So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a vengeful sea goddess and a mysterious queen as she tries to keep her family – and the Theatre Illuminata – from crumbling. To complicate it all, Bertie is torn between her two loves, Ariel and Nate.
Eyes Like Stars was one of the first books that I remember reviewing. It’sone of my favorites as well. At first this series for me, was that series that you see every time you go to the bookstore, at every bookstore, but that you never seem to pick up. I was like this with the Vampire Academy series as well for a while, Hush Hush, Evermore, and Beautiful Creatures.I am so glad that I did though because I loved this series until the end. Unfortunately, So Silver Bright is the last book. This saddens me so much because I just can’t get enough of that loveliness that is the Theatre Illuminata, Bertie, Peaseblossom, Moth, Mustardseed, Cobweb, Ariel, Nate…you get the picture. I just want to devour it.This is the third book in the series, so I apologize for any minor spoilers for previous books that might be mentioned as I review this book. Being the third in the series, one would expect for it to mention the previous books as well. If you haven’t read the previous books, you shouldn’t be reading this review! In fact, go buy Eyes Like Stars NOW and start reading it. It’s one of my favorite books.So Silver Bright picks up where Perchance to Dream left off, almost immediately. “Bertie and Company” (now including Nate!) has decided to join Aleksander and his troupe to be employed to write a Brand-New Play. After all, Bertie wants to visit Serefina and all the other people that she might need help from in the future.Bertie was still recovering from her encounter with Sedna, in which she came much closer to death than ever before in search of her pirate, Nate, who had been snatched by him.Only barely had she made it out alive with both of her loves, and everything has her shaken up again that Sedna might attack her and her troupe as they traveled. She isn’t sure that Sedna won’t come looking for revenge.In the meantime, Bertie was trying to figure out where her stars will take her. She wants more than anything for her family to be together again. Ophelia and the Scrimshander were once in love, and she wanted them to be together as a family for once.Bertie was also caught between two loves of hers. Ariel, a tempestuous wind elemental, passionate and mysterious. Nate, dependable and loving, a pirate from the theater. She was hypnotized by Ariel; she swooned every time that Nate called her “lass”. And now it was revealed to both of the characters that she loved them equally.It’s time for her to make a choice.When news comes that the Queen wants Bertie and her troupe to perform at her castle for her, Bertie decides to go. Not only does she not want to irk the Queen, but she is desperate to go when she hears what is at stake.The best performance to go in front of the Queen will win a wish-come-true. The wish must be worthy of the wisher, and the wisher must be worthy of the wish.There were many things that Bertie could do with a wish-come-true. She could bring her family together. She could get rid of Sedna once and for all. She could choose between Nate and Ariel.As Bertie grows closer and closer to the end of her story and everything starts to happen, she must make the choices that will affect everything that she has ever dreamed of.So Silver Bright spotlights Bertie just when she has to start figuring out how to fix her life. In this final book of the series, the reader sees the wise spirit growing in Bertie. As she has grown and learned from her experiences in the previous books, this book is where she is finally put to the test.This coming-of-age spotlights all the hard choices and the consequences of the choices that we make. As we grow up, we have to change. Sometimes we may be heartbroken by what we have to do, but we are changed for better or for worse.Bertie had changed. From the lighthearted free spirit that she was in the first book who ignored rules to the smart and passionate woman that she was in the third book.The writing in So Silver Bright is almost like everything that Lisa Mantchev wished to happen in her series that didn’t come out until now. We find treats and incredible new delights in this book as well as tears and bittersweet choices. Everything changes.Bertie is delightful. She is changed, but the strength at her core is always amazing. She is a star, and she shines in everything. Through moments of doubt and confusion even, she is luminous. I adore her spirit and persistence, and she exhibits the traits that everybody wants to see in the world.Nate is my favorite love interest. He’s adoring, and he would do anything for Bertie. He is dashing, handsome, and he seems wise beyond his years. He is that old-fashioned love that every girl secretly (or not so secretly) wishes that they could have.I enjoyed seeing Nate because he was lacking in the second book. In this book, Bertie’s heart almost seems to ache when she’s near him. She doesn’t want to lose him again or cause