Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eyes Like Stars

  EYES LIKE STARS, BY LISA MANTCHEV published July 2009 by Feiwel & Friends

           OVERALL RATING: 4/5

Eyes Like Stars (Théâtre Illuminata, #1)Synopsis (from All her world's a stage.
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She is not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but has no lines of her own.
Until now.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters 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.

Eyes Like Stars is one of the those books whose premis is somewhat difficult to explain (the offical synopsis is very vague).  Basically the novel stars Bertie, a wild and blue-haired girl who lives in a magical theater along with thousands of characters from Shakespearean and otherwise plays. (But mostly just Shakespeare.)  Bertie's best friends are the fun-loving (and argumentative) faeries from A Midsummer Night's Dream, her bedroom is located on a trapdoor over the stage of the Theatre where pirate ships frequently dock and plays are performed nightly, and the Theatre bathrooms are more often than not occupied by Ophelia trying to drown herself.  If all of that didn't make for a pretty hectic lifestyle, Bertie is also constantly at war over props and wall colors with the Stage Manager-- one of the few non-Player characters in the book. 
Bertie has two love interests, in the grand tradition of YA love triangles: Nate-- a swashbuckling and yet surprisingly pure-hearted young pirate who has captured Bertie's heart; and Ariel-- a seductive, brooding, and decidedly untrustworthy air spirit who hails from The Tempest.  It is Ariel who is determined to steal the Book which contains all the plays ever written and binds the players to the Theatre, therefore releasing them onto the real world.  
The writing of Eyes like Stars is occasionally a little difficult to follow-- I had to reread paragraphs a few times.  But the characters themselves are what makes the story, just like they make a great play.  Bertie is a headstrong and wacky kind of heroine and the dialogue is pretty funny, especially wherever the faeries are involved.  After finishing the book, I am definitely Team Ariel... 

...And I see that he and (a brunette??) Bertie are on the front cover of Lisa Mantchev's newest book Perchance to Dream, the sequel to Eyes like Stars!  (Which is even now moving up to the top of my to-read list.)  The third and last book in the trilogy-- So Silver Bright-- is set to release sometime in 2011.   

Eyes Like Stars is an unusual and witty fantasy populated by unique and lovable characters.  And it's absolutely a must-read for Shakespeare and theatre fans. 



Alyssa@Teens Read and Write said...

This one can be confusing but lots of fun!

Teens Read and Write

Kat said...

Agreed! :)

Ottilie Weber said...

This is on my to read list, but it souns like I'll make sure to finish my complete works of Shakespeare before reading this

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