Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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Rating: ★★★★★
RRP: $32.99 AUD

A huge thank you to Penguin Publishing Australia for gifting me a copy of this incredible book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life. 

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“Are you lost or are you exploring?”

I have no words.

This was beautiful.

It was poetic and magical.

It was everything I could ever want in a book.

And it’s easily my favourite book of the year!

The Starless Sea takes you on an incredible, vivid adventure. Like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, this book thoroughly immerses you in magic and wonder. I have already set a goal to read it again before the year is out so I can further understand all the small intricacies!

After Zachary Ezra Rawlins stumbles across a mysterious book in his university library, he is whisked off on an adventure that leads him through a magical painted door to a mysterious underground labyrinth filled with stories.

This book was gorgeous! It made me remember why I loved The Night Circus so much. Erin Morgenstern has a way with words. She is a poet. Honestly, my heart is so incredibly full after reading this book. The characters were beautifully written and complex, we got a perfect slow burn (and wonderfully queer) romance and the plot was layer upon layer of intricate detail that came together so beautifully in the end. It’s the kind of book that has you intrigued the whole way through and as you read the last page it’s as if all these pieces fall into place and you look up from your book and just stare in utter reverence at how incredible some story tellers are.

Now I understand that this book may not be for everyone. It can be a little “heavy”and as I’ve stated, there is a lot of intricate detail that some people may find a bit much. But for me, it was absolute wonder. This is a world I would very much like to be a part of!

Over all, I cannot fault this glorious book. It has everything I love in a story and I will read it over and over and over for the rest of my days. Go ahead, leap down the rabbit hole, step through the back of your cupboard, walk through that painted door. You won’t regret it. All the stars in the night sky for this one. Utter perfection.

 

Book Review: The Order Of The Rose By Alysha King

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Rating: ★★★.5
Find it on Book Depository

Goodreads Synopsis:

“You possess a power as great as that of the false Empress. You do not understand it yet but you will come to learn its true nature. It is the only match to true evil. You doubt it, but you must embrace it or you will fail.”

When Carey Lee discovers that not only is she a witch but also part of a rebel order, she figures it can’t be any worse than the life from which she just escaped. Little is she prepared though for what lies ahead – an all-powerful empire and a murderous Empress, a seemingly impossible quest to rescue her family, and a power so dark that Carey begins to doubt her very existence.

The Order of the Rose is the first in a series of three novels to be known as the Rose Chronicles. 

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This was an interesting read for me. I am definitely no longer the intended audience, and being a fairly well read adult woman, at times it felt a little too young for my tastes. However, I think younger readers would find this action packed adventure/fantasy rather enjoyable.

The Order Of The Rose tells the story of Carey. A young teenage girl suffering from amnesia after a traumatic childhood event. Who, upon escaping from a horrible orphanage, joins forces with Ji and Kat, two of her oldest friends (she just doesn’t remember them!) Together they are the last remaining members of the magical rebel Order Carey’s grandmother founded to fight the evil, Empress Malevolence.

I found this a little hard to get into to begin with, but again, I believe this is because it is intended for younger readers. The pacing felt a bit rushed and was driven mainly by the three protagonists having seemingly random encounters with evil. This was frustrating as it felt like there was constant action and very little quiet moments in between for us to really get to know the characters. Having said that, this was justified further into the novel once more of the plot was divulged, but it meant that the first half of the book felt slow and wasn’t as enjoyable for me.

The second half of this book however, was where it started to really shine. Carey had some really nice character growth and became a far stronger, more likeable character and the action seemed to become more intentional when it came to driving the plot forward. I really enjoyed learning about the world and setting, however it was a little confusing at first as I wasn’t sure where or when the story was set until about half way into the book.

The characters all had some great growth! I adored Kat! She was extremely fierce, capable and just an all round badass. Carey could be a little unsure and frustrating at times, but I think this was justified considering she was thrown into the middle of an epic battle between good and evil, having absolutely no idea what she was or who she was up against. The trio’s dynamic was also really fun and not unlike the Harry Potter series in some ways, which I really enjoyed.

Overall I liked this book! I think I would have liked it more if I had read it when I was younger. I may even go as far as to say it could be classed as more of a Middle Grade read. But taking that into account, it was enjoyable and was a fantastic starting off point for the rest of the series.