If you’re a fan of the fantasy genre, or grew up in the times after Harry Potter swept through the imagination of a generation, you’ve likely heard of Erin Morgenstern’s first book, the indisputably wonderful, ‘The Night Circus’.
While The Starless Sea isn’t quite as good as that (a book that I would certainly recommend to everyone) it’s a fun little read, and worthy of a small salute in itself.
Erin Morgenstern is a name I always check for when I’m randomly browsing in bookshops (something I’ve sourly missed during the varying levels of COVID lockdown we’ve had here in Dublin, Ireland), so I was pleasantly surprised to come across The Starless Sea a couple of weekends back. As a follow-up book, it felt long overdue, and I was thrilled to find it (so much so, that I bumped it up the queue of my to-read pile – and with no regrets).
Its standout quality is the visuals, some of which are genuinely haunting. They leave the page with you and follow you around the room for good measure. The texture of the characters is pretty good too, which helps to hold the plot together, as it’s driven forward by a series of love affairs, experienced from the differing perspective of time.
I suppose, as I’m trying to write a review, I’d have to highlight a possible weakness in the book, and being picky I would say it’s on the short side, or perhaps that it doesn’t use it’s word count as effectively as possible.
A lot goes on for a book of its length (the copy I have is 500 pages), maybe even too much, and I found that some areas of the plot were a little underdone, with a bit to much left to the imagination. Don’t get me wrong, some books/writer’s absolutely thrive on pitching to that dark space between words, but The Starless Sea isn’t that sort of writing.
It’s still an excellent read, and I’m just being hypercritical. There’s a lot more to like than not, and I’m going to recommend it to any fantasy readers out there looking for a good book to get their nose into.
Personally, I just hope I don’t have to wait another 8/9 years to come across another Erin Morgenstern novel, because I need more of her writing in my memory and on my bookshelves.