holds a book between his arms and read it again, again and again. It's amazing! Romance definitely plays a role but it was very subtle in my opinion - I loved that! It gave so much more weight to the plot of the story itself and that's what makes it special.

“It is easier to be in love in a room with closed doors. To have the whole world in one room. One person. The universe condensed and intensified and burning, bright and alive and electric.”

Writing this, I find it truly difficult to explain my feelings towards this book. It's not something to talk about or explain, it's to be experienced ! It's an adventure unlike any other, a book and a story you never thought possible to exist, a unique complicated yet fantastically magical experience.

“ tastes older than stories. It tastes like myth.”

One that you mustn't miss out on!

“We are all stardust and stories.”

“It is a sanctuary for storytellers and storykeepers and storylovers. They eat and sleep and dream surrounded by chronicles and histories and myths.”



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