Eyes Like Stars (Theatre Illuminata Trilogy, #1)
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Synopsis: 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, MUSTARD SEED, 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.
First Sneak Peek
“Hey, Mustardseed took a bag of jelly beans!’ Cobweb whined, far less concerned about access to the stage than stolen snacks.
‘You can have the black one.’
‘But I wanted the red one!’
‘A muffled noise, then, ‘Now it’s up my nose. Still want it?’ followed by a very sulky ‘No!’
‘That’s why I don’t eat the green ones.” (Chapter 2, pg. 24)
Second Sneak Peek
“He still held her arm, still had his head at an earnest tilt, but beyond that mask of calm and elegance was an Ariel-shaped mass of writhing, snakelike tendrils. Scarves and streamers moved swiftly, weaving in and out among each other, reaching out to tug at her clothes and pull her toward them. They spoke in silk-hisses of the desperate need roiling under the surface of his skin, and their whispers stole the breath from her lungs.
"Let me go!” Bertie pinched the fleshy inner curve of his arm with her fingernails until he released her.
“Whatever is the matter with the girl?” Ariel asked the empty hallway.
“I’m not falling for your Prince Charming act.” She didn’t back away, though she very much wanted to.
“Act?” Smooth as cream. “Am I not your handsome prince, ready to save you from this mundane existence?”
“I hadn’t realized how badly you want your freedom.” The corset helped put steel in her spine; Bertie felt very tall, very thin, and very much in control. “I’m sorry, Ariel, but Players can’t leave the theater, and there’s nothing I can do to change that.”
“I don’t believe you.” The air warmed with the promise of a summer storm. What little distance there was between them disappeared as he stepped even closer. “Aren’t you trying to change things so that you can stay?”
Bertie opened her mouth to argue and realized he spoke the truth.
“I see the lady is speechless, for once.” His lips twitched with the faintest suggestion of a sneer as he permitted his gaze to come to rest on her cleavage. “Such a pity your intellect didn’t blossom with the rest of you.”
Mrs. Edith had told her once that the costume made the character, but only now did Bertie understand what she’d meant. The corset was dainty, demure, pin-striped, and it wanted her to slap Ariel across the face.
But Bertie was more than the sum of her clothing, so she cocked her arm and punched him as hard as she could in the stomach. (Chapter 7, pgs. 103-104)
About the Author: Lisa Mantchev is a temporally-displaced Capricorn who casts her spells from an ancient tree in the Pacific Northwest. When not scribbling, she is by turns an earth elemental, English professor, actress, artist, and domestic goddess. She shares her abode with her husband, two children, and three hairy miscreant dogs. She is best known as the author of the young adult fantasy trilogy, The Théâtre Illuminata. Published by Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan,) the series includes the Andre Norton and Mythopoeic awards-nominated (2009), (2010), and (2011.) Lisa’s short fiction has also appeared in venues like Clarkesworld, Weird Tales, Fantasy Magazine and Strange Horizons.
Where to Find the Author