I’ve been reading rave reviews from the blogosphere about Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch, so I immediately grabbed a copy without any hesitation. This was actually the first time I have heard of Laini Taylor and I was glad that I gave her work a chance.
Here’s the summary from the publisher:
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.
The book consists of three short stories (Goblin Fruit, Spicy Little Curses Such As These, and Hatchling), all centred upon three individual girls with a common theme of kissing. The stories were written in different settings, but were set in fantasy worlds. I could say that the book is unique in its own way as it is combined with intricate drawings illustrated by none other than Laini Taylor’s husband, Jim Di Bartolo. I’m proud to say that Jim Di Bartolo proves to be a great artist, as he drew the illustrations perfectly, scrutinizing the details to further enhance the message of the drawings he tries to invoke from Laini Taylor’s stories. The illustrations don’t exactly reveal what the whole story is all about. They merely serve as introductions or a prologue of each of the stories, giving readers a glimpse of what had happened before the present event. To give you an idea how talented Jim Di Bartolo is, here are some sample illustrations I took from the book:
Aren’t the illustrations so beautiful? I myself kept returning to the illustrations from time to time and admired them in awe as I let the drawings come alive in my mind like a movie playing in a theatre.
Each of the three stories varies in terms of length, and I noticed that it was somehow arranged in ascending order with Goblin Fruit being the shortest and Hatchling being the longest among the three. Hatchling was my favourite, but on the other hand, I liked Goblin Fruit and Spicy Little Curses Such As These almost just as much. The protagonist of each story had strong personalities that readers will come to love more. Moreover, I liked Laini Taylor’s writing style. She strategically used lyrical prose and flowery descriptions which depicted a world full of magic and mysteries unknown to the human world. Readers could vividly imagine the setting as Laini Taylor perfectly used appropriate descriptions to easily portray the fantasy world.
This fantasy world Laini Taylor created was not the usual happily-ever-after endings we’re familiar with. She added a darker side to it, making goblins, monsters, and other nightmare creatures we can think of exist in the world, but Laini Taylor was able to keep a balancing effect as concepts of contentment, hope, and love was tackled and given importance throughout the story.
Indeed, reading a book written by an author new to me made me appreciate books more and discover more literary works not just by famous authors, but by emerging authors as well.