Eyes Like Stars, Lisa Mantchev

Beatrice has grown up in the Theatre Illuminata. She eats in the Green Room, dresses in things she’s found in Costumes, and she’s friends with the characters offstage.

(No, I don’t mean the actors. The characters. For example, Ariel, Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed and Peasebottom are players in the book. (You may remember them from Shakespeare? Or not, but they’re from Shakespeare, OKAY? ^_^) The Theater is seriously magic, and characters from the plays walk out of The Book they’re written in and onto the stage. Sometimes then they walk around backstage later, causing havoc.)

She’s lived her life there as long as she can remember, hobnobbing with pirates, faeries and drowned girls, avoiding the Stage Manager, and basically running riot. And as the book opens, the management has had enough of the foundling girl contributing nothing while messing everything up. She’s been told to leave and make her own way in the outside world.

Hah, like they could get rid of her that easily!

Bertie, you see, does not take direction well. She’s told to leave because she’s not contributing anything? Why then, she’ll contribute! She’ll become a Director! She busily starts to work staging a production of Hamlet in Ancient Egypt, anxious to prove her contribution to the theatre.

But while she’s occupied with kicking rebellious characters into new roles and the nuances of staging (Let’s replace the poison with a basket of asps! Which then GET LOOSE,) other people who she trusts are serving their own interests. Their interests rarely line up with hers.

Also, ancient sea goddesses kidnapping people.

I really liked most of this book, but unfortunately I was bitten with that issue again where I don’t like the main character. I kept wanting to go HERE and she kept heading off over THERE and I had to go along. I’m still pointing and waving and jumping up and down over the scenery, etc., and she’s busy trusting adults and worrying about her mom. I guess I’m a heartless child, but I really didn’t CARE about her mom. I wanted more magical things and rebellious characters and costuming and all the SHINY this book was practially dripping. But no, it showed me the shiny and then dragged me AWAY from the sparkles (oh my pretty sparkles!) to focus on the angst. Sigh. I gave it Three Stars out of Five.

I think I need to re-read it for the shiny.

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