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Théâtre Illuminata #3

So Silver Bright

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Act Three, Scene One
Bertie thinks her quest is almost done. With the help of Ariel and the rest of her friends, she has managed to find her father and rescue Nate from Sedna, the Sea Goddess. Now, all she has to do is reunite her father, the Scrimshander, with her mother, Ophelia, and she will finally have a true family of her own.

Exit Stage Right
However, things are never easy for Beatrice Shakespeare Smith. Her father has vanished, Sedna is out for revenge, her own actions have trapped the Théâtre Illuminata in a strange kind of limbo, and the stress of her in-between state is tearing apart the fragile threads of her mother's sanity. Bertie's best hope for salvaging the situation may lie in a summons by Her Gracious Majesty, Queen of the Distant Castle, and the hope of winning the magical boon given to the best performance.

Bertie is caught between her growing responsibilities to home and family, and the dream of flying free - just as her heart is torn between her two loves, Nate and Ariel. With so any forces pulling on her, how will Bertie be able to choose which wish to make come true?

354 pages, Hardcover

First published September 13, 2011

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About the author

Lisa Mantchev

38 books1,302 followers
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 EYES LIKE STARS (2009), PERCHANCE TO DREAM (2010), and SO SILVER BRIGHT (2011.) Her Kindle #1 Bestselling young adult steampunk novel, TICKER, is available from Skyscape. Her near-future young adult collaboration with Glenn Dallas, SUGAR SKULLS, is forthcoming from Skyscape.

Her adult urban fantasy collaboration with A.L. Purol, LOST ANGELES, is now available on Kindle along with its sequel, LOOSE CANON.

Her first picture book, STRICTLY NO ELEPHANTS, is now available from Paula Wiseman/S&S, to be followed by SISTER DAY! and JINX AND THE DOOM FIGHT CRIME.

Stay updated with all the fun and glitter at her author website: www.lisamantchev.com

or get your Backstage Pass by becoming a Patron: www.patreon.com/LisaMantchev

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5 stars
955 (40%)
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732 (31%)
3 stars
475 (20%)
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128 (5%)
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53 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 255 reviews
Profile Image for Edrillan (vampire junkie).
66 reviews8 followers
April 10, 2012
WTF!!!!! what kind of ending was that? they killed my ARIEL (okay not actually killed but the same nonetheless!!!) he's freaking gone!!!!!!! I would have given this 10 freaking stars if they didn't banished ARIEL!!!! if he is supposed to be a wind in the first place you shouldn't have introduce him to us!!!! Why did Bertie set him free! I'm sure he wanted to stay right? right? I hate it I hate I hate it!!!!!! in the end she still chose NATE!!!! I have them both ARIEL is the only good thing that happened to me in here I freaking hate this series!!! Why can't just the authors stop doing that!!!!! killing the competition so that the heroine wont have the hard time choosing!!!! and in the end we readers suffer!!! its not our fault (especially me) that the heroine can't seem to make up her mind!!!!!!
She didn't end up with ARIEL!!!! and the little girl looks like him!!! what's that supposed to mean? what good it will do if he is gone already!!!!!!!!! I hat this series...
I will mark this as to never ever ever read again I will bury it to the deepest sea if I have to!!!!!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jeri.
61 reviews2 followers
November 5, 2011
I loved this so much! Lots of Nate just like I hoped. I always a joy to read to a friend. So much happens in such a short span of time! Absolutely love it!

Wonderful ending that I'm happy with & hoping for more.
Profile Image for Robin.
243 reviews38 followers
September 19, 2011
Damn, that was good.

If you haven't read the rest of this series, you need to go pick it up right this minute, and read it without stopping. the world Lisa Mantchev has built with the Theatre Illuminata is intoxicating.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll go to Shakespeare and read the source material. You'll wish the fairies from Midsummer Night's Dream would follow you around. you'll contemplate dying your hair black and blue. you'll quote well more than half the text on your kindle and all the people in your feed will wonder if you've lost your mind, or taken up plagiarism as a hobby.

You will cry and cry and cry at the end (or maybe that was just me), because the end is SO. GOOD., and because this is the last book in the series. I didn't realize that, then Ms Mantchev tweeted something about it being the last one. I am going to immediately start a petition to send to Feiwel and Friends to get more of these books. Even if Bertie wants to set off adventuring, I want to know who else is in the theater.

Does anyone know where I can get these signed? I actually took the trouble to run down hard copies of all three, and feel they would benefit from a signature. as you'll discover, words are important.

for those of you who are women in a certain age group, I will leave you with a Tweet quote (favorited from my feed) from Lisa Mantchev: "I keep watching for Jareth-Bowie to show up in the not new WIP, At the very least, I am owed some Muppets. #revising."

Be advised: this technically a YA book. For the purposes of this series, you are now YA.

