Perchance to Dream: Theatre Illuminata #2by Lisa Mantchev
From the critically acclaimed author of Eyes Like Stars
We are such stuff as 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/p>/u>/p>/p>/i>… See more details below
From the critically acclaimed author of Eyes Like Stars
We are such stuff as 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.
Enter BERTIE AND COMPANY
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?
Once again, LISA MANTCHEV has spun a tale like no other—full of romance, magic, adventure, and fairies, too—that readers won't want to put down, even after the curtain has closed.
Read an Excerpt
Perchance to Dream
By Lisa Mantchev
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2010 Lisa Mantchev
All rights reserved.
Beginning in the Middle; Starting Thence Away
It is a truth universally acknowledged," Mustardseed said, flying in lazy loops like an intoxicated bumblebee, "that a fairy in possession of a good appetite must be in want of pie."
"Yes, indeed," Cobweb said over the rattle of the caravan, "though I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, I found myself transformed in my bed into a gigantic pie."
"It was the best of pie, it was the worst of pie," was Moth's contribution as he hovered near the gently swaying lanterns.
In the following lull, the mechanical horses snorted tiny silver-scented clouds and the wagon wheels creaked like an old woman's stays. There was no way of knowing how much time had passed since they'd departed the Théâtre Illuminata. A thin sliver of a moon had risen, recalling the gleam of the Cheshire Cat's smile, while the hours had slipped by them as steadily as the sullen, secretive landscape. Exhausted to her toes, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith leaned against Ariel's tuxedo-clad shoulder, barely marking the continued whinging of the fairies. Drifting along the hemline of sleep, she heard a voice call to her, like the fading remnant of color at the edge of darkness.
Bertie jolted as though Mrs. Edith had jabbed her backside with a pin, knowing that it was only a cruel trick her mind played upon her but unable to stop her eyes from scanning the edges of the lanterns' light for Nate.
"We should have had a prologue," Peaseblossom fretted. "Not all this nattering about pie." She paused, but no one offered up any introductory words, so the fairy took a ponderous breath.
A gloaming peace this evening with it brings
In the countryside where we lay our scene.
Toad-ballad accompan'd, crickets sing,
and cupcake crumbs make fairy hands unclean.
An indignant Moth squeaked, "There were cupcakes?!"
Mustardseed, however, was most impressed. "You just pulled iambic pentameter out of your —"
(hastening to add)
Lights up: a caravan incredible.
Nature's moonlit mirror reflects these six:
Four fae, depriv'd of chocolate edibles;
Ariel, winds attending and transfix'd;
And the playwright, named for the Beatrice fair,
Hair purpl'd where it had been Cobalt Flame,
Her many-hued hopes tinged with sad despair
O'er the stolen pirate she would reclaim —
"THAT," Bertie announced loudly, before the fairy could discourse further upon their Sea Goddess–kidnapped comrade, "will be enough of that, thank you kindly."
Under the pretense of driving, Ariel kept his gaze on the horses. Like a maladjusted shopping trolley, they had a tendency to veer slightly to the left toward the open field. On the right, unidentifiable but towering trees kept their own counsel, secrets bark-wrapped and leaf-shuttered.
"This is the first moment we've had alone since I returned from your delivery errand." Ariel's voice coaxed tendrils of enchanted quicksilver from the air.
With one ear trained upon the renewed demands for pie, Bertie tried to brush off his words as easily as she would a wayward firefly. "We are no more alone than Titania was in her bower."
And I refuse to act the part of the ass.
The moon passed behind a cloud, and the swinging lanterns on the Mistress of Revels's caravan flickered; in the ensuing darkness, the world spread out before Bertie in every direction at once. Accustomed as she was to only being able to go as far as the theater's walls, the limitless possibilities should have terrified her.
Instead, she held out her hands in welcome. Their exit page, torn from The Complete Works of the Stage, crinkled inside her bodice, just over her thudding heart.
"Perhaps I can appeal, then, to the romantic nature of our situation." Without moving, everything about Ariel reached for her. "The open road, the veil of night drawn over the world, us living as vagabonds."
Usually Peaseblossom played the part of Bertie's tiny little conscience, but this time, she issued the requisite Dire Warning to herself:
Don't think about how close he is, or the fact that all you'd have to do to kiss him is tilt your head. Think of Nate. ...
"If you're done with whatever fierce internal argument is creasing your forehead —" Ariel's low laugh undid the knot she had tied on her resolve. A bit of his wind pushed her nearly into his lap, and their lips met.
