Night of Cake and Puppets
by Laini Taylor
published on November 26th 2013 by Hodder & Stoughton (UK)
#2,5 of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy
79 pages (a novella!)
read in English
In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: Herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.
"You almost hold up your piece of paper and say, 'The girl I like just gave me a treasure map to herself.'"
Then again, what do you usually refer a date night to? Awkward glances, cheesy lines, expectation of a first kiss, the butterflies in the stomach.... Oh well, all those cliches. But cliche isn't something that could describe Laini Taylor. No, of course! First of all, Zuzana and Mik were no ordinary characters. Zuze was really cute! Like a ball of cuteness and excitedness bundled with pretty dresses, that's how I always envisioned her. She may be small and tiny, but this energy of her is huge! I love reading her minds, her thoughts... I love getting to know more about her, her family, her views about Karou, her life in Prague....
"I might wear lace collars and laugh flower petals and pearls. People might try to pat me. I see them think it. My height triggers the puppy-kitten reflex- Must touch-and I've found that since you can't electrify yourself like a fence, the next best thing is to have murderer's eyes."
In Night of Cake and Puppets, Zuzana finally gathered her courage and made Mik a treasure hunt map to follow. A treasure hunt as a way of telling someone how she feels about him! And the treasure itself was Zuze herself! How brave, how lovely. See, I told you, there's nothing ordinary about Laini and the way her world works.
To be honest, from the two previous books, I didn't really have much opinion about Mik, other than this boy seemed to be really in love with his girl. Yes, it showed! Through Night of Cake and Puppets, though, Laini Taylor provided us with much information about how they met, how they first noticed each other, and all about that while we follow Mik going over his treasure hunt. A clue leads to another clue, and another, and another... But then Mik had another plan! So will the treasure hunt ended up as how Zuze wanted it to be?
The setting of Prague in the novella was even clearer and clearer in this book, and this ist exactly one of Laini's strongest point: She's the expert of describing the places in her book. It was so well-described. Prague is, once again, officially on the top list of my most wanted to visit places in the world. The magicalness, eerieness, strangeness of the city... I fell in love with it! It was a blatant show of how much Laini knows the place, the world that she had created in the trilogy.
Another thing that I love from the novella is that the readers could feel how strong the bond between Zuze and Karou, about how special their friendship for each one of them. Zuze is Karou's best supporter, and vice versa. Eventhough Karou couldn't always be around all the times, it didn't deter their closeness at all. Karou let Zuze have some of her scuppies to help with the date night, and troughout the night they kept texting to each other, giving updates of how the night went.
All in all, I love Night of Cake and Puppets! Zuzana and Mik were such a lovely couple, and this kind of cuteness that Laini Taylor wrote about their magical date night is something different altogether from all the cuteness that we usually read from other books! Also, beautiful proses, beautiful proses everywhere. Love, love it. Zuze and Mik's story was a pleasant bridge while we wait for the final book in the trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, which will be out in 2014! Eeeeek, can't wait!
“His eyes are blue, and blue eyes up close are a celestial phenomenon: nebulae as seen through telescopes, the light of unnamed stars diffused through dusts and elements and endlessness. Layers of light. Blue eyes are starlight.”
What others say about the novella.... Kristy from Book Nerd Reviews | Jen from The Starry Eyed Revue