The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern - review by Paloma van Tol

Paloma van Tol

Notes from Underground

The Starless Sea


Harvill Secker 512pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The Starless Sea is a high-stakes fantasy, a charming tribute to the art of storytelling and a loose collection of the average millennial’s angsty thoughts. Prompted by finding his own life story in the contents of a book, PhD student Zachary Ezra Rawlins delves into the secrets of a subterranean society of bibliophiles and experiences the revelations and misgivings of self-discovery.

The Harbor on the Starless Sea, as the underground world is known, used to be a thriving place for a select few to devote their lives to collecting, storing and safeguarding all the stories ever told and still to be told. Now its very existence is threatened by an ominous association called the Collector’s Club, led by the one-eyed Allegra. A fight for survival begins – though all is never as it seems.

A book to get lost in (in every sense of the word), Morgenstern’s second novel boasts winding tunnels lined with packed bookshelves and cosy alcoves containing just enough light to read by. Much like her highly successful debut, The Night Circus, the book proceeds nonlinearly and is pieced

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