Dear The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern,
As someone who adored The Night Circus, I’ve been eagerly anticipating reading you ever since I first learned that you were being release. What I hadn’t anticipated was developing such a personal connection to you.
I started reading you a few days before a break-up and finished reading you the day after. Naturally, this timing impacted how I read you. Usually after a break-up it takes me a little while to get back into reading fiction, especially if it involves any sort of romance at all (I write more about this experience here). But I was surprised by how cathartic reading you was.
First, you were absolutely enthralling. I was captivated by your mesmerizing atmosphere, soaked in golden honey and overflowing bookshelves and symbols of bees, keys, and stars. Similar to The Night Circus, your atmosphere was just so all-encompassing that I couldn’t help but keep reading. I could picture everything so vividly in my mind, from winding passages and mysterious rooms to paintings, books, characters, and ships sailing on the Starless Sea. Erin Morgenstern has shown once again that she is a masterful writer of some of the best descriptive scenes I’ve ever read.
And then there was your intriguing, complex structure–fragments of stories woven between chapters of the primary plot, building and expanding on each other as the novel progressed. At first I was a bit confused by all the different stories, but I became more and more invested in them as they gradually intertwined. By the end I was so impressed by how Morgenstern managed to tie all of the loose ends together. I loved reading as one by one each little piece of the puzzle fell into place–it was so satisfying.
Most importantly, though, I loved the themes and messages that you contain. The significance of story-telling and the immense value of preserving stories for future generations. The idea that life is simultaneously cyclical and wildly unpredictable. An emphasis on embracing differences and finding what you’re passionate about in a place where you feel like you belong. You remind readers that the world is at once enormous and tiny, magical and mundane.
I never expected you to be exactly what I needed to read right after a break-up, but there you were. You distracted me, made me think, and gave me that wonderful feeling that all bookworms seek: of being lost in a book, turning page after page because you can’t get enough of the story. I’ve been waiting for another Erin Morgenstern novel for years, and yet when I heard about you I feared you wouldn’t live up to The Night Circus. Of course, I should never have worried–you exceeded all of my expectations.
Thank you for captivating me when I most needed to be distracted, The Starless Sea. Until next time.