Hello Dear Ones,

Shortest review: OMG, friends, this book is amazeballs. Go read it right now!!!

Short review: I normally give myself some time between reading a book and then writing about it. I also try to give myself a year or two before rereading, but in this case, I am breaking my own rules twice- not only by writing this review within a few hours of finishing the book, but also because I will be starting my reading adventure all over again a few hours from now. There is so much to sink one’s teeth into, and I am looking forward to savoring it a second time.

Longer review: I also bought a hard copy, and once it gets here, I will be marking it up, as there are so many lovely, quotable quotes and messages to live by. Very few books have the pleasure of getting reread, let alone marked up by me because, well, so many books, too little time and all. (No worries, book-loving friends, “marked up” doesn’t mean anything permanent for the item itself. No actual books are harmed in the writing of my reviews.)

Musical review: (Wait, what?! Yes, hear me out!) The Starless Sea, in some ways, reminds me of the Orpheus and Eurydice story as told in the original Broadway Cast Recording of Hadestown- modern life mixed with mythology, magic mixed with mystery, and even though you know the ending, it’s not really the ending because the story is still playing on repeat over and over until infinity, and you still feel all the feels each time like it’s the first time no matter how well you know the lyrics and storyline.

Formal review: The Starless Sea is, at its heart, a love story from the author, Erin Morgenstern, to people who love books. There are other loves lost and found within its pages, mystery and adventure, sword wielding tragic heroes, cats, owls, and bees, lots and lots of bees all wrapped up with the Moon, Time, Fate, and books. The overload of imagery and sensation in the words created some wonderful visuals in my brain, and the layers upon layers of stories woven into each other make everything so tactile, yet delicate. Truly, Ms. Morgenstern is an artist of words. I was on the edge of my seat, so to speak, more than once in a story, only to have the story… change, but I was so caught up in the story before that I was okay with the change, and went back to the edge of my seat. Repeat cycle until the end of the book, and into my pending reread. It is so, so, SO satisfying as a reader to get what you want from a story/author, but even sweeter when they make you work and wait for it.

An interesting thing to note about this book is that the author wrote it to be “unfilmable,” and as of April 2020, the movie rights have not been sold. This is surprising, coming from a theatre major in this day and age; because acting is life and whatnot, not to mention getting your book made into a movie is a nice financial boon to any lucky author. So, inasmuch as I’d love to see a version of this as a movie, I do applaud her decision and think it an admirable thing to stand by one’s art in its intended form. Seeing as how poorly most books translate into film, I know I would ultimately be disappointed in the end product because so much of the POV takes place in character’s and reader’s heads. (There are a few exceptions to the rule, where I find the movie to be better or as good as the book. Off the top of my head I am thinking of The Princess Bride, and Holes as two examples. How about you? Tell me in the comments below!) The amazing thing about reading a story is that it’s a different experience for each of us. If you’re one of those people, like me, who can “see the action” as you read along, well our action looks different from each other too. (The version in my head included lots of real candlelight; fantastic costuming; some parts in various styles of animation, including claymation; heavy use of a sepia filter; and 1000% requires someone with a very specific male sounding voice to whisper stories to me in the dark. Feel free to send me your audition clips, and remember, we’re going for warm, enchanting, and inviting; not creepy, haha.)

Parental Review: This is a book that would be safe for kids to read, as far as blood, sex and violence, etc. goes; but I would recommend it for more adult audiences, maybe well read older teens. The way metaphor and symbolism are used, as well as the way the story is laid out would probably go right over younger readers heads, causing confusion or boredom. Heck, it seems to go over some older readers heads as well, many of the review titles I browsed when looking for information to write this seem to suggest that they didn’t understand the book, or that the metaphor/symbology was overdone. But that is them, and their reviews, this is mine, and I thought it worked well, especially if you are a person who knows myths, legends, and classical literature. Plus, the beauty of reading something you don’t understand can help grow and change your mind, if you desire it to do so and put some effort into understanding.

TL;DR review: I really liked it. I’m 65 books into my year, and this is my favorite so far. Go read, enjoy and repeat.

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Adina al'Mari ()

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