Author: Lisa Mantchev
Published: Feiwel & Friends, May 2010
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: C+
In the sequel to Eyes Like Stars, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith (the Mistress of Revels) and company have left the enchanted Theatre Illuminata in order to rescue one of their fellow castmates from the clutches of the evil sea witch who captured him. Struggling between the kidnapped pirate and Ariel, a wind spirit from the play The Tempest, Bertie faces challenges that she would never have to face within the Theatre--and will ultimately have to put the magic within herself to the test.
My thoughts: I had high expectations for Perchance to Dream. After reading Eyes Like Stars, I fell in love with the enchanting Theatre and Bertie and her ragtag crew of friends, ranking it my #1 book of 2009. However, I felt that this sequel did not live up to the glory of its predecessor.
To start, I was totally confused with the storyline. I knew that it was a basic journey to rescue Nate from Sedna, and that Bertie was struggling with her feelings for both Nate and Ariel. I knew that Bertie was reunited with her father, and there was some drama there regarding why he left her and her mother, but other than that, I wasn't clear on what was going on in the story. Between Bertie's illustrious dreams and magic and the new characters (whose roles in the book were unclear), I felt like I was lost in the rolling descriptions and fantasy.
The story itself was so long and tended to drag along in places, which added to my confusion. I think that Bertie's character got lost in third person. I really would've liked to know her better, but she felt like a distant focus on the book between lengthy descriptions of scenery. I feel that if she were more developed, as she had been in Eyes Like Stars, then I also would've understood her magic and her journey.
The descriptions were packed chock-full with foreign sights, sounds, smells, and theatrical and old-fashioned dialogue so that I felt uncertain whether the story was real or one of Bertie's magical dreams. However, Ms. Mantchev injected beauty and detail into everything. Her writing was enchanting and simply poetic. For instance: "The air spilled over her lips in a cloud-colored ribbon that dragged her toward him".
With a bit more background information and some clearer narration, I think that this book could've been just as good as Eyes Like Stars. Still, Ms. Mantchev has great talent as a storyteller--and I am still eagerly looking forward to Bertie's next adventure.