Why did I buy this book? Well, I've read a lot of rave reviews and it sounded magical and beautiful and so I decided I really needed to read it. So glad I did.
Bertie is a strong character, the first time we catch her she is dying her hair blue and in trouble for doing something bad the previous day, she is strong and funny and witty and we really see her develop over the course of the story - from a girl who doesn't know her past, who has few feelings for people, a pretty bland character really to somebody with loyalty, trust and strength. I did feel like her romantic choices were pretty bad, but hopefully Mantchev fixes that in the next book!
Mantchev introduced an amazing cast of backing characters, she brings play characters from a lot of plays to life, we see Ophelia and Hamlet argue, Gertrude and Lady MacBeth have a clash, it was fantastic really! I loved the character of Nate, a pirate for The Little Mermaid that has one line, he made me swoon, he is strong and protective and lovely and the perfect hero for a fairytale book.
Ariel is our sort-of-antagonist for the book, if you read it you'll see why I said sort of. To be honest, he scared me. A lot. Though I sort of liked him as well (strange as that is.) My problem with Ariel was personal though, after studying The Tempest in school, and performing a play of it in which I was Miranda :') I can't see Ariel as anything apart from the geeky guy who played him, so i didn't really swoon over him, hard as I tried.
Mantchev creates a fantastic world in Theatre Illuminata, where you can see it ran as a normal theatre, but you could also see the beautiful magnificence in the magic that she weaved into it, in a way it reminded me of Cirque Du Soleil, which I have an obsession with. I honestly have to say it is one of the most breathtaking book worlds ever created. There was so much going on as well! With a storyline about a sea-goddess, a storyline about The Book, a romantic storyline and Bertie trying to direct a play, it really was absorbing and I couldn't put it down.
Another fantastic thing was the writing! I loved the changes to script form every now and then, I loved the descriptions... descriptive but not overboard. I am honestly in love with this book.
I already have the sequel on first class order, even though I swore I wasn't going to buy any more books until I've caught up with my TBR err... pile.
Overall rating: A
Stand alone/series: First in a series
Released: April 13th 2010 (Paperback)
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Book obtained via: Borrowed