Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine
Published: October 1st, 2009
A girl who’s always been in the shadows finds herself pursued by the unbelievably attractive new boy at school, who may or may not be the death of her. Another girl grows up mute because of a curse placed on her by a vindictive spirit, and later must decide whether to utter her first words to the boy she loves and risk killing everyone who hears her if the curse is real. And a third girl discovers that the real reason for her transient life with her mother has to do with belonging — literally belonging — to another world entirely, full of dreaded creatures who can transform into animals, and whose queen keeps little girls as personal pets until they grow to childbearing age.
From a writer of unparalleled imagination and emotional insight, three stories about the deliciousness of wanting and waiting for that moment when lips touch.
Laini Taylor teamed up with husband Jim Di Bartolo, illustrator, to create three short stories about the power of a kiss, each emotionally wrenching and magical and imaginative.
Lips Touch: Three Times seemed to improve on what felt initially perfect with each new story. Goblin Fruit, Spicy Little Curses Such As These, and Hatchling, they were named respectively, and also in order of my favourites.
Goblin Fruit was of Kizzy, with longing for something more so tangible that even obvious malicious intent cannot dissuade her. Spicy Little Curses Such As These told the overlapping stories of Estella, liaison between worlds, and Anamique, the girl given the opposing gift of the most beautiful voice and the curse to kill whoever she lets hear it. And the last, Hatchling, introduced a world of rich imagination that I couldn't match with 20 more of me sitting down to brainstorm. The world of the Druj and their human pets and the redemption they find through them was so beautiful and bittersweet.
Each are of my favourite kind of fantasy: breathtakingly unique and teeming with tragedy and temptation (though I do hate myself after reading them for the amount of emotion they evoke that I don't know what to do with. I'm essentially useless after reading such emotionally exhausting books, but I can't stop myself). Kizzy's total abandon, Estella's painful compromises, and Mihai's perseverance all got under my skin.
Laini Taylor writes with a unique flair and a poetic style, perfectly executing otherworldly ideas and bringing characters which tug on the heartstrings to life:
"She was a girl and she was a queen and back in the mists she was a woman who had seized the moon from the sky and drunk its light so that she would never die."All of this was furthered by the beautiful illustrations to accompany, detailing backstory in the beginning that will have you letting out an understanding "oh!" when you reach the point where that same story is woven in. I've already returned this book to my library (with more than one ignored "due soon!" notice beforehand), but the image especially of Esme's mother suspended in the cage, rich red hair flowing outward and concealing her face, has stuck with me.
For Lips Touch: Three Times, Laini Taylor has crafted three worlds of contradictions: beautiful and dangerous; romantic and eerie. Three stories in anticipation of kisses that change everything feature fantasical settings that will have you wanted to pack up and move to them despite their malevolent lining.
I give Lips Touch: Three Times a 5 out of 5.
Psst. If you didn't notice, Laini Taylor's newest book, The Daughter Of Smoke And Bone (also brilliant!), is my current book of the month, and you can find your way to a giveaway up top.