Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Review: Night of Cake and Puppets is a Frothy Delight

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Published 2017 by Little Brown Books For Young Readers

256 pages, urban fantasy

Okay, this was plain adorable. I listened to the first 2/3 as an audiobook, and at first I found the girlish tone and implausibly cute accent of the female narrator annoying (Mik is also Czech, but his narrator didn't amp it up nearly as much), but then it grew on me. Still, for whatever reason the library kept taking it back before I was done, so when I was in there yesterday and saw a hard copy, I grabbed it.

GUYS. IT IS HEAVILY ILLUSTRATED. BY LAINI'S HUSBAND. I did not know this, or I would have been reading it all along. Just like Leigh Bardugo's short story collection, The Language of Thorns, the illustrations enhance the magical feeling of the book. Like--sooooo much charm. And then in the acknowledgements, Laini thanks her husband for helping her with the kissing research so she can write romantic scenes, and my tired old heart about burst with delight. 

So why only four stars? Well, it's about two young people playing a game and falling in love. That is the entire plot. It's delightful, but frothy, with very little substance. Still, Taylor is a consistently brilliant writer. This is some of the best fluff ever.  There's a scene where Zuzana is describing the way snow makes Prague magical, and it reminded me of my first night in Riga, coming into the Dome Square with snow falling on the cobblestones, and yes, it's a mental image I've carried with me for 25 years now. 

This book is also short, so you can get through it quickly! You also don't need to have read any of her other work to understand this book--it's a stand-alone companion to the Smoke and Bones series. You'd miss some references, but it wouldn't be hard to understand.

Bottom line: If you like beautiful writing, snarky narrators and/or if your favorite bits of Daughter of Smoke and Bones and Strange the Dreamer were the sweet parts, you'll love this book. 

4/5 stars


  1. I’ve still never read a Laini Taylor book. That needs to be corrected soon. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. Thank's for sharing your thoughts on the Night of Cake and Puppets.

  3. Thanks for this review- I didn't know it had illustrated bits at all! D'awww......I did like MikMik quite a bit, so I'm putting this one on my list now.


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