Monday 14 June 2010

Review - Perchance to Dream / Lisa Mantchev

The stuff that dreams are made on.

Act Two, Scene One

Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.


But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between—

Nate: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.

Ariel: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.

When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. She and her fairy sidekicks embark on a journey aboard the Thèâtre’s caravan, using Bertie’s word magic to guide them. Along the way, they collect a sneak-thief, who has in his possession something most valuable, and meet The Mysterious Stranger, Bertie’s father—and the creator of the scrimshaw medallion. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair? Goodreads

Review - Perchance to Dream is the ultimate road movie in book form. It moves with the speed of light and has enough daring and panache to outshine Liberace on speed. Seriously, you find yourself stumbling to keep up, letting information sweep over you, new characters permeate and relationships clarify.

Mantchev has upped her game in terms of expectations of the audience. This isn't for the faint of heart! Staying abreast of the developments requires focus and further growing their vocabularies. PTD is so wonderfully gregarious that I found myself letting the worlds tumble around in my mind as I brainstormed strategies to use them in everyday life. She has a wonderful handle of alliteration and using (what some may consider) dated language to create a delightful mishmash of the fantastical. Pure and simple, it is fun.

Ariel gets some more face time as does Bertie's origin. Both are most welcome into the Theatre Illuminata series but the latter in particular needs to percolate some more. It seems that this particular storyline will get some much needed time in the third title which will do my heart wonders. Bertie has freedom from the Theatre and it is using it to good effect. Her travels allow the spotlight to shine more fully on herself and those around her. She's full of gumption, class and passion and it is a joy to see this world through her eyes. Despite questions of her parentage and identity she is very much her own person - an ideal protagonist in many ways.

Despite the pathos that serves as a needed undercurrent, it is the humour that propels me. Mantchev has a wicked and absurd sense of humour, most readily seen in her beloved faeries. The heat between Ariel and Bertie continues here but we also see the ties that bind her to Nate. Triangles are often tiresome as there really is no question who the author has picked for the protagonist - here the author could go either way legitimately. Both men have equal bearing on Bertie but I do love my men diabolical.

Mantchev is a thoroughly unique author with a definite perspective cushioned by snark, sass and sensuality. There isn't anything out in the YA world like this but that's not the reason to read PTD. It is a rollicking good read with relatable and real characters in a far and away world.

Anyone else waiting to see how this all ends and how much it will blow your mind?

Published: May 25, 2010
Format: ARC, 384 pages
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: publisher
Origin: USA


Anonymous said...

I love these books! I am so excited to see that someone else does too! I think this is one of the first books when I genuinely am not sure how it is going to end, but I know it will be great :)

Steph Su said...

You have no idea how much your review made me squee. Glad you thought of it as highly as I did! And I'm with you in saying that I can't wait for Book 3. Now the only question left is... which team are you on?

Anonymous said...

What fun! I'm intrigued and have added the first book in the series to my reading list. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!