Eyes Like Stars
Feiwel & Friends
July 7, 2009
A truly great fantasy book not only transports you to some other world, it leaves you wondering how a person (the author) could possibly come up with all of that--and execute it so well. Eyes Like Stars was an example of this, possibly the best example of a book where I actually stopped and thought about how unique it was and how amazed I was with Lisa Mantchev since, probably, Harry Potter. I know a part of it was that it wasn't the vampire, faery, or witch fantasy book that can be unique but still has the characters we've seen.
Eyes Like Stars does have a few faeries, but they're characters from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' The rest of the characters are (save I think five) are all also characters from famous plays from Ophelia to Nate, the pirate from the 'Little Mermaid.'
While the saying might be that all the world's a stage, in Eyes, the stage is all of the world for the characters of the Théâtre Illuminata-they come when their call notices are posted on the board, they perform their scenes without need of rehearsal or script. They are the characters.
The only one not playing a role (or in charge of scenery, costumes or props) is Bertie: Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, the parentless girl left to grow up at the Theatre. The theatre and the characters are all she knows, but she's not an actress. She has no role.
Is she about to lose it all?
While I did love, love this book and love Lisa Mantchev for the contest that allowed me to win an ARC...there was a itty bitty something that kept it from being a 10/10, perfect book. I still am not sure I've exactly put my finger on it, but in her review Lenore mentioned a lack of emotional anchor because of the large amount of characters. I really, really am not sure if that was it (I half think it is because I can't come up with a single other thing and in the beginning it would make sense) but I half don't think it is because of some events at the end.
I do realise that I'm not giving the best review here by saying that 'something' is missing from the book, but I don't want to just say how amazing and stupendoous it is and then say 9/10 with no explanation :)
I loved the writing of this book and the characters that were chosen to be in it. I probably should mention that while not knowing Shakespeare and plays (Midsummer, Ophelia, Macbeth, Hamlet, Little Mermaid, and a few others specifically) doesn't mean you can't absolutely enjoy the book, there are little things in the narrative that you'll get if you do know them.
I definitely recommend you go and buy the book-it's got and amazing cover, too...I can't wait to see what happens when the second book comes out--and I sure hope I manage to snag one of those ARCs, too!!