Review of Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Review of Eyes Like Stars by Lisa MantchevEyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Series: Théâtre Illuminata #1
Published by Macmillan on 2009-07-07
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Performing Arts, Theater, Young Adult
Pages: 356
Format: ARC
Source: Trade
Buy on Amazon

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.

Other Reviews of Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev:
Bookworming In the 21 Century
Booking Through 365
Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I'm reading this now and enjoying. I like Nate, sad to see he disappears. ♥ Parajunkee

  2. Woa!!! Nice review….
    I love the looks like a fairy tail..haha!! btw….i' haven't come across any book like this one. Maybe, i'll try this kind of book someday… thanks for the review…

  3. My book club is reading this in a couple of months (I am excited, though they are having to hold me back from reading it now). It sounds more complex than I thought it was going to be, which I actually think I'm going to like. I'm not in the mood for froth right now.
    Great review.

  4. I read this back when it first came out and while I liked it, I felt really disconnected from the characters and the story.

    Thanks for stopping by! And you should definitely read Twain! He's awesome!

  5. ~The Book Pixie says

    Ok you're going to think I'm a nut but I actually like it when raved about books get not so rave reviews. It gives me something to compare the great reviews of the book with. That and I just find it amusing. Hypocritically enough though, this is not true of books I read and love. lol. 😛

    Though this has been a book I've wanted to read forever now, I never was quite as excited about it as everyone else seemed to be. Not sure why, but hey. I'll still definitely read this book eventually but I do appreciate your honest review. 😀 Thanks for posting.


  6. I loved Eyes Like Stars.

    I thought Bertie's attitude towards Ariel came from everyone telling her, Ariel was dangerous and should be avoided.

    I am with The Book Pixie. It's nice to see a different take on a book, many are raving about.

  7. Awww! I'm sorry you weren't that into it. I, personally, *adored* it! I don't know its just something about the craziness and enchantment of it translates really well to the real craziness of the theatre (that I've experienced.)

  8. Sorry to hear this didn't quite live up to your expectations! The premise does sound very unique.

  9. Keep posting these honest reviews! I still haven't gotten around to this book, but actually your review makes me want to read it more. I'm almost scared to read a book that everyone loves because I might not love it.


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