(edited to add: no new review material, just a last desperate effort to add to my twitter feed.)
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,036 followers
November 2, 2014
Now see here, Ms. Mantchev. I've gots a bone ta pick witcha 'bout that there endin'. Yes, it was beautiful. Yes, it made complete and total sense. But,

Regardless, this series was a wonderful ride, and I had a blast hanging out with Bertie and the gang. I can't wait to see what the author will whip up in the future!
Profile Image for Ash.
23 reviews
October 14, 2011
Ariel! My heart goes out to you!
The writing style hurts my head, and is best used in small doses. With that said, my two-star rating might be bumped up to a 3 at a later date, since I just read the entire book and gave myself a headache. Basically, the only reason one might want to read anything other than the first and last page(because, reading that, you'll be able to guess the whole story)is to get the bits of Ariel and the fairies. Bertie makes me gag at points, and Nate is just too...ugh...historical-romance-guy.
Profile Image for Cat.
592 reviews55 followers
September 22, 2011
I will read anything Lisa writes, forever. It can even be random scribbles on napkins. She's that brilliant with words.

Her writing is like buttercream frosting and enchantment and cinnamon swirls all in one.
Profile Image for Crystal.
28 reviews3 followers
July 16, 2011
"Parting is such sweet sorrow." That is the feeling that Lisa Mantchev's new novel, So Silver Bright, evokes from the reader. In the final book of the Theatre Illuminata trilogy, So Silver Bright provides a fitting, and bittersweet, conclusion to a wonderfully enchanting story.

So Silver Brightbegins where Perchance to Dream, the second book in the Theatre Illuminata trilogy, concludes. The stakes are higher than ever as Bertie races to reunite her father and mother, save her beloved theatre that is caught in limbo, and defeat the evil sea goddess, Sedna, once and for all. Add in thieves, mischievous faeries, and a spoiled queen, and it is safe to say that Bertie has her hands full. To make matters worse, Bertie must also choose between her two loves: the swashbuckling pirate, Nate, or the air elemental, Ariel.

Those unfamiliar with the Theatre Illuminata trilogy are missing out on a spectacular series. However, one should read the first two novels of the Theatre Illuminata trilogy, Eyes Like Stars and Perchance to Dream respectively, before attempting So Silver Bright. Mantchev's writing style is a breath of fresh air in Young Adult literature. The story itself reads like something out of a dream, and is refreshingly unique. Her writing enchants the reader and catapults them into an illusory world- reality always a bit out of reach. Because the writing style is so different from typical YA novels, readers may have a difficult time getting accustomed to it. However, that is a matter easily settled within the first few pages, as the story itself takes hold of the reader. The plot is solid, and all of the loose ends are neatly tied up. The character development in So Silver Bright is nearly impeccable. It is wonderful to read how these characters grow with each turn of the page. Some readers may not be happy with how the story concludes, but Mantchev treats each character with respect, and honors them with an end befitting to their personal story arcs.

So Silver Bright is extremely bittersweet, but the reader can take solace in the fact that each character has a fitting end, and the story meets a satisfying conclusion. Readers will laugh; they will cry, and they will be sad to see the final curtain of the Theatre Illuminata fall.

So Silver Bright will be released on September 13, 2011.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Lisa Mantchev Proves Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow - Atlantic City Young Adult Fiction | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/young-adult-f...
Profile Image for Kirsten.
31 reviews
January 4, 2012
To be honest, I was kind of disappointed with this book. I remember feeling so much excitement with the other installments, but not so much with So Silver Bright. I think Mantchev was trying to shove so much into this last installment -- the conflict with Sedna, Bertie's past, the love triangle, the large cast of characters -- that I don't feel as if anything was really flushed out like it should've been. If you're going to set up a love triangle, do something with the damned love triangle besides having Ariel and Nate growl at each other periodically. (I was really disappointed with the resolution of said love triangle, but as that contains a spoiler I'll hold my tongue).

I kind of wish Mantchev had taken longer to write it so we could actually spend time with all the elements of the story. It moved so quickly, and it was so focused on the action, that I think the story lost a lot of character development that would've been nice. For example, I don't think we learned anything about the "fire-dancer" character-wise. She was pretty and was really only a part of the plot in the ending, but she's in what, like, half the story? Does she even get dialogue? Was she really necessary? So much could've been done with the character and I feel like she was only there to look pretty.

And speaking of elemental characters, it seemed kind of random to me to throw that into the story as well. To me that's part of what makes the story feel like it has too much content for this one installment to handle -- I can't help but feel like the elemental parts of the story are contrived and only there because the plot says so. It could've been so much better had they been there from the beginning, but I only remember it being really elemental-heavy with this novel. I think the story had quite enough going on without that, too. And I feel like it was never really explained, but it could be that it's just been a while since I've read the other books in the trilogy. The story is already so imaginative, and the elemental... well, elements are a bit much in my opinion.

More time should've been spent on this installment. I really felt like it was just jumping from place to place with no insight as to what was going on. I came away with this with the feeling that nothing was really explored and Mantchev just needed to make a deadline.

