Saturday, June 26, 2010

Review: EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev


From the back of the book:

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.

This was a great book and not just for the kiddies (it is labeled a Young Adult book). It was humorous, adventurous, and kept me reading it until I was done. Mantchev is exceptionally creative, using her theater background and experience to add rich details to the plot. The characters each had their roles to play and they were well cast.

I loved Ophelia, who was drawn to water (no matter what play) and kept drowning herself in it. The fairies were fabulous--food-obsessed, potty mouths who were Bertie's best friends in the theater.

When Ariel first came on the scene, I couldn't get the Little Mermaid out of my head and had to look at the cast of characters to find out who he was. Then I really couldn't figure him out at all. Was he the bad guy? Is that why the Wardrobe Mistress had warned Bertie away from him? Was he a good guy? After all, the butterflies seemed to like him. I liked not knowing what he was going to do or who he really was.

The only character I really didn't like so much was Nate, Bertie's crush. He seemed a little flat, despite being a pirate, and a little too nice. Maybe that will change in the next book.

The end only began the characters' journey (though there were enough loose ends tied up that I wasn't yelling at the book to tell me what happened--I've done that before. And thrown said book across the room.) and I'm looking forward to the next Theatre Illuminata story.

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