Bertie's brain fogged over until the fairies' collective noises of disgust recalled her to her senses. Pulling away, she muttered, "Vagabonds don't wear crinolines."
"No doubt you would feel more at home in a pair of men's trousers." Every word was a caress. "Something with rips at the knees and a splash of paint across the seat."
"I will have you know that despite the layers in this skirt, I'm freezing and likely to catch my death of cold." She tried to look as though she might perish at any second.
"You're as sturdy as a pony and too stubborn to die of something as minor as a cold." Nevertheless, Ariel let her go long enough to shrug out of his jacket and drape it over her shoulders.
"A pony?" Bertie tried not to revel in either the gesture or the vestiges of warmth and failed miserably. Turning her nose against the ivory lining, she breathed in the scents of wind-ruffled water and moonlight on pearls. Never one to let an opportunity pass him by, Ariel devoted his attention to the cascade of disheveled black-and-purple curls that tumbled alongside her neck. Though Bertie did her best to ignore the gentle tickling, she couldn't help the resultant goose bumps. "Pay attention to the road, please. You're going to drive us into a ditch."
"I won't let that happen."
"Really?" Bertie wasn't thinking of his role as chauffeur when she added, "Not all of our history is good. Why should I trust you?"
"If anyone should hold a grudge, milady, it's me." The muscles in his throat clenched in protest. "When I swallow, I can still feel that damn iron circlet around my neck."
The chill of his winds seeped into Bertie's bones, and she fought the cold with hot temper. "Then I suggest you behave yourself."
"Misbehavior is part of my charm."
"Tearing nearly every page from The Book was hardly what I'd call charming —"
"I paid my debt to the theater, didn't I?" Catching her by the coat sleeve, Ariel pushed the fabric up to kiss her knuckles. "And though you freed me, I am verily still trapped in a prison, for what else is love?"
"Don't be ridiculous." Bertie flapped her hands until they were protected again.
"There is nothing wrong," he said, "with a little romance."
"Sure there is. Look where 'a little romance' got Ophelia." The discovery that waterlogged, oftentimes cryptic Ophelia of Hamlet fame was her mother still hovered on the surface of Bertie's skin, beads of moisture yet to sink in.
"You have to respect her nerve, do you not?"
"I do!" Moth said with a tilt of his little head. "The respect inside me is so big there's no room for my guts." He made horrible groaning noises and doubled over. "I respect her so much, I burst. Oh, help! I'm dying!"
The others looked at one another and dropped to their knees with rousing cries of "oh, my innards" and "my spleen!," which led to "my gizzard!" and "no, spleen was funnier."
"What about the man she ran away with?" Cobweb paused to ask.
"The Mysterious Stranger!" Mustardseed frowned and picked his nose, which made it difficult to tell if he was confounded by the matter at hand or the contents of his right nostril.
"As soon as we rescue Nate, we'll find my father and bring him back to Ophelia." But Bertie knew her promise would be difficult if not impossible to fulfill, with no clues to his identity and only the knowledge that he and Ophelia had run away to the seaside.
The sea, Bertie realized, the direction in which they'd already turned their noses to search for Nate.
But stage directions are better than happenstance.
"We need a script," she said without preamble.
"I beg your pardon?" The moment Ariel took his eyes off the road, the caravan hit a pothole.
Wincing at the jolt, Bertie pulled out their exit page.
"Be careful with that," Peaseblossom fretted.
"I am!" Bertie smoothed the softly glowing sheet from The Complete Works of the Stage. Back at the Théâtre, before tearing it free, she'd inscribed the page with
Following Her Stars: In Which Beatrice (& Company) Take Their Act on the Road
and paused, long enough for a blot of ink to appear before adding
Enter BERTIE, ARIEL, PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, and MUSTARDSEED.
Bertie splayed her fingers over the words and took a deep breath. "If I want to rescue Nate and find my father, I really will have to become the Mistress of Revels, especially the Teller of Tales bit of the job description." She turned to Ariel. "Do you have a pen?"
Catching sight of the page, every line of Ariel's body shifted, resettling into something distinctly uneasy. "Why, yes. I carry a lovely quill and inkpot in my trouser pocket."
"I'll take that as a no then."
With bit of arguing that topped off the lemon pie discussion with meringue, Peaseblossom turned to tug at Bertie's elaborate coiffure. "The Theater Manager's fountain pen, remember? You purloined it."
Reaching up, Bertie found that she had indeed tucked it into her curls.