I also wish it weren't just a "trilogy." I hope despite that label, Mantchev pulls a Scott Westerfeld with his Uglies series and writes another installment anyway (not that it was needed in his case; Extras was really quite "extra"). I believe if Mantchev has another installment in the works, she could redeem herself with some insight on Bertie's life after she has experienced so much. The ending felt very open, and I'd like to see how a more grown-up Bertie sees the world. And despite my dissatisfaction with how the love triangle got resolved, I guess I could be happier with it if were written right.

I came away from this novel with a very "meh" feeling. I do hope there's another in the works.

Profile Image for Jane.
300 reviews5 followers
May 20, 2016
The Theatre Illuminata trilogy kind of has this Hunger Games issue going on. The first one, Eyes Like Stars, is super fun. It's about a magical theater where all the characters of every play ever written live and perform. There are tons of Shakespeare references. The obligatory love triangle and the constant descriptions of food are a bit annoying, but never stifling. The sequel, Perchance to Dream, isn't quite as entertaining, perhaps because protagonist Beatrice "Bertie" Shakespeare Smith and her entourage leave the theater for the outside world, but it was okay. So Silver Bright just sucks.

Remember in Mockingjay when:
1. The world-building kind of crumbles? It was fine in the first two books when most of the action occurred in the game arena and District 12, but once the scope of the series started to expand, the world felt less and less fleshed-out.

2. The main characters start to be really annoying because they don't really develop or grow or learn from their past mistakes-- they just get more emo.

Yeah. Same problems here, particularly #1.

In addition, the love triangle really comes into the foreground during this book, and I have honestly never really cared about it at all. For one thing, I have always hated that the author made Ariel-from-The Tempest somebody's love interest, period. I do admire that Mantchev managed to write a legitimate love triangle, as opposed to the two-people-like-each-other-but-there's-a-third-person-thrown-in-for-conflict situations that you see more often. But Bertie? It's fine if you're confused and not ready for a serious relationship, but honestly, stop toying around and just choose one the guys. Or neither one. Or work out a menage a trois. I don't care.

Finally, there's also a The Night Circus-type problem where the writing is absolutely gorgeous and lyrical and dreamy, but half the time it seems like stuff happens for no reason other than the fact that it seems cool. Like, I can go through the book and pick out events and only about half of them actually advanced the plot or character development.
Profile Image for ephrielle.
393 reviews42 followers
November 15, 2011
Can you imagine if all your words had the power to become reality? Or should I say some rather messed up version of reality. It seems that Beatrice can imagine anything into being. Yep, that is right absolutely anything. Time and time again in this book she pulls the most random and impossible things out of her brain. To top that off she is dragging two rather odd men along for the ride.

I really don't like Beatrice. Whiny, trouble making, life destroying are all good descriptions for her. I wasn't at all surprised to find she was more often than not the cause of trouble for all involved in the story. She messed up her own parents lives as well as her two romantic interests. Speaking of romantic interests. I really was never fond of Ariel but the ending was just lame. Can you bow out one in a triangle and bring about the victor with any less decision on the part of the heroine. Pathetic. She never actually decides but then I suppose it is much like that in real life. Just because you feel yourself absolutely in love with some movie star doesn't mean they are in for the long haul with you.

The fairies were some of the better parts of the dialog since they could be counted on for some comedic relief. Other than that my favorite line was right at the end "Now yer stuck wi' me forever, an' perhaps even a bit longer than that." "'Beyond all date, even t' eternity.'" And part of that was from Shakespeare so go figure.

My opinion on the series is read the first but forget the others.
Profile Image for Sanaa.
411 reviews2,556 followers
February 23, 2015
[2 Stars] This final installment of the Theatre Illuminata trilogy just did not work for me. I gave the first book in the trilogy 4 stars and the second book in the trilogy 3.5 stars. I thought they were the definition of whimsical, theatrical, dreamy, and just so different. One thing I never liked about those books, however, was the romance. The romance was brought to the forefront in this final installment which is why it really just grated on my nerves. I felt like after all this time Bertie and the other main characters had little to no character development. The romance seemed far to melodramatic, and the love triangle wasn't done well and wasn't satisfying.

In the other two books I adored the writing and the world Mantchev has created, but in this book I found she added too many side characters at the last minute. She also just essentially tried to do too much in such a short period of time, and because of such I never really got any closure on the whole thing. I also found that some of the magical world building didn't make any sense, while in other books it was definitely fanciful but also believable. All in all this was a frustrating conclusion, and I could have very much just read the first two books and been happy leaving it at that. If you want to read something whimsical, fanciful, and just a little bit different I would recommend the first book and perhaps even the second one, but this final installment I would just skip.

Profile Image for April.
7 reviews
September 14, 2011
Although I am sad the trilogy has come to an end, I absolutely loved this book! As I neared the end, I wanted to stop and put it down so I did not have to finish it, because I wasn't sure if there would be more in the future. I did not want the characters' adventure to be over. Although I was surprised to see a certain character go, the whole thing was well written. I love the way Lisa Mantchev writes. I see hints of Shakespeare everywhere. The talk of cupcakes and sweets, made me crave for one every time.

