Bertie, Ariel, Nate, and all the others from the first.
Main Premise: Now that Bertie has left the theater, she is searching for her family, since her mother was one of the characters – Ophelia. She also has to deal with the Ariel/Nate triangle.
Other Important Things to Remember for Later: coming soon!
Review: ** spoiler alert ** I really, really loved the first one “Eyes Like Stars” and that was despite feeling a little lost at times since I am not a Shakespeare fan and therefore, I am not very familiar with some of the characters, nor am I familiar at all really with the plays they come from. As a result, lots of the references to those plays was lost on me. Despite that, I really enjoyed the book anyway. The story was fresh, the characters lovable (especially the fairies) and the world created was vivid and so easy to see in my mind because the imagery conveyed in the writing was so clear.
That said, much of that applied here to. The story was interesting – as Bertie sets off to rescue Nate and Ariel and the fairies tag along. Bertie is the Mistress of Revels and needs to embrace and understand what that means. But some of the magic of that was missing. I was prepared to read about her having so much power and I expected many more attempts by Bertie to “write” her own story. I was disappointed with how infrequent that really happened. I didn’t really feel like she ever really came to understand – or really demonstrate – her real power. And how the new book Bertie acquires to write her story in ended up filled with words – disappointed me as well. I wanted to see more of what Bertie wrote – and how that played out (instead of how what played out ended up in words)(and my apologies, that distinction probably won’t make sense until you read it)!
The characters developed even further and it was lovely. The new characters don’t disappoint either. The sneak-theif is a wonderful addition. So were the characters from the Immamorti. I think the Immamorti was one of the most pleasant aspects of the book. I was thrilled to learn more of Bertie’s background, about her parents, and I was relieved that I felt much of the point of this book (at least as set up by the end of ELS) was there on the page for me to read.
The fairies are wonderful. I especially enjoyed the marzipan groom that became a character even though he remained inanimate and marzipan – before he was eaten! I could totally hear, in my head, the little voices of the fairies as I read their lines.
The showdown with Sedna and how Bertie finds her… well, that’s where I was most disappointed. It felt lazy to me. It was creative to find out that the way was written, but the pop-up stage book bothered me, The scene changes bothered me. The “deals” Sedna tries to strike bothered me. How Bertie manages to keep Sedna from keeping either Ariel or Nate – REALLY bothered me. To not have to force Bertie to choose, in the way in which that came about, was lazy. If you don’t want to be spoiled – stop reading here… but to have Bertie love them both equally! Come on! It would have been so much more interesting to find out who she loved more. And, as a result, the fight with Sedna was almost too easy for the characters too.
The dialogue is usually very well written. I forget that they aren’t really standing in front of me. I liked the mystery involved in the story (although the reveal of Bertie’s father is really very early which surprised me). And I like the interplay between the characters. There is still mystery left for Act III but yet I feel satisfied that this book had a successful conclusion. The turn of phrase is often very insightful and pretty and so it is a pleasure to read.
All thing considered, I like it. I just didn’t love it as much as it’s predecessor. Hope Act III brings me back to the magic in Act I.