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Simply Addicted

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently read the ARC of a book that I think a lot of you guys will like: Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev. It's about a girl who lives in a theatre where all the "actors" are actually characters from the plays they're in. Although not flawless, it is a very fun and original book. Here's a copy of my more lengthy review from BTN:

Description: All her world’s a stage.

Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theatre.

She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.

She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.

Until now.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters 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.


Eyes Like Stars is an impressive debut from Lisa Mantchev. Not only is it refreshingly unique, but timeless, with an irreverent take on the theatre that will be amusing to all, even those without an avid interest in it. A group of fairies who act as Beatrice’s companions provide the most consistent comic relief, of which many may recognize as the same fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In fact, aside from Bertie and a few others who work there, everyone who resides at the Théâtre Illuminata originate from plays, as alive as any of us, but magically bound to the Théâtre, whether they like it or not. Although not bound to the Théâtre Illuminata herself, Bertie can’t ever imagine leaving it to be anywhere else, not even to find the family she’s never known and learn the truth of her origins. She may not have a choice, though, when she finds out she’s being kicked out and only has one chance to prove her worth so she won’t lose the one place that feels like home.

Theatre fans will appreciate the in-depth look of theatre workings and allusions to various plays, as well as some stylistic writing choices by the author, such as flashbacks that utilize traditional script format. In general, though, readers will enjoy the playful humor, distinct characterization, and whimsical fantasy elements abundant in this book. At times, actions by the characters felt either grating or underdeveloped, and a few scenes dragged while others seemed clunky, but overall, Eyes Like Stars is a thoroughly fun read that will leave theatre and fantasy fans alike clamoring for the sequel.


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