Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev

Theatre Illuminata, Act 2 (review of Book 1: Eyes Like Stars)

Tags: YA, fantasy, magic, love triangle, fathers


Beatrice Shakespeare Smith never thought she’d leave the theatre, but here she is, on the road to save Nate, her pirate sweetheart, from the hands of the nefarious Sedna the Sea Witch, accompanied by her four fairy friends and the seductive air spirit Ariel. Armed with the magical powers of the Mistress of Revels, Bertie is able to write herself in and out of situations. But not even her power with words can prepare her for revelations about her parents’ past, a battle over her heart, and the ultimate encounter with Sedna.


Lisa Mantchev outdoes herself in this lush and exotic sequel to EYES LIKE STARS. In many ways it is quite different from the first book, but stunningly so, and I think will make readers gain a whole new level of appreciation for Lisa’s writing.

If I could eat just one book, I think this would have to be it. In Lisa Mantchev’s hands, words aren’t merely lines and swirls of black on white: they come alive, playing with one another, dancing like fairies themselves. The book is chock-full of wordplay and descriptions so rich you just want to roll them around and around on your tongue. Lisa’s writing really sets the tone and setting of PERCHANCE TO DREAM into a world that seems to always be dissolving and changing at the corners of our eyes.

All the characters you loved from EYES LIKE STARS come back in full force in this stunning sequel. Bertie may be the tip of the love triangle, but she’s far from your typical YA heroine: she is spunky and independent, and would never consider giving herself up for love. We get to see a lot more of Ariel than Nate in this Theatre Illuminata installment, which is deliciously swoon-worthy in a sensual and dangerous way. And Bertie’s encounters with new characters—Sedna, the Scrimshander, various vagabonds she meets along her journey (including the traveling circus)—are excellent additions to the series, each one an almost surreal section.

For those who enjoy incredibly beautiful writing and a unique cast of varied characters, Lisa Mantchev’s books are not to be missed. Lovers of EYES LIKE STARS may be slightly jarred by the lack of backstory and the completely different change of pace and setting, but you just might also be fall under Lisa’s writing spell, as I irrevocably am.

Similar Authors
Francesca Lia Block

Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 5 out of 5 - I think Jason Chan should draw more book covers. That's all.

Feiwel & Friends / May 25, 2010 / Hardcover / 352pp. / $16.99

ARC sent by publisher. Thanks, Lisa!


  1. I LOVE PTD. Actually, I love most anything Lisa Mantchev writes. (Books and blog posts and tweets. *nod*)

  2. I am trying so hard to not spend money right now (due to husband laid off) but I think I HAVE to buy this one. I have been lusting after it for a year!!

  3. I've been meaning to pick up this series. ^^ I agree along the cover art lines - It's just so gorgeous! O_O

  4. Oooh - this is such a convincing review. And I know I should read these books. I think I'm scared i don't know enough theatre background or something...?

    Really, though, your review itself is just enticing to read.

    I may have to bump Eyes Like Star off my wishlist and into my basket.

  5. I LOVE these covers! They're so gorgeous and original, I haven't read either of them yet but I do have both of them right now! :)
    Great review - you worded it perfectly!


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