Bertie (Beatrice Shakespeare Smith) is a favorite main character of mine. She reminds me of me in some ways-- with the crazy hair color dying and tempers here and there. I could connect with her along the way-- how she felt, and so on. If I was Bertie, I'd definitely have a hard time choosing between Nate, the handsome pirate from The Little Mermaid, and Ariel, the air sprite from The Tempest. (I have a thing for long haired characters-- white/silver hair is a bonus ;) )

If a reader is not sure whether or not to read this-- I RECOMMEND IT! Read the entire trilogy!!! You will not regret it. Lisa Mantchev is an excellent author. The whole thing is full of magic and surprises and suspense and EVERYTHING.

I'd stay and go on and on, but I wouldn't want to spoil anything! :)

So I'm off to reread starting from the first book- Eyes Like Stars!
38 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2012
Upon further reflection, and the opportunity to use my laptop and not my iPod's touch screen, I decided to retype my review. I want to be a little bit more fair to this book, and this series, as well as consider a few other factors. Overall, I don't feel that my star rating changes, though. I will warn readers, further on in this review are spoilers; if you haven't read the end, you may not want to read my thoughts on what went wrong with this book and series.

What works with So Silver Bright? For one, the brave, experimental nature of the books. Not everyone is going to like the writing style in this book series, which challenges younger readers with heavier language and a denser, almost poetic style. It makes sense to me, though, to try something brave and new when reworking old characters from classic, masterful literature to try to go above and beyond simpler prose. Whether or not a person feels it works is probably purely subjective, but the effort should be appreciated, I feel. Characterization and humor with the minor characters/supporting cast remains entertaining; as always, I waited with baited breath to be entertained by Peasblossom and her cohorts, and Ariel remained one of my favorite characters until the bitter end (which was quite bitter, for me, and invoked some tears). And there is no doubt, I think, that Mantchev has a great deal of creativity; she has, sometimes in spite of herself, written a very interesting story that usually bounces from book to book and event to event at a pace that keeps the reader interested, and she's not afraid to introduce new elements and characters to the story to keep the story going. However, in this positive there is also a downside, in that I (and a few other readers, I noted) felt like perhaps she was trying to push too much into this one novel; certain plot elements would probably have been served better if this book had been allowed to be split into two and certain situations and characters further developed. Nor is Mantchev afraid to take the plunge and create a less-than-happy ending, which is a little unusual for childrens' books these days, but probably shouldn't be something a reader should feel the need to comment on... writers should never be afraid "to go there" if the work of literature calls for it. And the story-within-a-story elements achieve an almost Inception level of convolution by the completion of the book.

What doesn't work? Sadly, I feel like this list is a lot longer to me. Aside from this book being so jam-packed, it introduces a ton of new characters that we are barely introduced to before they go away. Again, it would probably have been better if the book was split in two. But this is actually a minor offense to me compared to the bigger ones--which I'll get to in a moment, but first, the smaller ones. Although Mantchev really does a good job generally with giving differrent characters distinct ways of talking/diction/vernacular, I have always felt like Nate's was over-the-top and cheesy to the point of obnoxiousness. (But perhaps this is bias, since I find Nate's character to be exceptionally bland and uninteresting.) I was left feeling very, very confused by certain powers exhibited by/given to Bertie in this book. The earth and words made sense, but since when has she tried to control the sea or fire? To me, this made no sense, and it really threatened to make a character who is already extremely Sue-ish in appearance and behavior even more so.

Which leads me to my first big beef with the third book, and the trilogy in general: Bertie's character (and to a lesser extent, the other main characters). In particular, I don't feel like Bertie ever actually develops as a character, and to some extent, Ariel and Nate also suffer from the same plateau. If you've read all three books, then you might see the connection too: Bertie and Ariel and even Nate make, more or less, the same mistakes and choices with each other in this third book that they've made previously. Bertie plays around, dithering endlessly with Nate and Ariel and causing unnecessary rivalry and strife between the two boys, just like the first book, until Ariel more or less has no reason to stay. I don't think it's any coincidence the choice he makes in the end, when Bertie's made it pretty clear that, unless forced, she will not make a choice. (And can it really be called a "choice" if the option is removed?) Bertie is FOREVER making the mistake of misusing her words and making careless, hasty decisions--she doesn't ever learn from her mistakes, which is why much of the unhappiness at the ending comes to pass. Bertie doesn't learn from her mistakes, which makes her a frustrating and flat character for me. It is arguable that all of the other characters that Bertie is acting upon and who are less important--Ariel, the Scrimshander, Sedna, and Ophelia namely--develop to a much greater extent than she.

