Rating: 5/5 Stars
Release Date: July 7, 2009
About the Book: Beatrice Shakespeare Smith lives in a theater. She's not an actress, but she knows every part. The Theatre Illuminata is the only home Bertie has ever know. But one mishap too many has the Theater Director determined to send Bertie on her way-unless she can prove that she is a valuable part of the Theater. Now Bertie must fight for her home while unlocking the secrets of her past...
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Ok, I'll try to control my gushing and fan girliness over this book, but Eyes Like Stars is amazing!!! This has to be one of the most creative, imaginative, beautiful novels I have read. I loved the setting of the Theatre Illuminata and the idea that all the players of every play lived in the theater and were able to be called upon whenever they are needed (and sometimes when they're not needed!)
Lisa Mantchev has managed to capture the magic of the theater in this stunningly written novel. I honestly can't believe this is her debut. All the characters are so richly drawn and detailed and I could hear various voices for everyone as I was reading. Everything was so vividly written, I could actually see the see the story unfolding as a play in front of me. The fairies offer fun comic relief, whereas the tension between Ariel and Bertie provides plenty of drama. The dialog is witty and snappy and lots of fun. This was a book that I literally had to tear myself away from and force myself to go to work and sleep-I never wanted to stop reading.
Shakespeare does play heavily into the novel, but you don't need to be a Shakespearean scholar to follow along and recognize the characters. Also, Lisa Mantchev does an excellent job filling the reader in on the important details of each part, without it losing the flow of the story. There are several plays and characters that make appearances throughout and discovering each one is part of the joy of reading this novel.
As someone who has been heavily involved in theater, I loved the subtle details about theater life that only theater people really and truly understand-the arguments over props vs. sets, the actor's egos. :) But even if you've never had any experience in a theater, there is sure to be something you'll love in Eyes Like Stars.
I highly recommend this to all readers, even readers who typically shy away from fantasy. This didn't feel like a typical fantasy to me, so I'm sure it will attract even those who don't usually read in that genre.
Also, I LOVE the cover. This is one I will be buying because I loved it so much and because I need to have a copy with that cover!