It’s rather daunting to approach a review of The Starless Sea. It’s a winding story that weaves inside and out, and I’ve heard (and personally believe) that it benefits from multiple reads. Alas, I am approaching this review having only read the book once. Still, I shall try my best.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins once discovered a door painted on the side of a building. He did not go through the door that day, but he remembered it. When he finds a mysterious book in his university’s library, called Sweet Sorrows with no author and donated by a particular person, he is surprised to find that he is featured in the story. There are also tales of acolytes and guardians and keepers, bees and keys and swords.
He is lead to a party in New York where he meets an intriguing man who calls himself Dorian, a man who tells him stories and talks him into helping steal back another book. He also meets a pink-haired woman called Mirabel, though Zachary calls her Max. Max rescues Zachary when their heist goes bad and takes him to the Harbor, an underground series of rooms full of books and cats. The Harbor (And Max) is responsible for the doors, for leading people to the Starless Sea. There are also people, led by a woman named Allegra, who paint over the doors to keep people out. Thus, the central conflict.
Anyways, it’s all very complicated. There is the main story, and every other chapter are different stories from Sweet Sorrows and Fortunes and Fables, stories that have nothing to do with the main storyline until they do. Yeah, it’s one of those books. I loved The Night Circus, so I was extremely excited to finally get a new book from Ms. Morgenstren. Despite the complicated nature of the story, I enjoyed The Starless Sea, and I look forward to understanding it even better when I finally get around to reading it a second time.