him pain, because it was easier to be around Ariel when Nate wasn’t around. When they’re both around, she doesn’t know who to choose.Some authors seem to overdo the whole love-triangle aspect of a story. It’s actually pretty rare for two guys to fall for the same girl at the same time! Out of the blue, it’s like two hot guys (one sweet and one bad) always end up vying for the same girl randomly!This love triangle actually made sense because there’s a balance. Lisa Mantchev knows exactly when to draw the line, and she has a keen sense for when to leave the reader hanging.Ariel is interesting. I’ll admit it, I love hearing about interesting guys. A tangled history perhaps, or a long-buried secret. A forbidden hope that was all but vanquished until they met each other….you know, dramatics.Ariel delivered. He is truly an enigma. Part of you happens to wonder if he’s just loyal to Bertie because she has the power to free him, and part of you wonders if he actually loves her. Is it an illusion? He was passionate though, and that’s always just amazing to read about.Almost everything seems like an illusion with Ariel because he’s strange. A wind spirit conjured from Shakespeare’s writings, doomed to follow the call of the winds beckoning to him. Yes, I love to go overboard when describing him because Ariel makes you think of the impossible.However. That ugly little word that sneaks up on you.However, Ariel is just a little bit too elusive. He is never willing to share knowledge and he feels as if he would fly away at any moment if he had the chance. So, the entire time I was rooting for Bertie to pick Nate.Nate is dependable. Ariel is too much of a mystery. Although I’m not here toI am obsessed with Lisa Mantchev’s writing. I mean totally and utterly obsessed. I love the storybook feel to it. It’s so vivid. She paints the richest scenes and weaves threads of strife and somehow manages to connect everything together.Her writing is like a dream. Lush and evocative, it just doesn’t let up. The pace seems a bit slow, but it’s like a dream, so it works perfectly. It makes you imagine the strangest and most amazing things. It’s also just beautifully written and everything seems so simple at the same time.Her writing just puts me in awe. Her writing is breathtaking.The settings that she uses are so wonderful to imagine. It’s like those writing exercises in second grade where you’re given a setting and you have to enhance it. For example, if you were given the topic of a castle, you could describe that “twining ivy was wrapped around the turret'” or whatnot. Everything that she wrote about was enhanced and revamped with fairy tale elements that made you think.I love how in every book, she introduces a new cast of characters. She will add onto previous books and storylines, and even explore random tidbits about a character that she makes into something bigger than you’d expect it to be. There would be the smallest inkling of a new story and Lisa would snatch it up and weave it into this one.One thing about starting one of these books is that towards the beginning, you get confused what with the word-magic and tsunamis and all these random things that Lisa throws in your way. You think that it will have nothing to do with the story or that it’s insignificant, but everything turns out to have a much bigger part in play.It also all just came together beautifully. There were no hiccups towards the end, and things finally started to make sense.I’ve simply adored this series. It’s bittersweet for the Theatre Illuminata to come to an end, and I just don’t want to let go of it. This series is amazing – from the characters to the settings to the plot – and I couldn’t have asked for anything more in the final book. It's just breathtaking to read about.The only thing that makes me hesitate about this is that it may not be attractive to all readers. Lisa Mantchev mostly relies on YOUR imagination and capabilities to be able to create a scene in your head. She doesn't spell it out for you. She gives loads of description and beautiful writing, but she doesn't just hand the complete scene over to you. You have to sort through it and hunt for it. I don't know whether or not I love this writing style, but it does make it interesting.It's so depressing to let these characters go, but Lisa Mantchev makes it so lovely that I can't help but want to read it over and over again. I'm in love with the series, and although this book may be the end, I'll still reread this series as many times as possible. If you get the chance to read this, jump at it, because it's truly one of the most unique and beautifully crafted fantasies that I've had the pleasure to read.Recommended for anybody who loves: Ophelia; Eyes Like Stars; Beastly; Alice in Wonderland; etc,.Possible book club questions:Was who Bertie ended up with hinted at throughout the series? If so, how?How are Shakespearean elements from plays interwoven through the books?Have the fairies matured at all?How does the dialogue play a role in this book (various quotes)?How has Bertie changed throughout the series?etc,.