Review: Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor

Title: Night of Cake & Puppets

Author: Laini Taylor & illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Pub. Date: September 12th, 2017

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Formats: Physical ARC


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 dateโ€”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 trilogyโ€”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.

Night of Cake & Puppets is the novella that follows the 2nd book in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy which happens to be one of my TOP FAVE trilogies of all time! also the reason why I’ll read anything Laini Taylor writes….EVER! I first read this novella a few years back after reading the trilogy & still remember how much I ADORED it to pieces. When I heard through the Bookish Grapevine of an illustrated edition I knew I had to read in physical format. I’m so very happy to have received this ARC from the publisher, the illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo are ON POINT! he captures the humor & quirk of this beloved character & gives the best scenes in this novella an extra dose of magic. Di Bartolo is Laini’s husband & that perhaps makes him pretty much the perfect person to illustrate this story since I’m guessing he’s had some time to get to know these characters very well. I thoroughly enjoyed his illustrations & would love to see more of this collabo ๐Ÿ™‚

Night of Cake & Puppets is a novella set in Prague, home to Karou and her BFF Zuzana. While Karou is off on a mission (no spoilers for the DOSAB trilogy) Zuzana is on a mission of her own: to capture the heart of Mik the Violinist or at the very least his kiss! 

Zuzana was an instant fave character for me because of her eccentricities, whenever I think of her the quote “Though she be little, she is fierce!” comes to mind. Just like her grandfather, Zuzana designs puppets that are very life-like as well as a bit creepy. She is a lover of all things strange, dark, and magical which makes her a perfect BFF to Karou who is all of these & more. It also manages to catch Miks attention who is working in the same stage play as Zuzana. Before Karou went off on her adventure aka scavenger hunt, she blessed Zuzana with 5 scuppies which will grant her 5 small wishes. With her scuppies for back-up, Zuzana sets out to plan the most romantic night ever sprinkled with a touch of magic.

Mik is one of the few male characters in YA that I LOVE & as such, the next time I get asked on a tag to choose a book BF (terrible memory), my pick will ALWAYS be MIK! โค โค โค he’s that person, the one that wishes they had a more exciting life & is just waiting for THE night that will catapult him into said life. When he first sees Zuzana, he admire her fierceness from afar but couldn’t bring himself to talk to her. Their awkward almost encounters started to increase & he was genuinely intrigued by the mystery surrounding her.

Zuzana concocts this plan for the night she’s chosen to make her feelings known to Mik but it’s going to take some participation & effort on his behalf as well lol. I was completely knocked off my feet, left smitten on the floor (not an easy feat) with this magical night from start to finish. Taylor pulls you in for the night taking you through the streets of Prague while it snows & these two complete opposites take part in their own scavenger hunt. I honestly think Laini Taylor’s pen is infused with magic & whatever she writes is destined to come to life on the page & the readers mind. Highly recommending Night of Cake & Puppets to everyone! although it would be ideal to have read the first two books in the Daughter & Smoke and Bone trilogy, it is not a pre-requisite. You will however probably end up wanting to know more about Zuzana’s mysterious friend Karou & how she comes about those magical scuppies haha! Also…there’s Cake ๐Ÿ˜‰

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*HUGE Thanks to The NOVL/Little Brown Books & Laini Taylor for the Night of Cake and Puppets ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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27 thoughts on “Review: Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor”

  1. Great review for this book Lilly. ๐Ÿ˜€ I read Night of Cake and Puppets back when it was first released and loved it. In fact I think after reading it I shipped Zuzana and Mik more than Karou and Akiva. ๐Ÿ™‚ I loved everything about the story; the characters, the setting, everything, so I was thrilled it was being released with illustrations as well. I’m sure the illustrations are just as beautiful as the story. Also I totally didn’t realise the illustrator was Laini Taylor’s husband but you’re right it makes him the perfect person to illustrate this story.
    Again great review. I am so excited for the release of this book. ๐Ÿ™‚ โค๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Beth! & OMYGOSH YESSSS! I shipped them so hard way before Karou & Akiva! LOL! they seriously have the best love story & reading it again took me back to my love for these characters. I was even curious about Karou again & was left wondering what she must be up to even though I know that trilogy wrapped up. It would be amazing to get more from this world, a gal can dream. The illustrations were both beautiful & some were just outright hilarious! I ordered my physical copy last night *excited emoji*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. ๐Ÿ™‚ They really do have the best story and I can’t wait to have this book in my hands so I can re-read it all over again. ๐Ÿ™‚
        So does that mean you’re going to be re-reading the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series? I feel like after I read Night of Cake and Puppets I’m going to wanna re-read the trilogy again. ๐Ÿ™‚
        I have my physical copy pre-ordered, have for ages, and that’s great to hear! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They do & Iโ€™m seriously considering a reread in the new year. After this Iโ€™m left with such nostalgia of that world. Iโ€™m also really tempted to start Strange the Dreamer in October just to be back with Lainiโ€™s lush writing & world-building ๐Ÿค— I hope you get your copy soon ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Do it, I can never normally resist with re-reads but I have been pushing some off simply because of all the books I still need to get through. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Oh, yes, definitely 110% start Strange the Dreamer as soon as possible, it’s such an incredible book. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Lilly. ๐Ÿ˜€ โค๏ธ

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so cool that you got a physical ARC of this book! I love getting ARCs of illustrated novels, but sadly, I get so frustrated with the Adobe Reader formats of eARCs which vanish after a certain duration. I can never seem to get my review written in time!

    I haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet. For some reason, it hasn’t been that attractive to me. Honestly, I think it might be the cover? I can’t recall ever reading a single review of those books… Why would you recommend I read that trilogy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jackie! It was a nice surprise to receive it in the mail ๐Ÿ’™ the eGalley I mostly download on my Kindle app since they donโ€™t expire there as opposed to some of the other apps. The trick is to dl them you your Kindle library as soon as you get them lol, no backsies ๐Ÿ˜‰

      The UK covers for the DOSAB trilogy are more appealing to other readers, might wanna check those out in Bookdepository. Itโ€™s one of the first YA Fantasy trilogies I read & Booktube wasnโ€™t huge back then. Set in Prague with an awesome cast of characters human, Chimera, angels etc…Laini Taylorโ€™s world building alone will suck you in. The magic system she created in DOSAB kept me flipping pages. Itโ€™s been a long time since I read those books but one thing Iโ€™ve never been able to forget are the characters & their friendships ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Character driven books are my favorite, and I do adore fantasy… I’ve heard so many great things about Strange the Dreamer, but I only binge read series… I wonder if this is worth checking out if only to hold me down until her current series is done? ๐Ÿ˜‰

        I should get on top of my eGalley requests better then. Thanks for the Kindle pro-tip!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh Jackie! I’m so sorry! I found this comment along with some others in spam, I also enjoy binge reading series however I break when it’s my fave authors lol. I’m currently staying afloat of my galleys & Kindle really helps lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Don’t worry about it– that happens often with my name. I think it’s a combination of the “Tsundoku” which WP thinks isn’t a real word, plus the traditional length to my comments. C’est la vie!

        I love that you take a break for your favorite authors. If I did that, however, I’d never remember what is going on. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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