The other big problem I have with this story is how some of the "love" story is being marketed. I will admit, I cried when I first read the very ending of this book, because it just seemed heart-breakingly sad that I was losing one of my favorite characters. However, when I went back and reread it the second and third time, I realized it wasn't so much that I was sad, but I was angry. Why? The relationship between Bertie and Ariel, particularly at the end, is packaged up to sound like it's something epic and beautiful. Look how she gives him his freedom, even though it's going to hurt her. Well, first of all, it must not have hurt her all that much, since there's clear indication that she and Nate are going to try to make the best of things. But second, this book is using that whole "if you love something, you've got to let it go" sentiment... which I actually agree with and think is beautiful. However, this book seems to have forgotten the rest of the saying: "if it comes back to you, it's yours--if it doesn't, it never was." Think about that for a moment; Ariel tells Bertie before he leaves the last time that she should always remember that he loved her. I think, perhaps, the first and second times, he did. But by the third time, I think something has changed, he doesn't. And that's not true love. But I would also challenge the idea of how much Bertie actually loves Ariel, at least, in the sense of "passion" or the way Ariel wanted to be loved. I mean, yes, she gives him his freedom. But it's very clear to me from Bertie's different reactions in earlier portions of the book (like when Ariel asks her to say that she loves him) that Bertie's love is more like the desire for "friends with benefits." She finds Ariel sexually attractive, but I don't think there's anything she actually loves about him as a real partner, and this feeling is really reinforced to me in the different ways she responds to Nate (she initiates kisses and thinks about how delicious he is, as opposed to her extreme reluctance to even tell Ariel that she loves him). If anything, Ariel is some "thing" to her that she wants to keep around because it suits her. So when she gives him what he decides he wants and is crying, seemingly, over her passionate love for him--I feel it's very dis-genuine, and the idea that it's some kind of true, passionate love that lets her set him free... frankly, I just don't buy it.

In fact, some of the melodrama at the ending was entirely unnecessary. The theater being caught in a fire and the Stage Manager dying? Okay. Meanwhile, the re-addition immediately of a "new" Ariel, who happens to be a girl this time (despite the fact that, unless the story is going to suddenly paint Bertie in the play as bi, needs to be a boy) for the sake of the play makes his departure feel cheapened somehow, not to mention cruel. Also, adding in the bit about how Ariel thought that was his and Bertie's potential baby she gave up? Exceptionally, unnecessarily dramatic and cruel.

So, all in all, this was an extremely frustrating read for me. I particularly did not enjoy the ending. Fans of Nate may be pleased, if they really hated Ariel, but I think anyone who enjoyed his character even remotely will find the ending to be bitter. And anyone who's actually paying attention to whether or not Bertie succeeds as a developing character is probably going to come away feeling disappointed.
Profile Image for Khalida .
56 reviews2 followers
July 9, 2021
I love this book. I love the trilogy. I wish the author would write more YA or even try her hand at general adult fiction. The theatre illuminata series is an amazing read about growing up. Choosing your path in life and facing all the bumps and winds of the road.



When Ariel told her that the dream-child Bertie traded away had his silver hair, it was mournful to see him realize that his destiny was a destiny without her. I dwelled on this and, I believe, that moment was painted with all the pain and recognition of something beautiful, something beloved, lost forever.

Bertie releasing Ariel to the winds, undoing from him the shackles that bind him to a human body, is an incredibly mature example of letting go of people we love, especially when it hurts them to stay by our sides. We can't be child-like in those moments, clinging to their souls as if they were toys to be picked up and tossed away.

Freedom is a blessing beyond words. To free a person whose heart enslaves them, I can not imagine a purer depiction of true love. No one can tell me Bertie didn't truly love Ariel. She loved him enough to free him, to give him what he's dreamt of since he was a boy. So, that he could run with that one-in-a-thousand wind. Even though that meant saying goodbye to everything about him that enraptured her as a child and as a young woman. From his silver hair to the lure of his voice. From his fairytale beauty to the scar on his palm that bound him to her.

It is very difficult to say goodbye to a person whose beauty echoes like the curse of a sorrowful forever. But love, without humanity, is torturous. Bertie gave an inhuman boy the mercy of her humanity, and so he became the wind he was born of, brushing past her in the moments their journeys cross paths for years to come.


Nate is also special to me, but Bertie's love for Ariel tore me both ways. I'm grateful she ended up with Nate, because he proved himself to be a better partner for her. Loyal. Protective. Both a lover and a best friend. We all knew Nate was right for Bertie, but I'm not going to write this like I didn't cry when Ariel said goodbye. Yet, Nate was the reason I cried at the end of the book with a sincere smile on my face because he promised her a forever that he could keep. That wouldn't break him to keep. A love with free will and the choice to stay for as long as wanted. And he wanted 'forever' and 'perhaps even a bit longer than that. Beyond all date, even t' eternity'.


