The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
*I checked this out from the library a couple months ago (remember libraries? 😫) and if you still read actual books from actual libraries, then you know the singular delight of stumbling upon some previous reader’s notation. In these pages, nothing… EXCEPT that whoever read the book before me could not get past the idea of “warm” tea. Lol.*⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The Starless Sea is in that subgenre of fantasy written by authors who grew up obsessed with The Chronicles of Narnia / A Wrinkle in Time. And whatever that subgenre is called, I’m here for it.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There’s an underground honeycomb world built from stories; its purpose is to celebrate & protect those stories. / all stories. There are secret doors & ornate keys. A mysterious library book in a forgotten corner of the university library. More than one masquerade ball. A shady secret society w/doorknobs dangling from silk ribbons. There are cats & bees and little mini-stories woven throughout (the most successful parts of the book btw). There are TONS of literary references & Easter eggs strewn about.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The first 2 reviews on Goodreads tell a pretty interesting story — one scathing (yet accurate) takedown, and one gushing, over-the-top love letter. Both are correct.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And listen — Morgenstern has some linguistic tics that her editor should have spotted. There’s SO MUCH deus ex machina going on, and the plot will not stand up to even the faintest scrutiny.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
However. I sort of *liked* the fact that it made no sense plot-wise. It was a refreshing change of pace from all the complicated, intense shit I normally consume. (Although, one could argue that a love letter to storytelling might have put more effort into its own story… just sayin.)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The settings are beautifully drawn — even the real world scenes are enchanting. I found the off-kilter personalities rather charming, and enjoyed being lulled into the bedtime-story / fairytale vibes.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Would definitely recommend this as an escapist quarantine read.
Samantha Pollack is a Copywriter & Creative Director who works with ethically minded, mission driven businesses who are actively trying to reshape our culture (and possibly tear down the patriarchy). She’s also the founder of The Highly Sensitive Business Owner, a 12-week online program that helps HSPs & neurodivergent business owners create healthier, more sustainable systems in their work.
Sam also writes about feminism, privilege, pop culture, entrepreneurship, the creative process, and whatever else is on her mind. She currently lives in Asheville, NC.
Emails for cult thought leaders.
Want to learn how to craft emails that inspire action and engagement WITHOUT the “tried and true” (cough: patriarchal) norms we’ve all been taught?
I’m doing it, and I can show you how to do it, too.
(But sometimes, I also like to write about the books I’m reading, or the creative process, or the entrepreneurial experience, or why I hate Steve Jobs, or how I met my BFF. I’ll send you emails like that, too.)
*Just kidding. It’s only an email list.
Books. Cats. Rants. Drawrings.
(and every couple months or so, an unexplained absence 🤷🏻)