The Starless Sea is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Eight years after Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, The Night Circus—which also took the world by storm—and I would have happily waited over a decade for this masterpiece. If readers must wait year in and year out for works of this caliber, then readers shall rejoice in every single page that gets released.
The Starless Sea is a complex masterpiece. A delicate overlapping of characters and stories forming one advanced story on the idea of stories. A story focused on the abstracts of stories through multiple stories: fairytales, narratives, legends, and folklores. It is an absolute page-turner, especially for writers and avid readers to take in. It’s a lot to consider, on what we believe or what we are willing to accept, whether it’s in our lives, pens, or the books we’re sticking our noses in. Not willing to give too much away for those of you that will happily pick-up this fantastical book, that is about all of the details I am willing to reveal.
Other than my support of two of the main characters being gay. It is not just that they are gay, which I support for the growing diversity and representation in popular literature, but that the writing around them is also social brilliance. There is nothing special or explanatory written around the characters. They are treated as any other relationship in any other form of literature is written, with an expectation from the readers to understand and romanticize. Normalization will always be the strongest method to change society. Over-explanation and specialization exaggerates our differences rather than persuades.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins and Dorian are everyday characters, and that it is. There is no line of separation between them and readers. It opens the field of potential audiences to have some sort of relationship with gay characters. Perhaps their first experience with such or perhaps their first representative experience or perhaps persuading someone who perviously didn’t understand the parameters of non-traditional or non-traditionally portrayed relationships. There is so much potential with these characters in this work for so many people, there stories can overlap into the real world, influencing readers’ own stories. Once again capturing the brilliance of this book, a story that can never end for its influence on others.