"You can use blood for ink!" Cobweb suggested. "By the pricking of your thumbs and all that rubbish."
Bertie tapped the tip of the pen against the page. "Thankfully, there's still ink in it, and I won't have to open a vein."
"Pity," Moth said. "There's magic in blood."
Her hand sought out the scrimshaw medallion hanging about her neck. Thinking of its bone-magic, Bertie scowled. "I'd like to get away from using magic that requires body parts." She spread the paper across her jacket-clad knees.
Ariel leaned over, his breath tickling her ear. "What are you going to do?"
"I ... I'm not quite sure." She stared at the paper, willing it to whisper some hint as to what she should write.
"Aren't we going to stop for the night?" Cobweb wanted to know. "I fancy a nice campfire —"
"And a meal or three!" added Mustardseed.
Bertie shook her head. "Absolutely not! We have to keep going."
"In the dark?" Moth said, each word more incredulous than the last.
"In the cold?" Cobweb continued to climb the scale.
"Without supper?" Mustardseed tried valiantly to continue the ascent, but his little voice cracked on "supper" and so did the pane of glass in the caravan window.
"Nice going." Peaseblossom applied her knuckle to the back of his head.
"What do you mean, 'without supper?'" Bertie asked. "Isn't there any food in this thing?"
"Afraid not," Peaseblossom said, scuffing her little toe against the air. "I checked every cupboard and drawer when the boys were lighting the lamps."
Bertie suffered a swift pang of regret that she'd not properly appreciated the Green Room's continuous and bountiful offerings back at the theater. "I suppose we'll have to buy some tomorrow."
"Did you bring any money?" came the cheerful query from Ariel.
Mouth falling open, Bertie sputtered a bit. "I ... I ... didn't think about it. I guess I assumed the Theater Manager would ... er ... provide us with ways and means."
Peaseblossom was quick to point out, "But you're the Mistress —"
"I know I'm supposed to be the new Mistress of Revels!" Bertie interrupted her, feeling a myriad of fresh obligations piled about her, like invisible baggage atop the caravan. "But that doesn't mean I have pockets full of muffins!"
"With the title comes great responsibility," Moth said.
"The responsibility of meals at regular intervals!" Mustardseed added.
"We could sing for our suppers, I suppose," Peaseblossom ventured. "Come on, Bertie, let's hear your singing voice."
"Yes, Bertie," Ariel said. "A rousing chorus of 'What Will Become of You?' feels particularly appropriate at this juncture."
"You shut your mouth," Bertie told him. "No singing, no jazz flourishes, and especially no lifts. You keep your hands away from my backside."
He leaned back on one elbow, his laughter low and teasing. "Then cue the pirouetting angel food cakes."
Bertie heard the voice echo again.
"Not cake." Though the fairies immediately protested, Bertie barely heard them over the crackling in her ears. "I'm going to save Nate." Possibilities put down roots, each idea a bloom on an unexpected but welcome vine. "I'm such an idiot! All that time wasted having the Players say his line, hoping his page would be acted back into the book ... I never thought to write him back."
"You did have other things on your mind at the time." If Ariel was striving to sound nonchalant, he almost managed it. "You might try something small and manageable before attempting to drag the man out of the clutches of the Sea Goddess."
"Careful there, you almost sound concerned." Slanting a look at him, Bertie added, "Two seconds ago you didn't lodge a protest over the idea of dancing cake. In fact, you were the one to suggest it."
"I've changed my mind."
"I hate to side with Ariel," Peaseblossom said, her face a study in fretful agitation, "but if you write Nate back, what's to keep Sedna from following? You could put us a thousand leagues underwater in seconds."
Bertie shoved the unwelcome idea away before it could grasp her with tentacle-arms. "That won't happen."
"You don't know that," Ariel said.
"No more than I am certain of anything," she retorted as she penned the stage direction,
Enter NATE..CHAPTER 2
A Sudden and More Strange Return
A hushed moment passed, then a thousand leagues' worth of ghostwater rushed around them, tipping over the cart and horses. Currents of air and time cushioned the fall; Ariel and the fairies drifted free of the wreckage, trapped within a wraithlike riptide in which they appeared as though frozen.
Bertie alone was able to move, and so she scrambled to her feet. Twisting in a desperate circle, she spotted Nate standing in the road. The trouble was, she could see through him to the vague outline of the trees and waving tufts of grass.
Her fingers clenched the page and the pen as she moved toward him. "Nate?"