I'm so proud of her growth. It's not easy to transition from girl to woman. But she did it and it was messy, sometimes, painful, others, but let's not forget all the smiles, laughter, and friends, near and far, that we met with her along the way.
Profile Image for Ashley.
199 reviews149 followers
October 6, 2011
So Silver Bright is the thrilling and heart-breaking ending to the Theatre Illumiata trilogy. It takes all the action, romance, suffering, and adventures that Bertie and Company have gone through in the two previous books, and wraps everything up. I'm in mourning right now, for several reasons, the most prominent being that So Silver Bright is the last foray into Bertie's world that we'll ever get. And, oh, did I love her world. But, I can't be too sad, because this was the perfect ending to the series. After some deliberation, I realized that no matter how it pained me, it had to end that way.

There is no lack of action in So Silver Bright, and it will keep you flipping the pages. Bertie is on the run from the Sea Goddess Sedna's wrath, and it seems like she's being pulled in every which way--she loves Nate, she loves Ariel, she must find her father, perform for the Queen, save the Theater and her mother... How's a girl to breathe with all of that pressure weighing her down? But Bertie, the spunky and fiery heroine who won't stop for anything, finds a way. It was almost amazing to read about how she pulled herself out of any sticky situation, and how she used her magic to her advantage.

You know usually, whenever there's a love triangle, it always makes me dislike the main character a bit for being so selfish. I mean, two guys? As if one isn't enough? But I didn't dislike Bertie one bit for it. I feel like she was so equally torn in two for the both of them that it wasn't even a choice of loving either of them. She just did. So I accepted it, even if I was partial to a handsome young air elemental myself. *ahem*

This series as a whole is just positively magical. What I mean by that is not just the story has to do with magic, but everything about it IS magic. The way Lisa Mantchev writes, her words flowing beautifully, waxing Shakespearian at times, and other times, something else entirely--something only Bertie. Every single character has a spirit and life to them, something that makes them completely unique. And even the world itself is a conglomeration between a fantasy land and modern day, a sort of crossroads where they both meet.

Needless to say, I loved So Silver Bright, and the entire Theater Illuminata series. Heartbreaking, but still wonderful. If you're looking for a fantastic, beautiful read, go pick up Eyes Like Stars, and embark on your journey with Bertie. :) 5 out of 5 stars.
2 reviews
December 1, 2016
I hadn't had the time to read this book until recently, and I couldn't finish it. I'm upset because the first book I really adored and found very unique, second one kinda just felt like a bridge for the third to me which was okay. There were some things I loved and others I didn't about the second, but I assumed the third would give me all the answers, satisfaction etcs. that I really looked for in this book. Nothing, I didn't get any of those. I don't know what happened but something terrible did. While I still love the writing style, I'm noticing too many tropes are being repeated (how many times food just comes up and interrupts the story, how many times the two love interests bloody arms and or chest are mentioned like there's no substance to them anymore other than them being eye candy to Bertie). Too many things are crammed into one chapter at a time, so the pacing it thrown totally off. The whole universe revolves around Bertie and to be honest it pissed me off. She bragged on about how much trouble she could get in, and yet no consequences to her actions ever really face her! She'll be in trouble one moment, then Ariel/Nate and/or her powers that make no sense will save her? Why doesn't she face consequences for what she does or doesn't do? Why am I being TOLD that she's this strong, badass character but I'm never given the chance to see it? Oh yes, I'm sure Bertie could kick some ass but she is constantly just being recused be Tweedle Dee or Dum and it's annoying. I loved the characters in the first book. I loved how Ariel wasn't massively a love interest and mainly was manipulating Bertie for his own personal gain, that made sense! But nooo, because he's the pretty mysterious boy he gets a pass at being apart of a love triangle because that's the only drama that REALLY matters. Also, where does this all take place? I'm never sure where the characters even are or how the world works? It's never explained! I could go on and on to be honest, but really I don't find it even worth my time.

As a trilogy, there was a very strong and enjoyable start with great characters, everything was shaken in book two, and book thing just crashed and burned. Ironic that Bertie's Avatar Roku powers couldn't stop that.
Profile Image for Kayleigh.
258 reviews37 followers
March 8, 2012
I'll admit I'm biased here--it's no secret that love triangles are one of my least favorite plot devices--but I felt this was the weakest of the series.
For starters, Bertie is almost unrecognizable. I don't know what happened to the strong, independent (albeit a little selfish) girl who sought her own way in the world and would be "put upon by no one", but she's gone. In her place is an insipid, passive-aggressive coward who seeks quick fixes to all her problems rather than work to earn the happy ending she so desperately wants.
Then there was the so-called romantic conflict. My dislike of most love triangles stems from the fact that in my experience they're usually unnecessary--we know who the hero or heroine is going to end up with; the second love interest exists merely to generate conflict. I don't like to waste my time reading a book if the conflict feels forced and I can predict the outcome, so love triangles of this sort annoy me.
Unfortunately, this is one of those love triangles. I felt like Bertie had already made her decision within the first chapter or two but was too much of a wuss to come out and say it, so instead she decided to torture herself--and me--for over 300 pages by alternately being sad that Ariel kept leaving (and blaming him for "deserting" her, even though she was the one who told him to leave in the first place, then made no effort to find him afterwards) and contemplating ripping Nate's clothes off. After finishing Perchance to Dream, I'd been hoping Mantchev would work outside the box in the final installment of her unusual story, so I was disappointed when she jumped right into said box and padlocked it behind her.

