…the enchanted Theatre Illuminata? You can visit it in Eyes like Stars, by Lisa Mantchev. Bertie (Beatrice Shakespeare Smith) grew up in the Theatre Illuminata with no memory of her parents or a life before that magical place. Her clothes are cared for by the Wardrobe Mistress, everything she has is managed by the Properties Manager, food appears in the Green Room when it is needed, and almost all of her friends are Players who exist for their roles. However, Bertie is starting to grow up and her pranks are getting out of hand. She needs to find an invaluable way to contribute the Theatre, or she must leave the only home she has ever known.
This is a very fun coming-of-age fantasy novel. It took me a little while to get used to the setting, but madcap Bertie and her constant fairy companions had me hooked from the beginning. Knowing something about theaters and acting will definitely help you understand this book; the terminology is tossed around without much explanation. The lush descriptions and never-ending action, not to mention Bertie’s incredible talent for leaping headlong into trouble, make this a wonderfully enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to the sequel!
One of my favorite quotes (from p. 175): “On what planet would a basket of asps be considered a set piece and not a prop?”
The second book in the series is Perchance to Dream.
Reviewed by Fran (staff)