Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book Review: Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev

Title:  Perchance to Dream : Théâtre  Illuminata, Act II
Author:  Lisa Mantchev
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA (fantasy)
Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN:  0312380976 
The stuff that dreams are made on.

Act Two, Scene One
Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.


But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between—
Nate: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.
Ariel: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.

When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. She and her fairy sidekicks embark on a journey aboard the Thèâtre’s caravan, using Bertie’s word magic to guide them. Along the way, they collect a sneak-thief, who has in his possession something most valuable, and meet The Mysterious Stranger, Bertie’s father—and the creator of the scrimshaw medallion. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair? 
Overall rating:  9/10 flowers

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Find Perchance to Dream at your local library:  WorldCat

Lisa Mantchev's Perchance to Dream picks up right where Eyes Like Stars left off and follows Bertie along her magical and perilous journey to rescue Nate.  The love triangle takes center stage in Perchance to Dream, and hearts and souls hang in the balance.  Can Bertie rescue Nate?  What will she have to sacrifice to set him free?  If you liked Eyes Like Stars, the first book in the Theatre Illuminata series, then you must read Perchance to Dream!  If you haven't read Eyes Like Stars yet, you can check out our review here.  This series is incredibly creative and entertaining!

What I Liked:
-     I loved how inventive and original this story feels right from the first page!   I found myself surprised and delighted by the twists and turns Bertie and her companions encounter along their journey to rescue Nate.  I never knew what to expect around the next bend in the road.  Such fun!
-     Bertie's roll as the new Mistress of Revels gives her a phenomenal, but challenging, power.  She may not have mastered the use of her newly-discovered abilities yet, but it is extremely amusing to see her experimenting with them.  I look forward to seeing what she does next.
-     Bertie learns so much about the world outside of the Theatre in this book, but along the way she also discovers a lot about herself.  I enjoyed learning more about her father and her past.  And I particularly loved the way Bertie's internal journey toward finding her own strength and a place that belonged to her (and only her) became a real, tangible experience for her.  Beautiful.  I continue to like her for her bravery, her passion, and her individuality.  Bertie's desire to find and settle comfortably into herself before fully opening herself to the desires of others is also commendable. 
-     All of the characters in this book make mistakes.  They are sometimes deceitful, angry, scared, vindictive, foolish, and petty.  But every one of those qualities makes them more real.  I love them for their flaws as much as for their virtues, and they are never one-dimensional or flat.
-     Huzzah for more Ariel!  I was firmly #TeamAriel by the end of Eyes Like Stars, and seeing more of his interactions with Bertie was actually what I most looked forward to in reading Perchance to Dream.  I am happy to say that this book did not disappoint.  Ariel's charm had lots of time to shine in this book, and now I adore him even more!  Not only does he wear his heart on his sleeve & let down his guard significantly more than we've seen in the past, but he knowingly assists Bertie in her efforts to rescue his rival.  It doesn't get much more devoted than that.  He totally won my heart.   
-     I loved the players and the theater atmosphere so much in Eyes Like Stars that prior to reading Perchance to Dream I was a bit concerned that the clever theater references would be absent once Bertie traveled away from the Theatre Illuminata.  As it turned out, I needn't have wasted time worrying.  There were still plenty of opportunities for quirky performances, fabulous costume changes, a bit of Shakespeare, and several cleverly twisted theater references.
-     The wild and imaginative array of acrobats and performers in the Innamorati felt like something out of a dreamlike Cirque du Soleil performance.  Fascinating and colorful.   
-      The sneak-thief was such a great addition to the cast of this story.  I loved the idea of his taking only unwanted items and really enjoyed his roll in the tale.  Hope to see more of him in the next book.
-     Ah, last but not least, the fairies.  As expected, they are still bursting with personality and mischief.  I thought they were much more amusing in this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed all their hijinks, performances, quests for food, and costume changes.  From their beatnik brainstorming ensembles to their creative interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, they bring gleeful smiles & giggles to each of their scenes.

What I Wished:
-      As I have already mentioned, I am totally in love with one of Bertie's suitors in this book, so I desperately wanted her to have more scenes with him and I occasionally wanted her to make different choices where he was concerned.  I knew that wish was unrealistic since the love triangle would have crumbled if the story had gone differently, and I actually didn't feel like it was a flaw in the story.  Bertie's decisions all rang true for Bertie.  But that didn't stop me from wishing Bertie would offer Ariel a little bit more of her heart.

Fans of magical fantasies, imaginatively twisted theater performances, and passionate heroines should check out this series.  Readers who have grown weary of recycled plots and characters & find themselves craving something dizzyingly unique should definitely pick up the Theatre Illuminata series too!  I would recommend reading the first book, Eyes Like Stars, before Perchance to Dream because the story does build from the revelations within the first book and Bertie's quest will make more sense and if you've read Eyes Like Stars.  I can't wait to read So Silver Bright, the final book in the Theatre Illuminata trilogy!  If you would like to learn more about Perchance to Dream, please visit Lisa Mantchev's website | livejournal | blog | twitter | Theatre Illuminata website

Check out this amazing Perchance to Dream Pop Up Trailer!


Candace said...

I didn't read the review since I'm reading Eyes Like Stars right now and don't want any spoilers but I was happy to see the rating! I LOVE these covers! I haven't ordered this one yet, as I'm waiting to see how much I love the first, but even if I didn't like the book I think I would have to buy this one because of the gorgeous cover!

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