Title: The Starless Sea 
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Adult
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Publication date: 5 November 2019
Hardcover: 512 pages


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.

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.

Rating: ★★★.5
The Starless Sea is the first book I've read by author Erin Morgenstern and unfortunately, this was a miss for me. The plot seemed original enough to capture my attention but the abundance of descriptions of rooms, libraries, objects, and places made it difficult to concentrate on the story.

There are layers upon layers of stories that somehow are intertwined. The prose is almost lyrical, and the imagery created transports the reader into a magical world full of wonders. But for the majority of the book, I felt even more lost then Alice in Wonderland. I couldn't quite understand what was happening because each chapter had a different thread and it became hard to see the whole picture.

Zachary's story sparked my curiosity but the lack of character development made it hard to feel a connection towards him. I needed to see a personal growth of his character but his evolution was just a straight line which made him a dull protagonist. As for the rest of the characters they had a lot of potential to be remarkable, but all of it got lost amongst the cacophony of metaphors.

This book may not have been my cup of tea, but I'm glad I've stuck with it till the end. It was an interesting experience. Maybe I'll understand it better if I ever decide to reread it.