Act Three, Scene One
Betrie 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?
The flowery writing style of the Théâtre Illuminata trilogy by Lisa Mantchev was (for me) best taken in small doses, and that is one of the reasons it took me so long to finish these books. The language is heavier adding an almost poetic ambiance to the words. And there were also times that modern language would be mixed in with old-world speech patterns, and it disrupted the flow of the story for me. On the more positive side of the spectrum and what I found fascinating in this trilogy was Lisa’s re-working of classic characters and bringing them into a new light. Her characters were vibrant and full of life, and in keeping with the first two books the scenery was fabulously and vividly imagined. Bertie, Nate and Ariel were three interesting characters, and each of them managed to grow in their own way, although it was definitely Bertie that I saw the most changes in. She changed from a foolhardy and flighty girl into a more conscientious young woman. When she discovers just how much damage her word-magic can do, she makes the decision not to rely on her magic and instead relies on her own intellect. Nate was one of those old school romantic heroes that I instantly fell for, and although it takes the girl to save the boy in this story, it didn’t take away from his character at all. Ariel loves Bertie and wants to stay by her side, but in his heart-of-hearts he is an air elemental and wishes only to be free. All three books are filled with mischief and magical adventures that captivated me from start to finish. The love triangle was a sweet addition to the story and although it was a bittersweet ending, I’m left without any lingering doubts or questions about the conclusion.