The Starless Sea

By Erin Morgenstern

I loved Erin Morgenstern’s first book, The Night Circus. It’s one of the very few novels I have read twice, and is, in my opinion, a nearly flawless example of how a dripping-with-tension ooey gooey romance can exist in a nuanced and delightful world AND an actually worth reading plot. So, I came to The Starless Sea with high hopes. All of them were dashed.

The world of the starless sea reads like a sort of cheap Gaiman rip off, jam packed with mythology and lore and symbols, except here it’s all two dimensional and largely aesthetic. EVERYTHING is honey and wine and old wood and candles and it’s all so deeply single-note that it becomes impossible to care after the first detailed description. Our main character is a dreamy grad student special-boy who finally got his letter to Hogwarts after almost giving up believing in magic, and his romanace with his equally dashingly handsome counterpart is facially ridiculous because neither of them have any personality to speak of that could possibly be used to generate a relationship. The plot wants to be about the power of narratives, but it just reads like a fantasy world that one returns to each night while lying in bed, each super short chapter providing the reader with another installment of what feels like high school self-insert fan fic.

0/10, no one even has sex.