All that aside, I had serious problems with the plotting and pacing of So Silver Bright. The entire book felt jumbled, crowded, and rushed, as if Mantchev suddenly realized she would have to tie up all her loose ends immediately if she wanted to keep this series a trilogy. Both character development and story suffered as a result.
Profile Image for Perenelle.
70 reviews
May 27, 2013
Okay, let's get RIGHT down to business.

I really don't know how Lisa Mantchev pulled it off. Really. This is so amazing, I cried at that part where--nevermind. Not going to think about it. NOT GOING TO LET THE TEARS FALL AGAIN.

Let me tell you the faults in this book.
1. Way too fast at some parts, got me confused, but like I said before, maybe it's because I'm not thinking properly??



3. This Varvara, if she makes Bertie feel longing, then I really don't like her. Luckily, nothing too bad happens. 'Nough said.

and lastly, 4. The tears. And the stars. This makes me too teary and sad for my liking. And only a certain number of books have made me cry.

Why? Why do these YA authors just LOVE to ruin one's OTPs???

Why? Why did you have to write him out of the story???

Dem feels, never going to stop crying T.T

But the good things? I think this is my favourite book in the series. I mean, Ophelia remembers, the Scrimshander is with them, Sedna's gone. But wait. That's not all. Peaseblossom's alive!

And now, going back to the bad things?



That's all I am going to be able to say now: Whyy??

You know, I wish I could be an author, just so I can make my fans scream: WHY?? every time something big happens :3

But seriously. WHY?!?!?!
Profile Image for Kate (VerbVixen).
363 reviews
May 3, 2011
So Silver Bright (Eyes Like Stars Book 3)- Lisa Mantchev

Now I know, you’re all itching for some juicy tidbits as to what happens in this book. I will not give them to you, so stop the begging. You must read them for yourself. They must be experienced; you must revel and rage as I did reading them. I will say this though: it was not until the ending that I realized how I had pinned my hopes on our heroine and a leading man until I found those hopes dashed. At the same time, the end fulfills my definition of love (to will and to work for the good of another) to such perfection that you cannot possibly be angry, only a bit bereft like Beatrice herself.

To be quite honest, I have nothing but praise, delight, and awe for Lisa Mantchev who with Eyes Like Stars and Perchance to Dream enchanted me as though she was Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Over the course of the series, Mantchev does what the Shakespeare himself could not; her glittering golden characters express the full range of human emotion within the arc of a single story (or three if we count each book separately). Either way, it is a feat to behold. The engaging plot, which is at times hilarious and others heartbreaking, is highlighted by the exceptional quality of the writing. Allusions to Shakespeare and other notable authors hide in plain sight within the text making this not only an enjoyable read but a smart one. Finding these allusions amongst Mantchev’s own scintillating prose became a puzzle to be conquered, a self-test for a literati such as myself. I delighted in every second of it.

My only fault with the series is this: that it could not go on infinitely with book after captivating book.

So Silver Bright is out in stores September 13th. Pre-order your copy here.

Overall: A+

ARC provided free by Feiwel and Friends

Profile Image for Sarah Insomnia.
231 reviews
January 4, 2012
I've been on again, off again with this series. It was sweet, and perky and whimsical, and my regret is that I'm not sure I was able to enjoy it to its fullest.
The whimsical characters and fairy-tale descriptions in this story are all something to be revered. It's not everyday someone can take characters from literature that are all known and loved and make them perfectly their own, without ruining them or disappointing the audience. I was thoroughly impressed by how true they all stayed throughout this series.
Once again, I often found myself doing a double take on the whimsy stylistics of the writing, sometimes feeling a bit lost and wondering what was meant to be metaphor and what was not. Perhaps that just speaks to my competence as a reader, but I found I read this book the same way that I dream- just following, letting it flow, not questioning jerky transitions and things that just don't make sense and are as such attributed to magic. If that is, in fact, how the story is meant to read, then maybe I haven't missed a thing!

I nearly gave this book 3 stars, but quickly realized that it deserves better than that, for the originality of the idea and the beautiful way it came together if nothing else. It even very nearly brought me to tears at the end, when I found my favourite character saying goodbye.

If I didn't enjoy this series as much as I should, then it surely no one's fault but my own.
Profile Image for Lo.
171 reviews57 followers
September 10, 2012
This book picks up right where the second book of the Théâtre Illuminata series, Perchance to Dream, ended, with Bertie and friends just managing to escape death from the Sea Goddess Sedna.

Once again, the love triangle is in full swing. As it was revealed in the last book, Bertie's love for Ariel and Nate is exactly the same, which caused steamy moments with both men. I found this particularly annoying, even when she was with the guy I liked better. I don't think it is possible to be in love with both men the exact same amount, and I don't understand what is so special about Bertie that drives both guys wild. She is just a wordsmith with sarcasm and looks.

