Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mini Review: Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company BFYR
Pub date: November 2013
Source/Format: Bought/E-book

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.

As much as I loved Zuzana in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I wasn't quite sure how I'd feel about a whole novella dedicated to her. After all, the lifeblood of DoSaB was its dealings with magic and Karou's travels around the world (both our own and Elsewhere)--so how could a story about two ordinary humans hold up? I should have known that Laini wouldn't let us down. Night of Cake and Puppets is written in the same kind of wondrous, magical prose that first drew me into DoSaB, but with loads of wry humor courtesy of Zuzana, whose feisty voice quickly became my favorite thing about the novella. Actually, both Zuzana's and Mik's voices are fantastic: hilarious and unique and slightly weird, and their personalities shine through. The weaving together of Zuzana's and Mik's narratives is absolutely adorable, showing how they are both completely enamored with each other but too shy to admit it (until now, of course). Even in this story where there is no mention of chimaera or seraphim, Laini still creates a world full of wonder and magic, though in a slightly more lighthearted fashion. It feels, as Mik says, "like something out of a fairy tale." In short, Zuzana and Mik's story is a perfect little break from the angst left over at the end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

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