Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless SeaPublisher: Doubleday Books
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Released: November 5th, 2019
Received: Own
Rating: Kitty Rating

The Starless Sea is Erin Morgenstern’s highly anticipated latest novel, and it is one that is going to blow you away. Fans of The Night Circus are not going to want to miss out on this one, as Morgenstern has proved that her latest novel was well worth the long wait.

The Night Circus is a complex, deeply moving, and beautiful novel. It shows how far an intricate series of plots can go, and how far Morgenstern has come as a writer.

A tale within a tale, with other tales revolving around them. That is what The Starless Sea felt like. It’s a series of stories, but they’re all related to one another – though this might not always be clear at first sight.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is the son of a fortune-teller. He didn’t open his door when he first had the opportunity, but you better believe he isn’t going to miss out the second time around. He’s a game design major, but one who is exceptionally fond of books.

And it’s a book that brought him the biggest mystery of all. Or perhaps we should say, it brought him his biggest obsession. For how can one ever get over a book, when they find themselves tucked neatly within the pages?


“The boy is the son of the fortune-teller. He has reached an age that brings an uncertainty as to whether this is something to be proud of, or even a detail to be divulged, but it remains true.”

Spoiler Warning

The Starless Sea is a novel that completely and utterly blew me away. As a fan of The Night Circus, I had fairly high expectations for this novel. And apparently, I could have afforded to raise them even higher!

There was so much to love about this novel. Let’s start with the themes and symbols within. There was something about the imagery that Morgenstern ran with here that truly resonated with me. And I honestly believe that many other readers will find themselves feeling the same way. It was eerie and beautiful, yet sophisticated and enthralling.

Then there was the whole element surrounding the multiple layers of stories. What isn’t there to love about that? It’s been so long since I read something quite as complex as this. It was so satisfying to see something so deep and be able to dive right in. Morgenstern has truly outdone herself with this tale.

The writing for The Starless Sea was flawless and beautiful. In many ways it felt more like prose, it flowed that smoothly. A part of me wishes that it had never ended. But all things have to have an end, right?

On a slightly more personal note (read: crazy cat lady note), I adored that there were cats snuck into this novel. They may not have played a major role, but they felt important at times. And my heart just adored those moments. And cat lovers will be happy to hear that Morgenstern didn’t fail to remember them, towards the end.

I know that the wait for The Starless Sea was a bit longer than fans expected. But I’ve got to tell you, it was completely worth the wait. I can’t imagine that this piece would have ever come into being had it been rushed.

But that does mean that we’re in for another long wait because once again our expectations for Morgenstern’s works have been raised. And that means the wait will probably be similar for the next one – and I imagine it’ll be just as worth it.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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