Book: Night of Cake and Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5)
Author: Laini Taylor & Jim Di Bartolo (illustrator)
This was my November #RockMyTBR book and after being decidedly disappointed with the second instalment in the series, Days of Blood and Starlight, I was really hoping that I would enjoy this one more. Thankfully I did! I wasn’t expecting to, because as you all know by now, books filled with fluffy romance aren’t usually my thing, but every once in a while, the inner romantic does come out and she really did find this very cute. It’s no secret that I much prefer Zuzana and Mik’s romance to Karou and Akiva’s, so getting to spend a whole book with them was great. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date—as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.
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 make the first move, 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 leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.
New York Times bestselling author Laini 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. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.
First of all I have to talk about the illustrations because they really did make this book for me! I don’t really know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m not a particularly visual reader, I can’t picture scenes from books in my head as I am reading, I’m much more aural, I hear character conversations but as for picturing what they look like? No idea. So the illustrations actually really helped me here, because I had a visual reference for everything that was going on in the book. I honestly wish more books had illustrations because they would really help me out!
Some of the chapters I felt were a little long, but I didn’t mind as much because the illustrations really helped break them up and since it was quite a short book anyway, it was easy enough to get through.
I loved the chapter titles, they were so funny-seriously more books should have chapter titles, they really enhance the reading experience for me.
The plot itself is kind of light, it does what it says on the tin, it’s the story of Zuzana and Mik’s first date, so it’s nothing particularly earthshattering, but it is incredibly cute, it made the inner romantic in me swoon a little at how beautiful their date ended up being, I could only wish for something that gorgeous!
I liked the dual person POV, you get to see the night from both sides, although Zuzana’s chapters were somewhat more engaging than Mik’s but that was to be expected, given that out of the two of them, she has the more engaging personality and they were both first person POVs, so naturally Zuzana’s voice comes across stronger.
The atmosphere of the book was wonderful, the snowy Prague setting really added to the magic and romance of the night and I loved how all the disparate elements, the snow, the puppets, the cake, Mik’s violin, all came together to make a beautifully romantic night. The writing was also beautiful and really added to the romantic atmosphere of the book.
I have to admit, throughout the book, I kept thinking, it’s a good job that Mik likes Zuzana otherwise the whole treasure map with her as a prize thing would have come off incredibly creepy and stalkerish rather than sweet!
I loved all the text messages between Karou and Zuzana throughout the book, they were very relatable and added a measure of reality to an otherwise quite fantastical story.
It was really nice to finally have the details filled in about Zuzana and Mik’s relationship as it was kind of glossed over in Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I think I understand them better as a couple after reading this book.
There’s honestly not much more to say, it was a cute, romantic story that acted as a very nice filler for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hopefully the third book has the same level of enjoyment as this one rather than Days of Blood and Starlight, as I’d really like to finish this series on a high!
My Rating: 4/5
BECHDEL TEST: FAIL-By it’s nature, this book kind of has to fail as Zuzana and Mik are the only two characters who had dialogue and even Karou and Zuzana’s texts are of course about Mik, since the whole story is about their relationship.
My next review will be of my final #RockMyTBR book of the year, Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer, which I’m super excited for because I loved the Wonder Woman film.