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.

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


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!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP