Lips Touch Three Times
by Laini Taylor http://lainitaylor.com/
illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo http://jimdibartolo.com/
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?
This book was beautifully unique as a whole with darkness and romance all wrapped up into on package. I really liked Lips Touch Three Times but the first story was my favorite. I have always liked The Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti and thought the story was a good representation of the poem. Temptation is always around us and sometimes curiosity really does kill the cat.
The second story was set in India and made me think of novels by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I enjoyed the fairy tale curse and the bargaining demon. I have always enjoyed stories set in exotic places- especially when people are first discovering them. I like the Amelia Peabody mysteries set in Egypt because it is all new and they give historical informationa as well.
The last story I am on the fence but I did enjoy it, just not as much as the others. I liked the imagery of the setting and characters. That was well down throughout all the stories but this one really captured the atmosphere of Mab's fear and the soullessness of the people.
Lastly, I have to comment on the art in this book. It camptures the atmosphere completely and gave a nice prelude to the stories. I liked that that they were all together and not scattered throughout the story. It gave the book a graphic novel feel but it did not detract from the stories.
Ages 12–up. Taylor offers a powerful trio of tales, each founded upon the consequences of a kiss. She explores the potentially awkward conceit in three dramatically different fantasies, each featuring a young female protagonist out of place in the world she inhabits: contemporary Kizzy, who so yearns to be a normal, popular teenager that she forgets the rules of her Old Country upbringing and is seduced by a goblin in disguise; Anamique, living in British colonial India, silenced forever due to a spell cast upon her at birth; and Esmé, who at 14 discovers she is host to another—nonhuman—being. The stories build in complexity and intensity, culminating in the breathtaking “Hatchling,” which opens with a spectacularly gripping prologue (“Esmé swayed on her feet. These weren't her memories. This wasn't her eye”). Each is, in vividly distinctive fashion, a mesmerizing love story that comes to a satisfying but never predictable conclusion. Di Bartolo's illustrations provide tantalizing visual preludes to each tale, which are revealed as the stories unfold. Even nonfantasy lovers will find themselves absorbed by Taylor's masterful, elegant work.
(Publisher's Weekly, Oct. 2009)