Friday, December 16, 2011

Lips Touch: Three Times

Lips Touch: Three Times is a YA fantasy collaboration of three novellas by Laini Taylor, with illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo.

Three teens girls who have lived entirely different lives, and never cross each others paths, find out how monumental a kiss can be. Especially when it may have unintended consequences.

In Goblin Fruit, the first novella in Lips Touch: Three Times, we meet Kizzy. Kizzy has lived a very strange life with a very odd family, making her an outcast at school and in life. But then a very good-looking new guy at her local high school seems to take a surprising interest in her. Why?

Then we have Spicy Little Curses Such as These, in which we come across a girl who has been cursed from babyhood to have the most beautiful voice in the world - but to have that voice kill every ear who hears it. She has lived as a mute, believing the curse real. But when she falls in love for the first time, her surety falters and wonders if she dare risk speaking aloud and testing it for certain.

And finally we have the third novella Hatchling. In this one we're introduced to a fourteen-year-old girl who finds out that her ever-traveling lifestyle she shares with her beloved, beautiful mother has to do with running away from a past that is neither beloved nor beautiful. A past that has to do with another world - one where a stunning, powerful queen keeps little girls as pets until they reach childbearing age...

Laini Taylor impressed me with Daughter of Smoke & Bone, which I read and reviewed pretty recently. So, I was extra excited for Lips Touch: Three Times. It already looked cool - but now I knew for a fact that Laini Taylor is a great writer, too!

Goblin Fruit is a great way to start the novel, I think. It starts off darkly humorous and entrancing. It's disturbing, yet has fun, hilarious banter and witty dialogue to pepper the dreamlike fantasy of it. I kind of saw where Goblin Fruit was going, but still had no idea how it would end. Taylor is excellent at making a story feel truly otherworldly and creepy with an understated elegance. That skill is definitely on display in this first novella.

Spicy Little Curses Such as These is more romantic than the other two, in my opinion. Again Laini Taylor takes us to a dark place, but weaves a sweet first love scenario in it. Our mute girl and the soldier who loves her both have valid reasons for both fearing and doubting the curse that keeps her quiet. We get a stunning amount of human, emotional depth in such a small amount of pages. This is clever, smart, and surprising story.

Hatchling is my favorite. I loved all three, but Hatchling is so deliciously wrong and unsettling, so creative and different - it was magnetic. The methodical unfolding of this mother-daughter story has a slew of twists and raw pain and love. Laini Taylor could probably expand all three of these novellas into amazing full-length novels and build on these tales even further. Truly a stunning, magical, sometimes quite grim fantasy triple-play that is quite satisfying.

Lips Touch: Three Times has the kind of writing that you can sink your teeth into, the kind of writing you want to read aloud to hear the poetic rhythm of, the kind of writing you enjoy the flavorful, vibrant, lively, fairy-tale beauty of. It's definitely a book to appreciate and devour again. And the illustrations are perfect - lovely graphics to bring an ever stronger sense of magic and hypnotic mythology.

Fan of fantasy, fairy-tales, and/or magical realism? Grab Lips Touch: Three Times!

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