Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review: EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev

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.
Since I started stalking watching the Debutantes’ LJ community several months ago, I’ve been very anxiously frantically patiently waiting to get my hands on this book. Seriously – just look at the COVER! The blue hair! The Suzanne Collins blurb! The tantalizing description – “All her world’s a stage.”
When I bought it at Barnes & Noble, I was momentarily terrified that the book wouldn’t live up to my very high expectations.
But there was no need to worry.
This book is everything I look for in a good read: whimsical, funny, suspenseful, romantic, clever. Bertie is a fabulous heroine to root for – flawed but oh-so-sympathetic. You’ll be cheering her on even as she puts on dangerous pyrotechnic displays, tries to seduce a pirate, and gets her friends in ridiculous amounts of trouble. Her stubbornness and her love for her magical family keeps her endearing, lovable, and very, very real.
Ariel is quite possibly the most unique, exciting character I’ve read in a long time, and he is also at the center of the conflicts in this book. He’s simultaneously Bertie’s friend, enemy, lover, and her worst fear. He’s charming and terrifying, sweet and sensitive and cruel, flawed and far too perfect. He’s a mystery, and I’M IN LOVE WITH HIM. *swoon*
But that doesn’t mean Nate, the dashing and surprisingly chivalrous pirate, isn’t a character to root for as well. No one is going to pick sides easily in this convoluted love triangle, I promise.
*swoons again*
Ahem. Anyway. Moving on.
But the main reason for which I will adore Lisa Mantchev forever: She set this book up for a sequel without carving my heart out to do it. No cliffhanger; no stopping in the middle of the sentence so as to assure you will buy the next novel. No, she left plenty of unanswered questions – but the book was very clearly finished. The immediate conflict was resolved. End Act I.
This book gets a definite 5/5 stars, and two thumbs way up.


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