I warn all who read further, this shall be part proper review and part fangirl-ish-ness. You have been warned, we may now proceed.So, first off, this is my FIRST ARC REVIEW EVER! and not only is it my first, but it's also my favourite author's new book! There was a great deal of (albeit seat belt restrained) happy dancing when i received this ARC.So, shall we begin? yes, let's.When i found Eyes Like Stars the book prior to this one, i was ecstatic and certain that nothing could ever top it.... this topped it.Now, i shall begin with the characters. Whom i love. Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, the lovely main character who in this book has purple and black hair (deviating from her blue locks in the first book. lol) is a spectacular character. Frankly, a whole lot of authors should look at her when they're creating their heroin. Because Bertie is anything but the 'girlfriend' character that you see nowadays. She's strong, stands on her own, doesn't need anyone else to keep her going, and is just plain old fantastic. Along with her is Ariel, the air elemental who has been freed from the Theatre (i, unfortunately, can't spell it with those accents... >.>) and i'm gonna say right now that i am TEAM ARIEL. There was an insane amount of fangirl squealing coming from me while i read this. He's just my favourite kind of character, which leads to something i've been noticing a lot in books nowadays and that is the typical love triangle, but in then triangle, there is the 'sweet' one and then the 'not necessarily as sweet but more attractive and elegant' one. Ariel fits into the latter character. He's sleek and quite kind to Bertie, except he has a darker side that is shown. On the opposite side of the triangle is Nate, the pirate from the little mermaid, he fits into the 'awww he's so sweet' character type. Which, you know, is good for some, but i'm partial to the elegant types myself. (*hee*) Then there are the fairies, the comic relief, who frequently have me laughing out loud with their banter (they also make me very very hungry for cupcakes... and pie... mmm... pie...) as well as a new addition Waschbar (who reminded me of Dustfinger from Inkheart. Cause he had ferrets. i like ferrets...) The characters are all so real in this book. Which, is obviously something i really find important.Ok, now to something that just floored me with this book. Everything that happened, all the weird dreamlike elements were just so vivid. Though, i sense, that this is where some readers are going to stumble. Because this book has things that i've noticed some readers can't handle.. things like steampunk elements (YAY!!!) and dreamlike sequences where reality is skewed and you have to use YOUR imagination as well as the stunning almost prose-like words to create the images. I almost want to read it all again (which i will. undoubtedly. over and over and over.) so that i can fully take in the spectacular beauty that was this book. i mean, just the way it was written was beautiful. (which i really hope people will see and not just right it off as 'weird' because it wasn't. it was almost poetic in it's beauty) My imagination likes to work overtime, so that may possibly be why this hit such a strong chord with me. i like to have vivid pictures that require the majority of my imagination to see. But, i found that the way this book was written gave anyone enough of a stepladder to see all those fantastic sequences and see how beautiful they are.The story was complex, everything was intertwined. (this is something i am very very fond of) My love of the slightly cabaret and the totally over the top was sparked in the cirque-du-soleil like circus troupe in the train.The dialogue was witty and spot on. i giggled at every Shakespeare allusion and quote (oh, i am a shakespeare girl to the core) and again i am totally taken away at the way classic characters are portrayed in such an amazing way.In short, this was fantastic. Simply fanTASTIC. I mean, i've tried to convey just how much i loved, no, ADORED, this book. but i think few words are going to be able to do that. My top three books list just got a new member (it looks something like; Perchance to Dream, Eyes Like Stars, & Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, right now) and i am just so freakin excited to have read this book.It's totally raised my bar in YA adult books. (Take THAT redundant gothic teen romance novels. You shall never win now!) In what i'm finding to be a slightly redundant and a bit cliche franchise, these books stand out.10/10 stars. It was fantastic, simply fantastic.