Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: 10/1/09
Blurb (GR): 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?
I am familiar with YA literature enough to know how horribly, horribly wrong a collection of short stories about kissing can go (see, for example, The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire and Kisses from Hell). Let me tell you, "Lips Touch" is not that kind of book. This book is simply magical.
Laini Taylor grabs your attention with the first lines:
There is a certain kind of girl the goblins crave. You could walk across a high school campus and point them out: not her, not her, her. The pert, lovely ones with butterfly tattoos in secret places, sitting on their boyfriends' laps? No, not them. The girls watching the lovely ones sitting on their boyfriends' laps? Yes.
The goblins want girls who dream so hard about being pretty their yearning leaves a palpable trail, a scent goblin can follow like sharks on a soft bloom of blood. The girls with hungry eyes who pray each night to wake up as someone else. Urgent, unkissed, wishful girls.
How can you possibly resist this gorgeous writing? I know I couldn't.
The book consists of 3 stories, or rather, fairy tales based on Irish, Hindu, and Zoroastrian folklore. Each tale is about a kiss, the kind of kiss that changes lives, turns the world upside down, a kiss that can kill or bring you back to life.
The writing is superb, the descriptions are gorgeous and the mythologies Laini creates are unique and enchanting. There is passion and love and tenderness in these stories. I remember shivering and smiling at the end of each one.
The book is also beautifully illustrated. The fairy tales are preceded by short graphic stories which do not reveal the content on the tales themselves, but serve as sort of pre-stories whose details are revealed in the main tales.
My only complaint about "Lips Touch" is that there isn't more, otherwise the fairy tales are irresistible and delicious as the kisses they are about. This book is definitely one of the best I've read this year so far.