While reading Eyes Like Stars, here are some words that kept coming to mind:"Creative!" "Fun!" "Original!" "Whimsical!" "Hysterical!" but most importantly: "CLEVER." The world of the Theatre that Mantchev has created is utterly and deliciously clever. Everything about the book was enjoyable for me. I was a little skeptical of the book's premise that all theater characters - not just the Shakespearean ones - live in the same magical theater, but Mantchev handled it really well and kept the story simple: she didn't overextend herself or make things too complicated.
In regards to the MC, Bertie, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually liked her, from page 1 until the very end of the story. She has an excellent, wry sense of humor that I found very refreshing. She was a little on the bossy side, but her good humor and her spirit of determination proved stronger traits. Bertie's four fairy friends - Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, and Peaseblossom - were adorable all throughout the story, and I loved them all! I wish I had little fairy sidekicks! And this is almost unprecedented, but as to the two "leading men" characters, Ariel from The Tempest and Nate, a pirate from The Little Mermaid, I love both of them. Equally. Well, maybe I like Ariel just a little more. That's so weird. I am notoriously grouchy when it comes to love-triangles, but in ELS, it totally worked. Maybe it's because Lisa Mantchev doesn't beat you over the head with over-the-top drama and forced feelings, and also she doesn't put a lot of focus on this aspect of the story. It just came together very nicely, and I'm not just saying that, because like I said, I'm usually grouchy about love triangles.
One more thing: I really want to harp on Lisa Mantchev's writing style a little bit, because in all honesty I think this is a part of storytelling that doesn't get as much recognition as it should. Her writing style is absolutely 100% G/T clever. A lot of times authors can get by on just entertainment alone, and so you have books (and sorry to say, I think this happens in YA way more than adult fiction) that are entertaining and present an interesting/engaging story, but the writing is nothing special. The narrative voice, the VOCABULARY, the tone...everything was just beautiful and superb. If you haven't read Eyes Like Stars yet, but plan on it in the future, I really want you to pay attention to the quality of Mantchev's writing.