Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, or Bertie as she prefers, lives in the Theatre Illuminate, although not an actress, surrounded by all the characters ever created in every play. Here she finds her home, although she has no parents, where her best friends being four fairies – Moth, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom, and Cobweb – and a rowdy pirate, Nate. Then of course there is Ariel, who is just so full of himself, but Bertie seems to just melt every time she sees him. The thing with all these characters, as with all of the characters within the Theatre, is that the Book, which holds the scripts of the plays the characters belong to, binds them to the Theatre.
There has recently been a turn of events though and Bertie is about to lose the family that she has created within the Theatre. Now it is up to here to devise a plan so that the Theatre Manager cannot turn her out on the streets. With the help of her trusty friends she sets off on a quest to save her spot at her beloved Theatre.
This was one heck of a debut novel to say the least. Lisa Mantchev created a beautiful setting in a unique Theatre that I came to love. What makes this book even more enjoyable is it throws you into the theater world in a way that even if you are not familiar with the drama world (and trust me I know nothing) you feel like you have been in this world forever after the first few chapters.
The plot that the author created was both original and thrilling. The adventure that the characters partook in was really fun and highly enjoyable. I really enjoyed Bertie having to try and save herself from being kicked out from the theater and the ideas she created along the way. It added a ton of humor to the book and really made the book that much more interesting. One thing that kind of held the story back from being absolutely wonderful is the first few chapters or so were quite confusing. There was just so much going on and a whole host of characters that was just a little too much to keep up with while trying to get acquainted with the story itself.
The story also the story got confusing again around the end of the book, it seemed that the author was trying to squeeze all this information in, in just a few short chapters. Also a lot of early characters were brought back and it was hard to remember exactly who they were. Despite the bit of predictability, the ending was really good and left off on a great cliff hanger that sets the stage for yet another great adventure in the next act of Bertie’s life.
While the plot of the story was quite wonderful, I thought that the characters really made the book. The fairies provided an ever-constant source of entertainment and are always hilarious. Then of course there was Bertie. I definitely loved everything about her. Whether it was her rebelliousness or her sense of humor, I found her to be a very strong heroine. Nate was also a very fun and heroic character and you could tell that Ariel was fishy from the start. The only thing that I felt was lacking was the relationship between Nate and Bertie. At one point it would be going strong and then there would be no mention of it for another fifty pages or so. Lisa Mantchev definitely has a knack for characterization.
Another aspect of the book that I thought was very strong was the writing. The author made the reader feel like as if they were sitting in those plush theater seats watching a show play out on stage. She kept the whole story lively with just enough description to fully understand what was going on, but not enough so that the reader gets bogged down with repetitive information. Overall there was just a magical quality to the author’s writing that just sucked me in from early on in the story and never let me go.
In the end this book was great and I really liked it. I absolutely can’t wait to get more of Bertie’s world and more of Lisa Mantchev’s imagination and writing. Also on a complete side note, if the description is not enough to draw you into the story then the cover definitely will be as it is absolutely stunning!
For some more Theatre Illuminata reviews, interviews and more please check out the following blogs:
The 160 Acre Woods
, A Christian Worldview of Fiction
, A Patchwork of Books
, Abby the Librarian
, All About Children’s Books
, And Another Book Read
, Becky’s Book Reviews
, Dolce Bellezza
, Fireside Musings
, The Friendly Book Nook
, Homeschool Book Buzz
, Homespun Light
, Never Jam Today
, Reading is My Superpower
, Through a Child’s Eyes
Also for more information on the author visit her blog.
If you would like to buy a copy of this fabulous book click here
...come on I dare you!