"Lass ..." When he reached for her, the touch of the pirate's translucent hand was no more than a kiss of salt on her skin.
Bertie peered up at him, simultaneously thrilled and perplexed. "It's like you're the Ghost of Hamlet's Father, come to haunt me."
"Ye can't blame me for that." A rueful laugh caused his form to waver. "Judgin' by how it felt, ye pulled th' soul from my body."
"I wrote 'enter Nate,' not 'rip him in two'!" The horror of what she had done settled into the back of Bertie's throat, choking her.
"How ...," He had to swallow before he could finish. "How long has it been? It feels like years have passed, like I was adrift on th' water in a shallow boat, lookin' up at th' stars."
"Only a few days —"
He put a finger to his lips as Time released the others, and everything that had been drifting like foam on the ocean exploded with movement and noise. The fairies circled her, all screams of dismay and tiny, grasping fingers. Nate's shade folded thickly muscled arms over his chest, expression inscrutable, as Ariel's cold hands whirled Bertie around.
"Are you all right?" When she didn't immediately answer, he shook her until her teeth clacked together. "Are you all right?!"
"Y-yes!" And it was true; she'd suffered no ill effects, other than a near heart attack caused by Nate's sudden and incomplete manifestation.
"What were you thinking?" The air elemental looked her over as though cataloguing her limbs. He was as angry as she'd ever heard him, perhaps even more so than when she'd placed the collar around his neck; then he'd been livid and broken, now he was furious and free, floating nearly a foot aboveground with his hair whipping about his face and shoulders.
But he had neither noticed Nate nor acknowledged him, and surely Ariel would have done so ...
If he could see him.
Excerpted from Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev. Copyright © 2010 Lisa Mantchev. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Firstly, many thanks to Lisa Mantchev and her publicist for sending me an ARC of this book. How I managed to put off reading Perchance to Dream for so long is beyond me! But I knew I would want to review it right away after reading it, so I made myself wait closer to the release date, which is next Tuesday, May 25th. Preorder your copies now, if you haven't already! The verdict? I loved it! And I loved it every bit as much as I loved Eyes Like Stars, which is not always the case for me and sequels. We do read a darker tale in this book, but there are still plenty of crazy antics from my favorite fairies out of Midsummer Night's Dream to add levity and visions of sweets and treats galore! Seriously, if you don't want to eat a cupcake or pie after reading this book, I would be shocked. I adored the premise of the story--that what Bertie wrote about came to life, and usually in the most unexpected ways--it really made for an enjoyable read. You never know what will happen next! The plot doesn't really take a darker turn until a good way into the book, but it is not so dark that you become bogged down--we simply see another facet of Mantchev's ability to weave an incredible story. Much of the story from Eyes Like Stars is resolved in this book, though there is certainly an opening for more many possibilities in the future. However, I did like the fact that I'm not totally hanging off the cliff after reading Perchance to Dream. :-) Mantchev's writing is just as enjoyable to read in this book--the words dance off the pages and paint a vivid picture right before your eyes. The dialogues are fantastic--particularly when they are devoted to the fairies and their quirky notions. Hands down, Peaseblossom, Moth, Cobweb and Mustardseed are some of the best sidekicks, EVER! Remember the name Henry... One of my favorite humorous asides in this book involves Henry. There is nothing like a book that makes me laugh out loud and re-read funny passages. And yet, as I already mentioned, this book isn't all fun and games--you really do go through a variety of emotions. I firmly believe if you enjoyed Eyes Like Stars you will enjoy Perchance to Dream just as much. There's no "sophomore slump" with this book.
I loved the first Theatre Illuminata book. Bertie is my kind of girl - smart, trouble-attracting, and she has a penchant for radical hair dye. In this charming sequel, she sets off to save Nate, kidnapped by the Sea Goddess Sedna. But Ariel goes with her, a constant temptation. Who does she love more? The action is even more fast-paced, and we meet some wonderful new characters. The fairies remain funny and Bertie's wit brings levity to the real danger the world outside the Theatre poses. The world-building expands in scale and scope, and Bertie's character develops well. The plot is tight and the structure, like the first, is nearly perfect in terms of raising stakes and informative reveals. The tension between characters needs to be highlighted. Mantchev does a wonderful job of showing the relationships between characters, especially Bertie and her boys, and also Bertie and the Mysterious Stranger. I was delighted with the weaving in of back story, including the events of the first book. A reader need not have picked up EYES LIKE STARS to enjoy PERCHANCE, but I recommend one do so anyway!
