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.
okay, this is hard book to review, but let’s do this together!
First, when you pick up the book, you’ll read a chapter about a pirate and a girl. then you’ll read a chapter about an acolyte. then you’ll read a chapter about a fortune teller’s son. then about a guy named Zachary who’s a graduate student who finds a book in a library. The book doesn’t have an author, he starts reading the book only to realize that the third store (about the fortune teller’s son) is actually him. he’s the fortune teller’s son.
“Not all stories speak to all listeners, but all listeners can find a story that does, somewhere, sometime. In one form or another.”
I obviously loved the writing style, I can’t even deny that, I’d never deny that.
“We’re all stardust and stories. “
At the beginning I was confused as fuck but I was anticipating that having read the author’s The Night Circus. Don’t go into this expecting that you’ll understand the world, the characters, everything in the first 50 pages. I mean I didn’t, I just kept on reading even though I barely understood what was going on, obviously later on you’ll know everything so please, please don’t give up super soon because you might not get what’s going on, just keep on reading if you want to partake in a story of beautifulness.
“Everyone wants the stars. Everyone wishes to grasp that which exists out of reach. To hold the extraordinary in their hands and keep the remarkable in their pockets.”
I also loved that Zachary loves reading! Like, really, really loves reading, he’s kind of obsessed with it which is fine and cool. I always love it when a character loves reading, you’re able to find something that you like about them right off the bat which is important in order to get attached to a character and love the shit out of them. Which I did.
“A reading major, that’s what he wants. No response papers, no exams, no analysis, just the reading.”
I truly enjoyed the tiny stories that were among the chapters, they were written so freaking beautifully, i literally can’t even wrap my ugly head around the fact that someone is able to write like that! You can just see the writing style that this author has just by reading the quotes! How? Who taught you? Can you pass it on? Can you teach us, master? We’re (I am) truly in need of it! I had to go back and reread several stories because they were so beautifully written, using words that i’d never use. I can’t even. Sigh.
Plus they aren’t just random stories, they’re connected in the best way possible, so pay attention to them.
“It doesn’t look like anything special, like it contains an entire world, though the same could be said if any book.”
Overall it was a beautiful story, one that I won’t ever forget, it’s unique as hell, with characters that are well thought out, well crafted, I can’t even begin to talk about the world, it’s literally amazing, filled with books, stories. and cats.
Please just read this if you think it’s something you might enjoy, because you literally won’t be able to forget it. It’s a story that I’d like to reread immediately after finished especially because I finished it literally in two days. omg, I’m in love.