Series: Théâtre Illuminata #1
Published by Macmillan on 2009-07-07
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Performing Arts, Theater, Young Adult
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All her world’s a stage. Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.That is, until now. Enter Stage Right NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie. COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks. ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom. BERTIE. Our heroine. Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known. Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic, and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience. Open Curtain
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev features Bertie Shakespeare Smith, a teen girl with blue hair in a staring role. The story takes place in the Theater Illuminata, a magical place where every single character from every play ever written is bound to live. Bertie is not a character in the play and must earn her place at the Theater Illuminata.
Mmm k, so first off, one special delight of Eyes Like Stars was the character of Ophelia – from Hamlet. She was so sweet and earnest. I found her to be lovely and helpful, especially when she wasn’t being spacey. Aside from Ophelia, the most complex character of Eyes Like Stars is Ariel from A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Ariel has some intriguing realistic motivations, he doesn’t want to be bound to the theater. I think we got a pretty decent sense of Ariel as a character, why he did the things he did. Personally, I found myself rooting for him and enjoying his scenes more than I enjoyed the scenes with Bertie.
Honestly though, as much as I wanted to love Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev, it fell short for me. I couldn’t connect with Bertie emotionally. Her attitude towards Ariel really frustrated me. She was so mean to him, so hateful, yet it wasn’t satisfactorily explained why for me. I felt like her emotions towards him were bizarre. One minute she’s into him, the next she wants to slit his throat. That’s not healthy. Then, there’s another love interest, Nate who is there for 120ish pages, then disappears. I guess there were so many characters and so much going on that I couldn’t keep it all straight. I felt my attention waver throughout much of Eyes Like Stars.
However, Lisa Mantchev’s writing is very unique. There’s stage directions, and parts which read like a play. The concept is not something I’ve come across before, so this novel has kudos for being original. It’s rather neat that characters from plays are taking on a life of their own, outside of their original lines. I know many other bloggers have raved about Eyes Like Stars, so I will point you their way, so you have another viewpoint of Eyes Like Stars.