Review: Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

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.

Following the final straw- an incident that involves a canon, the Stage and Theatre Managers break the news to Bertie that she has to leave the theatre- her home- and find a new life. Somehow, along with all the other Players in the theatre, she convinces them to change their minds, and instead she has an ultimatum. Either find a way to be useful, or leave forever. But what will she do? Ever part is filled, and the theatre runs smoothly just the way it is. 

I was really looking forward to reading this book, it looked mysterious and different then anything else I've seen in a while. The fist 40 pages or so had me pretty confused, though. There was so many characters introduced that keeping them all straight was a brain workout. After that, I really enjoyed it. There were a few other scenes that required more focus to make sense on, but that was part of what added to the mystery and magic of the Théâtre Illuminata itself. The Théâtre has a magic that you weren't supposed to understand, it just was. The sets moved by themselves, and the Players are tied to the Théâtre in a way that wasn't completely explained. Everything was a mystery. I loved that about this book.

1. Which character could you relate to the most, and why could you relate to them?
That's one of the questions that Megan asked me, and I think the answer would be Peaseblossom. I don't think I can relate to any of the characters very well, because, well, they are all supposed to be from plays and are over-dramatic, or are much older and more serious. Or Bertie, but I am neither family-less or desperate to stay at home, so that changes things quite a lot. Peaseblossom, one of Bertie's sidekicks, is constantly exasperated with 'the boys', Bertie's other sidekicks. I felt more sympathetic towards her then anything.

Which leads me into another point: I loved the characters! All of Lisa Mantchev's characters were developed and unique, and I found there wasn't a single character that I wanted to push off the pages of the book. I especially loved Peaseblossom, Mustard Seed, Cobweb and Moth, Bertie's fairy sidekicks from the play A Midsummer's Night Dream. They were impulsive and food-driven, hyper and hilarious. Many times I literally laughed aloud, and that doesn't happen much to me. I think the last time that characters made me laugh so much, was Fred and George from Harry Potter.

2.  Was this book good enough to distract you from having a life? 
It was! I really liked reading this book and I pulled it out several times during class, I think, and often as soon as I got home after school I would read this.

3. Will you read the sequel? Or why not?
The next two books are out (I can't remember if it's a trilogy or if there's another coming out... Hmmm, better check that I think.) and they are definitely on my reading list! The whole idea was so fascinating I want to read more, as well as the plot isn't resolved- I just have to find out how it ends!

4.  Who would cast as the main characters if this were a movie/play? 
The next question (And yes, Megan, this is very fitting for this book) is a tough one for me. In fact, it's so tough I've had this review saved as a draft for weeks because I couldn't come up with an answer. And, thanks to Megan, I have no choice BUT to answer it. 
I think that Ralph Fiennes would be a fine choice for the role of Ariel the air spirit! His role as Voldemort greatly resembles Ariel and I think he would fit this part well. 

Of course this is not true. About the only things that Voldemort and Ariel have in common is the fact that they are both incredibly pale and are both pain in the behinds. 

And so, in short,
The good: Wonderful characters, fascinating plot, enthralling setting.
The bad: At times, it was a bit confusing.



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