Eyes Like Stars in the first book by Lisa Mantchev in the Theatre Illuminata trilogy.
Bertie lives on a stage. Her friends are fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her crush is Nate, a pirate from The Little Mermaid. And her childhood friend and now frenemie is Ariel, a hunky spirit from The Tempest.
That’s right. On the stage Bertie lives on, all those characters from all those plays? They’re alive and bursting with drama. And not just the characters from Shakespeare. Every single play that has ever been written is represented in The Book. The Book that makes all of this possible. The Book that creates the magic.
But Bertie isn’t one of these characters; the theatre has taken her in, with a rather murky explanation as to why. It is her home. The only place she knows.
However, Bertie isn’t the most gracious of guests. She can’t seem to help making messes and getting into mischief. And when she is threatened with banishment – she has to find a way to make herself invaluable to the Theatre in order to stay. But while she works hard at doing just that, things start to fall apart. The very existence she is trying to maintain for herself is disappearing in front of her eyes.
Mixing drama with whimsical fantasy, humor with magical depth, Eyes Like Stars manages to be extremely hypnotic in it’s telling. Bertie is somehow very relatable, yet completely immersed in this world that is so unlike our own. She’s interesting and talented without being a goody-two-shoes. All of the incredible characters from all the plays are mesmerizing and stunningly entertaining.
And the plot weaves itself into more than it first seems. There are twists I can assure you, you won’t see coming! At least, I didn’t.
It’s not just a book for Shakespeare lovers, though I’m sure they’d enjoy the characters being lively and full of personality. I, myself, only have a read a couple of the plays and have only a basic idea of the others, and it was in no way an impediment to my delight in Eyes Like Stars.
Somehow, by the last page I found myself spellbound in this exceptionally unique, dreamlike YA novel and breathless for the next installment. The character depth and wit manages to grab a hold of your emotions in a way that you wouldn’t expect for such a quirky novel. But there seems to be more under the surface.
And ALL of it is excellent.
I think you all should find it when it comes out this month and decide for yourselves: Do you wish you had your own Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed (the fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)? My answer is an emphatic: yes.
I’d be shocked if you disagreed.