Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.
A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.
This is my first full month blogging and I’m really happy with the way things are going so far! This month I also began reading two books at a time rather than my usual one book at a time, which has been working out much better than I thought it would.
In August I launched two different types of monthly content of my Top Five Friday and Thoughtful Thursday. If you have any suggestions on topics you’d like to see me cover in these posts, please let me know. In addition to that, I also became a Blackwell’s affiliate! This means that any Blackwell’s link you see on my blog (including the banners) is my affiliate link, at no extra cost to you I will earn a small commission on any order placed using my affiliate link. I would really appreciate it if you check it out for your next book buying spree!
Books read this month
This month I read a total of 16 books (9 physical books and 7 ebooks)
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker As you can tell I’ve still been on a Greek myth retelling kick with this entry! I loved hearing a story from the Trojan war that I have never considered before, from both slave and warrior. The characters are wonderfully conflicted and developed which made it difficult not to fall for them. This novel captures everything that is great about Greek mythology and isn’t afraid to get violent.
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami As I’ve mentioned before, Murakami is one of my favourite authors, so it’s not really a shock to see his novel on my favourites for this month! If you have never read a Murakami novel before this is a great one to start with to understand the brilliance of magic realism, whilst also uncovering a family mystery.
The Hungry Ghost by H.S. Norup This novel was such a refreshing read with unique characters and a fascinating tale steeped in Malay culture and superstition. What stood out the most for me about this novel were the characters, especially Freja the protagonist. Norup excellently captured the voice of her child characters and developed them beautifully. This novel is released on the 24 September 2020.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern This novel was such a magical experience for me, not only is this novel a favourite for this month but it is one of my favourites in general. I don’t think any review I can write on this book (although one is coming) would do it justice. Morgenstern masterfully weaves together several different narratives and narrative styles which was delightful.
So, this month I have got quite an eclectic mix of books! Due to the heatwave, I’ve not got through as many books on my TBR as usual, however that wasn’t going to stop me from ordering more! Especially as I filled up my Waterstones loyalty card stamps and had a £10 voucher to spend! Check out the GoodReads descriptions for the books below.
Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.
In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman.” After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.
This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them…
In the middle of the night, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and the Greeks are victorious. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash…
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.
Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed. The once-happy, loving family returns to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.
With her daughter increasingly becoming a stranger, Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days. But will Lana ever reveal what happened?
When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a strange book hidden in his university library it leads him on a quest unlike any other. Its pages entrance him with their tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities and nameless acolytes, but they also contain something impossible: a recollection from his own childhood.
A boy awakens in the Afterlife, with a pocketful of vague memories, a key, a raven, and a mysterious Atlas to guide him as he sets out to piece together the mystery of his final moments…
Back on Earth, Twiggy is a street kid with a missing dad. But when he meets Flea, a cheerful pickpocket, the pair become fast friends, better even than blood family itself. Together, Twig and Flea raise themselves on the crime-ridden streets, taking what they need and giving the rest to the even-poorer. Life is good, as long as they have each other. But the all-powerful Boss who rules the streets has other plans.
Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.
Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil.
Have you read any of the books I got this month? Are any on your wish list? Let me know!