It is a little difficult to understand what or where the characters are and the setting sometimes, but over all is a great and interesting plot. Cant wait to read the third!
Who does she choose? Im dying here! I dont care if u spoil it someone just tell me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Flaws with the book: There are more scene changes than there were in 9 to 5: The Musical (which had a scene change roughly every seven minutes) and the characters dropped in rather abruptly, with a scene or two that didn't seem to fit. Why the flaws don't matter: Mantchev is the YA Shakespeare - she writes lyrically and with such memorable characters that if the plot had been a hunt for a telephone book, I would have read it. Seriously. Bertie, the fairies, Ash, Nate, Sedna, all of the characters - they're so very original, despite the fact that many stem from characters already created. They're just fun to read about and connect too - I would read their escapades no matter what the plot was. The plot? It's fast paced, yes, with sometimes rather abrupt scene changes, but it's followable, enjoyable, and comes together very well. I'm excited to see how the next - and last *sniff* - book in the trilogy plays out. (I would rather like this to be like the Bloody Jack series - Bertie would just keep going and going and going and being awesome.) And the BOYS. In Eyes Like Stars, Ariel lurred me in and Nate caught my eye. Here, the focus is on Ariel - and yet, somehow, the second Nate stepped back into the picture, it became hard to focus on which boy to like better! They're both so amazing and different and sexy. I know which character I want in every other book - Team Gale in The Hunger Games, Team Puck in The Iron King - and yet, when it comes to these two boys, I can't choose. And I understand why Bertie can't, either. Another reason Lisa Mantchev is such an amazing author. She makes a love triangle like this work - and that's hard to do.
This book was rather disappointing. I had read the first one with high hopes for this one. I found muself lost in large words, confusing scenes and cheracters that were left at a "blonde hair, peering eyes" then discontinued OR ones that had an overload of detail. I found the book extremely hard to finish, or even read at all. The only reason I intertained reading this book was because of the first one. I have never given this bad of a report on any book at all, but I have also never read this bad of a book before. I really did like the first one, this one though.... an utter disappointment. :(
I love this book! It is so amazing and can't to get the next one. It is called Silver Dream i think
The first book was so original and great that this story seemed dull in comparison.
Act Two, Scene One Enter Bertie And Company Setting: The world outside the Théâtre Beatrice Shakespeare Smith (Bertie): Our charming and talented heroine Nate: A suave, swashbuckling pirate in grave danger Ariel: A brooding, seductive air spirit whose motives remain frustratingly hidden Peaseblossom, Codweb, Moth, and Mustardseed: These fairies are indispensable if you need help dispatching with a pie or pudding Growing up in the enchanted Théâtre Illuminata, Bertie learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts--but she didn't know that she had a role to play, too. Now that she's discovered her own magic, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales. And she's ready to write her own story, outside the productive walls of the Théâtre. But which way will her story go? Toward Nate, who's being held captive by the Sea Goddess, and loves Bertie dearly? Or should she write Ariel into her narrative? He's by her side every day, and she's finding his charms so very hard to resist . . . Beatrice Shakespeare Smith's search for her stolen companion, Nate, has brought her traveling company far from the stage of the Théâtre Illuminata. With the power of her words, Bertie can reshape reality, but the magic is wild and defies her attempts to control it. The Pirate's time is running out and the Sea Goddess will not give up her prize willingly. No matter what, Bertie is hell-bent on getting back Nate, dragging her crew through tough terrains and dangerous situations. Along the way, they meet some interesting characters that become pivotal figures in Bertie's current adventure and many secrets of her past become known. I was excited to check out book # 2 in this series, but unfortunately, this was a so-so read for me. It was VERY dramatic and kind of all-over-the-place. Plus, it was almost too much fantasy for my taste, esp. with the whole "words = reality" problem (in which Bertie became stubborn in using!) There is a big adjustment for the "Company" in dealing with people/places in the "modern" world compared to being inside the Théâtre, so that in itself was fascinating to read about, but overall it was entertaining and theatrical. Likes: Bertie's "triangle" relationship with Nate & Ariel truly heated up in this story and I don't see it simmering down for awhile until Bertie finally makes a decision between the two. Dislikes: The fairies come off to me as more annoying than comical!
This book has such a fantastic plot with awesome characters but I had trouble following along.
The book was a little difficult to understand at times and wasn't as strong as the first. Definitely worth a read and I can't wait to read the next one.