Review: Laini Taylor’s ‘A Night of Cake and Puppets: A Daughter of Smoke and Bone Novella’

For those of you who may have read my earlier review of Laini Taylor’s Smoke and Bone trilogy, you may recall me saying that I loved the main characters of Karou, Zuzanna and her boyfriend, Mik, and the descriptions of Gothic, artistic Prague, with their favourite hang-out being the Poison Kitchen, a (presumably fictional) place where coffins take the place of tables, and tea sets are labelled ‘Arsenic’ and ‘Strychnine.’ Sadly, this took a backseat to seemingly interminable half- ramblings on science, angels, demons, and one very irritating angel named Akiva. (Grr.) But thankfully, the very talented Ms. Taylor has written this spin-off story, and this time Zuzanna and Mik are the star-crossed lovers, and Prague is the setting. It follows Zuzanna, self-confessed ‘rabid fairy’- tiny, doll-like pretty and with a wicked temper- try to woo the violin-playing Mik on a date that takes them across Prague on a freezing, snow-swept night: from a puppet theatre to the Poison Kitchen to a bridge. (I loved the story of their first date so much I don’t want to give too much of the plot away!!!) What I will say is that their nerves are palpable, their crushes on each other endearing, and there is more than enough magic- and more than enough wishes granted- to make any ardent fantasy-fiction lover content. More than that, it artfully balances romance and intrigue so that the whole thing doesn’t slide in sloppiness.

Overall rating: How could I give this bite-sized mouthful of marvellousness (hmm, is that a word?) anything less than 10 out of 10?

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