Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Posted June 29, 2012 by Amber in Reviews / 6 Comments

Eyes Like Stars

Eyes Like Stars

by Lisa Mantchev

Series: Théâtre Illuminata #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends on July 7, 2009
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

All her world's a stage.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.

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

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

That is, until now.

Enter Stage Right

NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.

COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARDSEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE'S sidekicks.

ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie's weakness. The symbol of impending doom.

BERTIE. Our heroine.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors 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.

Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic, and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience.

Open Curtain


I had an incredibly difficult time putting this one down.  I want to say I didn’t love it because lets face it… the plot kept pulling me in, then pushing me out, and I found the resolution sadly unfulfilling.  However, I loved every bit of the characters and while I had issues with Nate and Ariel being romantic interests (as they felt so old and far away from Bertie) I also know that I wanted so badly for everything to work out with Nate at the end of the book (no further spoilers here!)

The writing at the very end was magnificent.  While I didn’t care for Bertie’s overall decision, the way she “saved the day” was perfectly written and felt magical to me even as I read it.

I’m finding it difficult to write this review without spoilers, so bear with me.

The publisher and the cover struck me immediately on this book, and although it is something I won’t normally comment on, I did want to just mention how visually perfect the cover was.  A lot of YA fantasy these days uses photography on the cover, but the artistry used to create the cover of Eyes Like Stars and the rest of the series is just absolutely beautiful.

I think the one important thing to keep in mind with this series is that the characters within may have been created in a certain way within certain stories… but Mantchev does not necessarily use them as such.  The Shakespearean (etc.) characters have much of their own personalities that become visible offstage, something I both loved and hated (character dependent).  One should not expect the heroes of beloved plays to be quite as heroic.  This is, after all, but one person’s interpretation.

That being said, for anyone who gets excited by the idea of allusions, or is familiar with the workings of the theatre world, this book is a must-read.  It is very unique, and utterly captivating.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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6 responses to “Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

    • Isn’t it just?

      And it’s not that the photographs are bad… it’s just that the same themes keep popping up and one book starts looking like all the others. Covers are losing individuality, and I personally find that sad.

      • That’s something I don’t understand–the whole point of a book cover is to stand out, to catch interest, so why is it that the current trend is to look the same as everything else?

        I suppose it’s a reflection of the copycat nature of teen books these days. *Sigh*

        • I think that it’s a marketing ploy based around the Twilight series, since all the current covers reflect the same design choices as that series. They are likely hoping that people will spot the similarity in the covers and assume that Book X will appeal to them just as much as Twilight.

          Sadly, that doesn’t say much of anything good about the individuality and decision-making ability of the average Twilight fan, but it must be working, since the trend has continued.

          Ironically, the Harry Potter series was just as successful (actually, I would argue that it was more so) and you didn’t see the publishing houses pulling the same ploy….

      • It is peculiar how Twilight has effected its genre in ways Harry Potter or Eragon or even Maximum Ride haven’t. It’s especially strange given how basic a concept Harry Potter is at its core (that of a magical school). One would expect there to be hundreds of its type, but there aren’t.

        Maybe that says something about the intelligence of Harry Potter fans. XD

        • XD Most likely.

          I also believe that Twilight reached many people that were not normally drawn to the genre. YA Fantasy is booming now in ways that it never had before – with so much competition for everybody’s attention… from television to books/ebooks to gaming systems to tablets to summertime 😛 you can hardly blame the companies for wanting to keep the readers it acquired because of that particular series. After all Twilight didn’t feel quite as magical as Harry Potter did, therefore not pushing away the people who cannot suspend reality far enough to imagine that there could really be a Sorcerer’s Stone.

          Also the intense love triangle. I actually think that had a lot to do with it……..