Starless Sea is the most whimsical, magical, and the weirdest book I’ve ever read. It’s like Alice in Wonderland, Neverwhere, Caraval and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender all rolled into one with its own strange plot.
She found she no longer minded that the stories would linger. That some enjoyed them and others did not but that is the nature of a story. Not all stories speak to all listeners, but all listeners can find a story that does, somewhere, sometime. In one form or another.
The Starless Sea is the best execution of a book within a book that I have ever read. It’s not only a book within a book but stories within stories. I spent the first 40% reading this book torn between confusion, annoyance, and enjoyment. This book wrung the above emotions from me. Lots of stories were going on at the same time. The only constant was that of Zachery Ezra Rawlins, who is the protagonist. So even though I did not understand the other stories, I knew exactly what was happening to him.
This book features lots of themes, but the major one is belief- to believe in the impossible. The friendship here is also admirable. However, the romance in this book is too insta love for me. There was no build-up whatsoever. It just crept up on me; one moment, they met the next thing I knew, they were in love.
My second favourite theme in this book is love for books and stories. I love books, so I could totally relate.
“Be brave,” she says. “Be bold. Be loud. Never change for anyone but yourself. Any soul worth their star-stuff will take the whole package as is and however it grows. Don’t waste your time on anyone who doesn’t believe you when you tell them how you feel.”
I like the writing style. Most of the book was written from Zachery’s point of view, but an unseen narrator narrated the book within the book. Though it was easy to understand, it was a bit confusing because there was no relationship with the main plot at first, but that changed when the main plot started showing connections to the story within the story. I love how the author connected it all.
Sadly this book is open-ended (my worst kind of ending). I love when authors let the readers decide their own endings, but this is too much.
The characters in this book are numerous, and it’s no surprise that my favorite character is Zachery Ezra Rawlins. He is a weird and queer guy, and I really enjoyed reading about his character development. Dorian, Mirabel, and Kat were also good characters.
The plot is similar to that of the books I mentioned in my opening paragraph, but unlike those ones, this is unique because of its prose.
The Starless Sea is a magical underground library where the doors to the place are in the most inconspicuous of places. You need to believe there is something more to it before the door will open for you and lead you to the Starless Sea. Zachery first discovered it as a child but didn’t believe enough to try and open the door. Now, as an adult, he has a second chance, but there is an organization that aims to destroy all the doors that leads to the Starless Sea.