[Review] Lips Touch: Three Times - Laini Taylor

Title of Book: Lips Touch: Three Times
Author: Laini Taylor
Illustrator: Jim Di Bartolo
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Year: 2009
Language: English
Format: Hardback
Pages: 266

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.
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?


Lips Touch: Three Times is a short story collection which consists of three fantasy/ supernatural short stories. The first one is Goblin Fruit. It’s about a high school girl named Kizzy, who’s brought up in an unusual family. Her family strongly believes in myth and supernatural beings. This makes Kizzy feels different from her peers. Sometimes Kizzy likes to imagine herself as someone else, a normal teenager. Based on her family beliefs though, her longing will only attract goblins, mythical creatures waiting to take away people’s souls.
My summary sounds unappealing, but I kid you not when you read Laini Taylor’s writing, you’ll get sucked in to this fantasy world that she created. This book is actually the first time I read Taylor’s writing. People often say that she has beautiful lyrical writing and reading this, I can see why they said so. Goblin Fruit is a blend of high school drama and folk-tales, which is why it’s a perfect opening for this short story collection. The high school drama gives off that familiar contemporary vibe that would make the lyrical folk-tales writing style easier to get into.
Spicy Little Curses tells a tale about a woman who serves as ambassador of hell. One fateful day, she had to curse a baby girl in exchange for 20 innocent souls. The baby girl then grows up and falls in love with a man. The only thing interfering is her curse. Spicy Little Curse sets in British Raj during the time when (as it’s implied) British ruled India. This one is heavily influenced by Hindu folklore which I find refreshing. Since it sets in India, the names take time to get used to. The theme is a bit morbid but other than that I find this story fun to read.
The last one, Hatchling, is my most favorite of the three. It’s influenced by Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion which I’ve never even heard before I read this book. It’s new and exciting for me. Hatchling is actually the longest story in this book, so the author has more time to build a more grounded world and belief in this story. Again, the writing is just so beautiful and magical.
Apart from the writing, the illustrations in this book are also beautiful. It reminds me of the opening of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast where the prologue is narrated over stained-glass arts. Although there’s no narration over the illustrations in this book, based on the pictures alone you still can get a sense of what’s coming.
All in all, Lips Touch: Three Times is an amazing introduction to Laini Taylor for me. I highly recommend this book especially if you’ve read her series Daughter of Smoke and Bone; because from what I gather the series is more popular than this book. Lips Touch is a perfect balance between fantasy/ supernatural and romance with spices added from various fascinating folk lore.

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