Bertie's character was so weak and helpless, the typical "damsel in distress." She was the Mistress of Revels, the Queen of Trees, and a fantastic wordsmith, but she always needed rescuing from a "strong man" in the end.

Though Mantchev's descriptive writing was very artistic, sometimes it was just too much and bored the reader. I found myself skimming important parts of the book and having to go back and force myself to reread it to take in everything.

Profile Image for Mel.
392 reviews35 followers
December 16, 2011
A thoroughly satisfying conclusion to a most imaginative trilogy. If nothing else, Bertie has taught us to remain steadfast in our beliefs and that one must never underestimate the power of words.

A great element of this series is the humor and the 4 faeries do not disappoint. They have so many funny quotes and really, I do wish I have the four of them as my best friends. Action-packed this book most certainly is, it's very fast paced and surprisingly, I loved every moment of it; not a single scene I disliked.

I loved how everything came full circle at the end of the trilogy and how Bertie fully discovers her powers and what she truly is capable of. The ending is a, I feel, happy ending, but mostly because I knew it was going to happen this way.

Overall, a most amazing trilogy and I look forward to reading more of Lisa Mantchev's work! :)
Profile Image for K.
358 reviews7 followers
October 24, 2011
I wasn’t capital I invested, but I liked this conclusion.

Bertie managed to rescue Nate from the Sea Goddess with Ariel’s help. Now all that’s left to do is get her father, the Scrimshander, back to the Théâtre and her mother, Ophelia. Beatrice Shakespeare Smith and Company (Bertie, Ariel, Nate, the fairies, and the sneak-thief) are waylaid when the Queen extends an invitation to perform at her birthday celebrations and the chance to win a wish-come-true. Bertie’s most sincere wish is for her family so before she can make it back home, she sets out for the Distant Castle hoping an idea for a performance will come to her before they take the stage.

I’d forgotten most of the two books leading up to this, pretty much only retaining the identities of the main characters. I think that might’ve hampered my enjoyment this time around. The scene changes are as confusing as ever, but the scenes themselves are still beautiful distraction enough so that it didn’t matter. All of the heart of this book comes in the conclusion, when Bertie gets them all back to the Théâtre, but too much of the plot is taken up trying to get there. Still, the ending was hopeful and joyous and heartbreaking and sweet. It was a fun ride.
Profile Image for Miss Clark.
2,531 reviews198 followers
October 26, 2012
2.5 stars

I am a playwright, a teller of tales whose words become reality.
I have flown and fallen, and I have swum deep and drowned, but there should be more to love than "I survived it."
~ Bertie

As per the previous two installments, Mantchev has a lovely style, some great imagery and language, fun and creative casts and sets, but it all lacks a certain internal logic and grounded realism. Too airy. Too insubstantial. All a dream and in no way can I pin it down. So many little things unexplained. Too many individuals who show up and have no story, no motivations. Things change as easily as sets being rolled off stage in time for the next scene, but that does not translate so well to a story.

I could not have cared less about who Bertie ended up with as I thought both Ariel and Nate were controlling, possessive and idiots. I would preferred Bertie learn who she was a bit more.

Content advisory: references to sex and contraception; kissing, etc. You have been forewarned.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for J.M. Stetson.
73 reviews3 followers
December 2, 2012
It's been a while since I've read this one, but the ending still makes me burn with annoyance.

So while everything gets resolved, there's the fact of the love triangle. However, it's solved by the CHEAPEST WAY YOU CAN GET. She has to default to one guy because the other finds his "destiny" elsewhere.

A bit more on this: Through-out this entire book she's so heavily leaning towards one guy it's not even funny. In fact, its ridiculous. To the point where (even though he wasn't my favorite) I was like "Oh, she's so with him. I guess he's okay." Blah blah blah. But no, he decideds something is more important than her and she defaults to the other guy. SERIOUSLY?!

However, I still love this series (even for the crappy ending) because it's entertaing as all ever. Seriously, read them.
24 reviews
April 30, 2013
Lisa Mantchev does it again. The third, and sadly final, book in the trilogy was equally as entertaining as its predecessors. A journey come to a close, a couple surprising twists and an ending that isnt quite what I expected have left me completely satisfied with this series and slightly empty at the realization that it's over. I want more... more Nate, more Ariel, more Bertie and definitely more of my favourite four fairies. I strongly suggest this series to anyone that enjoys a little magic in their life.
Profile Image for Intisar Khanani.
Author 16 books2,204 followers
November 16, 2014
Mantchev's writing is, as always, superb. I will admit to a little frustration with pacing towards the beginning, so if anyone else feels that way, stick with this story! The story straightens out and the ending delivers. My only real sorrow is that I have always found Nate's character a little -- lackluster? I'm not sure, but he never appealed to me the way Ariel's did, and that continued through this story. :( But still a great read.
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