Night of Cake & Puppets
Author: Laini Taylor
Release: November 26th 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Novella, Magic, YA
#2.5 in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (#1), Days of Blood & Starlight (#2), Dreams of Gods & Monsters (#3)
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.
“Anyone with an older brother can tell you: Cunning is required. They’re bigger. Their fists are heavier. Physically, we don’t stand a chance. Hence the evolution of ‘little-sister brain.’ No doubt about it, being a little sister – emphasis on little – has been formative, though I take pride in knowing that Tomas is more scarred by years of tangling with me than vice versa.”
Oh yes. I can confirm this. And relate.
I've always liked Zuzana and how quirky she is in the main series, but this novella was truly enlightening as to how amazing she really is, and how much I really love her. Because hands down, Zuzana is my spirit animal. Getting to know her better in this novella makes me kind of sad that she plays a rather small part in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. She and her awesomeness deserve to have more impact on the story.
“Me, sweep him off his feet? I know. The laws of the jungle and romance novels would have it the other way around, but I’m not going to wait one more second for that. Milquetoast girls raised on princess stories might sit tight and bat their eyelashes in desperate Morse code – notice me, like me, please – but I am not that girl.”
I hope you see how cool Zuzana is. I'd love another novella, or hell, you could also just make a whole book for her, Laini. I'd read that.
And Mik? AND MIK? Damn I thought lightning just struck me because this boy is anything but a boring cardboard cutout which I believed he was up until now. The boy is funny. And charming.
“How pathetically passive, waiting for her to do the talking. That’s not who I want to be. I want to be the guy in a movie who’s, I don’t know, out walking his rabbit on a leash (I don’t have a rabbit) and knows exactly how to strike up a quirky, compelling conversation.
So I do that awkward thing you do when you get good news in the company of strangers and you look around at them, grinning like an idiot, and they look back, not grinning like idiots, and you almost have to tell them, to tell someone. You almost hold up your piece of paper and say, ‘The girl I like just gave me a treasure map to herself.’
But you don’t. You just don’t.”
Well, the whole novel is really witty and funny. I smiled and laughed and thought, "AWWWWWWW."
And the writing. I just. I have no words. Her dreamy, lovely style was more subtle here than in her novels, but still there. Still stealing my breath.
All in all, I also liked the whole story and plot of the novella. That chase around Prague, full of romance and every girl's dream, pure fluff — it was unique in an artsy way.
Laini Taylor, you have achieved perfection. Once again. I am yet another step closer to lay down my soul for you and swear eternal fealty.
“Of course, when I draw the paper out, it is not ‘only’ paper. Nothing about this night is ‘only’ or ‘just.’ Everything is gilded and strange and ethereal, and so this is an origami butterfly, folded of floral Japanese paper embossed with gold.”
I think this summarizes the novella pretty well.
“And…it’s like all my life I’ve been this tower standing at the edge of the ocean for some obscure purpose, and only now, almost eighteen years in, has someone thought to flip the switch that reveals that I’m not a tower at all. I’m a lighthouse. It’s like waking up. I am incandescent. I never knew I could emit heat and light.”
This novella is just. so. damn. beautiful.
I JUST WANT TO GIVE THIS A THOUSAND STARS AND QUOTE ALL 89 PAGES OF THIS OUTSTANDING NOVELLA OKAY.