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Love, Czech Style

Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone novella had Mandy W. at "Cake & Puppets".

Love, Czech Style

BOOK REPORT for Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Book 2.5) by Laini Taylor

Cover Story: Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul
BFF Charm: OBVIOUSLY and Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: She Said, He Said
Bonus Factors: Truth in Advertising (Parts 1 and 2), Grand Romantic Gestures, Prague
Relationship Status: MK+A Travel Movie Boyfriend

This is a companion novella to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, released between Books 2 and 3 -- but chronologically, it's like Book 0.3. Neither this novella nor review has major spoilers for the series, unless you consider adorable supporting characters falling in love to be a spoiler.

Cover Story: Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul

REJOICE, for while this cover uses the same fonts as the rest of the series, the dreaded Big Face is nowhere to be found! Sure, there is neither cake nor puppet, but the birdcage appears in the story, too. Of course, the best part of this cover is it having the title Night of Cake & Puppets -- and the novella totally lives up to its cute name. 

The Deal:

"So what happened?" [...] "How did they... finally?"

[...]

She understood his meaning, though, even if he didn't use the word love. "Well, since she was too afraid to talk to him, she drew him a treasure map. [...] He went to the place and she wasn't there, but there was another map, which led to another, and finally to her. And they fell in love and they've been like this ever since."

Once upon a time, a puppet-maker and a violinist fell in love. Daughter of Smoke & Bone provided the 'when' and Days of Blood & Starlight the 'what' (above), but now we get the 'how' directly from Zuzana and Mik.

BFF Charm: OBVIOUSLY and Yay!

Zuzana has already proven to be a fiercely loyal friend in this series. With the spotlight on her, she gets to show off her exuberance -- and vulnerability, too.

Mik is such a sweetheart. He's a bit shy -- though that just might be Zuzana's effect on him -- and he's the type of guy you can take home to your parents that won't bore you to death.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Knowing that these two end up getting together doesn't diminish the adorbs factor. That dramatic irony may even enhance the romance -- like, anytime either or them are nervous or deflated, you'll be all, "JUST YOU WAIT. You'll be making out on each others' faces soon enough!"

Talky Talk: She Said, He Said

Laini Taylor switches it up from the style of the main books, telling the story in first person and alternating between Zuzana and Mik's perspectives. 

Zuzana's narration, unsurprisingly, crackles with personality. 

If we're talking facts, that's it. That's all I've got. But we're not talking facts. We're talking whatever I feel like talking [...]. 

And Mik is every bit the romantic dreamer. Here he is, comparing his love life with a condescending cat (that'll make more sense when he explains it, trust).

That's me and Saturday night lately. It just looks at my hand until, ashamed, I lower it and try to pretend I didn't really want to pet it anyway. The thing that I want to happen consistently does not happen. Mocked by fate? Maybe. 

Maybe tonight will be different. It didn't begin well, but there's always hope. 

This novella may be lighter in tone than the rest of the series, but it's actually a perfect break from the intensity that surrounds it. While it's not essential for the understanding of the rest of the books -- as a good companion story should be -- it's great to spend more time with these beloved characters.

Bonus Factor: Truth in Advertising, Part 1

Cake!

Bonus Factor: Truth in Advertising, Part 2

Puppets!

Bonus Factor: Grand Romantic Gestures

A lot of grand romantic gestures from TV and movies may require suspension of disbelief, but Zuzana's is quite magical, if you get my drift.

Bonus Factor: Prague

Beautiful city is even more beautiful when people are falling in love. Sigh.

Casting Call:

Y'all, I try to cast accurately when it comes to ethnicity if it's specified, but I couldn't get this pairing out of my head.

AnnaSophia Robb as Zuzana

She's about the right height for Zuze (at 5 foot nothin'), and her stint with The Carrie Diaries should help her channel her inner rabid fairy.

Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Mik

Ever since I watched Divergent, I've been on the lookout for a role that I can cast BLH in. He'd have to grow out some unfortunate sideburns and a goatee for this, but doesn't he look like he'd have "the manliest cartoon princess skin"?

Relationship Status: MK+A Travel Movie Boyfriend

So you know how from Passport to Paris onwards, Mary-Kate and Ashley's movies basically just involved them jetting off to exciting locations and making out with cute boys? The travel aspect is already WHOA AWESOME, but then there are vacay hotties, too!? That's exactly how I feel about this novella: I don't need it to enjoy the already stellar experience, but it's certainly a welcome and swoony bonus.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from my local library. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). Night of Cake & Puppets is available now.

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.