Monday, April 29, 2019

Eyes Like Stars

Eyes Like Stars. Theatre Illuminata #1) Lisa Mantchev. 2009. 352 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The fairies flew suspended on wires despite their tendency to get tangled together. Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, busy assessing her reflection in the looking glass and thinking perhaps she shouldn't have dyed her hair blue on this particular morning, turned to glare at them when they rocketed past the end of her nose for the third time in as many minutes.

Premise/plot: Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has no memories prior to her arrival at the Theatre Illuminata--a place that she knows as HOME. Her bedroom is on stage; her friends are the players. Who are some of her friends? Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed. (They are from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.) Then there's Nate. He's a pirate from The Little Mermaid. If only he'd hang around MORE. (He only shows up when his name is posted on the Call Board.)  Ariel from Shakespeare's The Tempest is a rule-breaker. She's been warned time and time and time again NOT to hang around Ariel. But. There's something about him that makes her lose her common sense. Is he friend or foe?

When the novel opens, Beatrice (aka "Bertie") is facing a crisis. The theatre manager is threatening to KICK HER OUT of the only home she's ever known. She begs for a little time to make herself useful. Surely if she becomes a DIRECTOR and stages a successful play then she'll be allowed to stay. It will require a sold out performance and a standing ovation. She thinks that restaging HAMLET but set in Egypt instead of Denmark will be just the thing. But is it as easy as that? HARDLY.

My thoughts: I love, love, love, CRAZY LOVE this one. I love it just as much upon rereading.  (I first read it in 2009.) I love the characterization. I love the humor. I love the romance. I love the mystery and suspense. Who is Bertie? How did she arrive at the theatre? Who are her parents? Why was she abandoned? Why is the Theatre Manager afraid of her? It's just a giddy-making read.

Quotes:
The majority of the Players drifted in and out of existence according to the summonses pinned to the Call Board, but the more flamboyant, dashing, or mad the character, the more freedom they had to move about the Theatre. The fairies dogged Bertie's every step, whereas Nate was one for protocol. (5)
The more time the Players spend with you, the more they transform, the more they exceed the limitations of their written parts. Your closest friends come and go as they please with no thought as to the consequences. (111)
"You're a bit young to be so very cynical," Mr. Hastings observed.
"Mrs. Edith said the same thing to me yesterday," Bertie said with a lopsized shrug. "But I'm older than Juliet, and she was plenty cynical by the end of that mess."
Mr. Hastings winced. "Touche." He pushed a teacup at her. "Drink up. It won't restore your soul, but it might settle your thoughts."
"Can you put some pirate rum in it?"
"I find myself fresh out," he said. "But would you care for a bit of unsolicited advice instead?"
She sighed and wrinkled her nose. "That depends. Is it the kind of advice that has me pulling myself up by the bootstraps and slogging my way to school barefoot in the snow, uphill, both ways?" (172)

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Alyssa Nelson 8:57 AM  

This sounds super interesting! I can't believe I haven't heard of it before. I love Shakespeare inspired stories, and the idea behind this is definitely unique. Great review!

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