Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Title: Lips Touch: Three Times
Author: Laini Taylor, Illustrator: Jim Di Bartolo
Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Description: (From Goodreads) Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers' souls:
-Goblin Fruit: In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today's savvy girls?
-Spicy Little Curses: A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.
-Hatchling: Six days before Esme's fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?


As you can see from the description, this is a young adult collection of three short stories. First, let me say that Di Bartolo's illustrations were amazing. I really loved the artwork in this book, not to mention the lovely formatting, so much that I already ordered the hardcover just so that I can have it in my collection (the copy I read was from the library). As for the stories themselves, I think each one superseded the last. It's hard for me to choose, but I think the third one, "Hatchling," was my favorite.

This is probably my second favorite book so far this year, behind Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carriger. I saw some reviews complaining that the stories in "Lips Touch: Three Times" were too simple. To that I only have two things to say: 1) the vast majority of fairy-tales are simple stories, and these were clearly intended to be fairy-tales (if you go back and read any of the fairy-tales by the Brothers Grimm, they were often extremely short and simply told); 2), this book was written for young adults and labeled "juvenile fiction." It can definitely be appreciated and enjoyed by adults, but you have to go into it with the understanding that this book was written with a teenage audience in mind. If you’re a fan of folklore or fairy-tales and you go into this with an open mind, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. In my opinion, a story doesn’t have to be complicated to be good.

With all that being said, this book is not for everyone; however, Laini Taylor has an incredible writing style, so vivid and beautiful and descriptive. I had to jot down some of the quotes from it into my book journal, I liked it so much. She pulled from some more obscure folklore and ancient religions to create something completely her own and I adore the result. I definitely plan on reading more by this author! If you like authors like Kim Wilkins, Robin McKinley, Juliet Marillier, and other authors who specialize in re-telling fairy-tales, you should enjoy this.

Content Description

Sex and nudity - Some sensuality. Sex and rape are discussed, but not in great detail. Some nudity.
Violence and gore - Mild violence. Death is mentioned repeatedly. One story contains zombie-like creatures who eat kittens/animals and resort to cannibalism. One story discusses slaughtering animals.
Alcohol and drugs - One of the characters is a teenage cigarette smoker. I believe a bottle of wine is mentioned.
Profanity - None that I remember.
Frightening/intense scenes - Some parts are somewhat dark. One story partly takes place in Hell. There are demons, goblins, and other creatures. One story describes children being taken as pets and kept in cages. In that same story, the captors have the ability to leave their bodies in spirit form and take over other bodies. A scene is mentioned in which two children are possessed and forced to have sex until the female becomes pregnant. Not very descriptive, but possibly disturbing to some readers.

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