Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Audiobook Review: Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Posted by Simcha 5:06 PM, under | 3 comments

Bertie has lived at the Théâtre Illuminata for as long as she can remember and knows very little about the mysterious circumstances which brought her there. But that doesn't stop her from speculating about her past and creating imaginative stories about her mother and the events that led her to be left at the theatre.

Bertie has enjoyed a happy childhood at the Théâtre Illuminata, running wild and causing mischief with the her fairy friends from
A Midsummer Night's Dream. There is also her friend Nate, a handsome pirate from The Little Mermaid, who Bertie has begun thinking about in more than just a friendly sort of way.

But when one of Bertie's pranks goes awry she is set to lose everyone and everything she has ever known. In order to stay at the theatre Bertie must prove that she is capable of behaving herself and contributing to the theatre in a significant way.

While most of the theatre players are aghast at the idea of Bertie's banishment the seductive spirit, Ariel, sees this as his opportunity to finally become free. He longs to be released from his servitude in the Tempest and to release all the other actors from their bonds to their respective plays. Ariel believes that Bertie is his key to freedom and he will not hesitate to use her in any way he can if it will help him achieve his goals.

I listened to the full cast audio production of
Eyes Like Stars which was wonderfully fun and entertaining. I felt like I was watching the story being performed in front of me. Cynthia Bishop does a fantastic job narrating and each of the other characters were also read very well.

While I really enjoyed listening to
Eyes Like Stars I'm having trouble determining if I would have enjoyed the story as much if I had read it. The main character, Bertie, is immature and self-absorbed and I can't say I really cared for her that much. Most of the disasters that take place in the book are caused by her thoughtless behavior and when it comes time to repair the damage, Bertie's main thoughts are about how she can best save herself. She even gets applauded for saving a certain situation even though she was the one that caused it in the first place, and for which she shows no remorse.

I was also disappointed in Bertie's complete lack of sympathy for Ariel's pain and was surprised that the book didn't show how any of the other players felt about their entrapment in the theatre. Ariel seems to be alone in his desire for escape and I think some depth could have been added to the story by exploring this idea a bit further.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for Bertie I did really liked several of the side characters, such as Bertie's fairy companions and Nate and I think I might have liked Ariel as well except that he was read in a strange wobbly kind of way that turned me off of him, through no fault of his own.

Eyes Like Stars had a younger feel to it than I had expected from the reviews that I read, and at times I felt like I was watching one of those teen Disney shows featuring an overly dramatic, perky teenage girl played by Hannah Montana or Demi Lovator. But again, this is just the impression that I have from listening to the book and I might have come away with a completely different feel for the book if I had read it.

The reviews that I read of
Eyes Like Stars also gave me the sense that this a book which is particularly enjoyed by those familiar with the theatre and theatre terminology.
It's been years since I studied Shakespeare or any other plays and I've never had much experience with the theatre and so I'm sure that I didn't have as much of an appreciation for the book as those who did get all of the theatre and literary references.

If you are looking for a fun audiobook to listen to than I would certainly recommend the
Eyes Like Stars full cast production, especially if you enjoy those Disney teen TV shows (I will admit here to watching the occasional episode of Wizards of Waverly Place). As for reading the book in paper form, I think Eyes Like Stars will mostly appeal to younger teens as well as to readers with a love for the theatre.

I'm including here a short video that I found, and thought was interesting, of the actual production of this audio book. You can hear what the audio book sounds like as well as hear the narrators talk a bit about what's involved in the creation of an audiobook.







3 comments:

I've read this one & I enjoyed it! I remember that I didn't liked Ariel, but I liked Nate and some of the side characters. Still haven't read the sequel... Great review. I still haven't tried listening to audiobooks. :)

I may have watched that show too ;)
Book or audio, hm, narrators often annoy me, and it takes so long to listen so book it is

Aleksandra: Although Nate was kind of a jerk I also felt bad for him and really didn't understand and Bertie could feel so little sympathy for him.

Blodeuedd: I couldn't just listen to an audio book without doing anything else at the same, like when reading a book. But audio books are wonderful entertainment for when I'm doing something born or just something that doesn't require thought. And most the narrators I've listened to are really quite good. I really think you should give audio books a shot, perhaps while you do some chores.

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