Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication date: 05 October 2017
Page count: 256 pages
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone earlier this year and wasn’t really impressed by it. I had major issues with the main character Karou going from kickass lady to puddle of tepid water as soon as the romance was introduced. While I loved Taylor’s gorgeous writing, I really struggled with the romantic aspects of the book. However, I absolutely loved the friendship between Karou and Zuzana. So when I heard about Night of Cake and Puppets, a companion novella previously published in a digital format, I was intrigued.
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.*
There’s a lot to love about Zuzana and Mik’s blossoming relationship. Where Taylor missteps with Karou, she flourishes with Zuzana. Although this book is short — it is a novella after all — the relationship that grows between Zuzana and Mik is just so charming and wonderful. Zuzana never changes who she is because of Mik; Mik likes Zuzana just the way she is, voodoo eyes and all.
The true wonder of Night of Cake and Puppets lies within the use of magic. In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, we are introduced to Taylor’s magic system based on wishes as currency. Scuppies are the least valuable — they contain the least magic and are good for the tiniest of wishes. Karou gives Zuzana five scuppies in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Zuzana is determined to use them to create a magical night. The magic of the scuppies combined with the incredible backdrop of Prague in the wintertime, Taylor shows us that magic can lie within the most ordinary places in our world.
Part of the joy of this novella is watching the story unfold, so I wont say much more. I will say that this beautiful little book, complete with illustrations by Taylor’s husband (if that’s not the cutest thing ever, I don’t know what is), is an absolute joy to read. If you love Daughter of Smoke and Bone or if you just loved Zuzana so dang much, it’s worth giving this little book a chance.
You can buy Night of Cake and Puppets here (affiliate links):
*Copy courtesy of Goodreads